Food: What’s In Our Future?

You’ve heard it said of others that “he just couldn’t stand prosperity.”  Meaning that: once, he had been a man appreciated and looked up to.  But, money (prosperity) has changed him for the worst in the eyes of the people who know him best.

That same line of thought could be applied to America.  Sadly, it may well be true.  Once we were a hard working, somewhat independent people who cared for the country as a whole.  WWI and WWII showed that we put what’s best for the country ahead of what’s best for ourselves, individually.  We were an honorable people, much appreciated and looked up to.

What happened?  Each of us might describe the mechanics and causal agents regarding our internal transition quite differently.  There would likely be little that we could all agree upon.  But, in fact, we as a nation don’t much resemble the broad based peoples that made this country great.

Perhaps, in a nutshell so to speak, we simply lost sight of supporting ideas that were best for the country; and simply became focused on “what’s best for me.”  When we begin to focus on ourselves we become estranged from our neighbors, our community, and the goals that made America great.

Imagine a colony of ants that simply became interested in themselves, individually.  It would not take long before the colony starved to death.  In an oversimplified manner, that may be very close to what is happening to us as a people today.  I think it would have happened to us even without immigration.  Yet, immigration is likely a contributing factor relative to the magnitude of the problem.  To immigrate to become an American, is one thing.  To move here yet remain a part of something else, not learning the language, not supporting the goals of keeping America strong, is akin to the ant colony example: the house will fall.

Did we simply have it too good, particularly since WWII?  No longer struggling to care for the family, and trying to get kids better educated than ourselves?  Did it cause us to lose sight of family values, and national values for that matter?  Have we simply become a “me, me, me” nation of individuals and groups focused on one cause at the expense of others—causes and people?  Without question we have put ourselves into a position where “troubled times” are ahead—of the magnitude that could destroy the colony, the country!

In this written effort, we, are not going to attempt to clarify all the issues affecting America, but we are going to dissect and discern those issues that will negatively affect our abilities to feed our families.

I don’t think this will come as a shock to most of you.  You know our country has lost integrity, direction, and has been sold down the tubes by corrupt politicians.  Whether it is to the point that we will never get her (America as we once knew her) back, is yet to be determined.  I believe that we can all agree that to get her back as she once was, would likely require an earth shaking event; one that startles our very foundation.  One that even the politicians recognize; that corruption at every level, has finally destroyed our fabric of survival.

Empty store shelves

Think FOOD is that important?  No matter your race, creed, or love for your country, when food becomes scarce, mighty scarce, your priorities will change.  In the old days we would have worked together to find solutions.  That would require leadership, sincerity of effort, and focus on the common good.  That’s not the world we live in today!  Corruption, misdirection, and attitudes reflecting “me, me, me” interests, darken prospects for survival.  So, let us focus on coming FOOD shortages for a moment.

food and money

 

Unquestionably, we will have a troubled future regarding food.  Most of the influencing agents are already in place, already affecting availability.  Americans in particular seem oblivious because it is not so obvious to those living in what has been an economically prosperous nation.  But you should remember that food follows money.

 

Let me begin by sharing the words of Dr. Paul Genho, recognized by most of us as an international food production expert.  Dr. Genho shared with us a World Soils Map, showing the type of soil each country has.  The majority of countries have the productive capabilities (fertile soil, length of growing season, and adequate water to grow plant life) enabling them to just about feed themselves.  They might import or export a few things, but are largely comfortable in their ability to feed themselves.

Other parts of the world may have an abundance of one or even two of the required elements, but are severely lacking in the other.  Russia and Canada are examples of countries which have extremely fertile soils and abundant water, but the short length of growing season is their issue.  For many other countries the issue is simply water and its scarcity.  Regarding the balance of the countries left, lack of soil fertility is an often sited issue.

Dr. Genho points out that there are only two locations in the world that literally have all the required elements in abundance that truly could feed the world, perhaps rather easily.  This statement becomes much more notable as we remember that our planet’s population peaks in 2050; from seven billion souls today, to 9.5 billion souls in just 34 years.  Opinions vary, but most agree that it will take at least 40% more food to feed this increased population.

So, what are the two locations?  South America is one; but due to conflicts and issues between the countries involved, they are not expected to organize an effort yielding vastly increased production efficiencies.  North America is the other.  Mexico does not allow large farming operations.  Canada, for all her vast natural resources, does not have the length of growing season required.  That leaves the United States.  Could she feed the world?  Dr. Genho says yes, probably rather easily; but, it is not likely to happen.  Why?

“Water”—There is no national water preservation plan in place. Water is expected to become critical in many areas currently producing significant amounts of food crops.  Our politicians are allowing water issues to worsen as “foreign interests” come into this country and buy lands under which exists vast natural water-stores.  Crops produced, alfalfa hay for instance, are shipped back to their home country to feed their dairy cows, in particular, preserving their own water stores.  Water, an absolutely basic necessity, is going to be a growing concern in America where food is produced.

“Governmental oversight”—consumers have lost contact with agriculture.  They have no real knowledge concerning farming and ranching activities.  And, these urban residents have become a nation that “fears” the unknown.  Add “activist groups” painting agriculture black, and Congress becomes influenced (money), adding layers of oversight, restricting the development of production efficiencies that could actually have fed this growing population.  The blackened topic of “GMO,” could have doubled, perhaps even quadrupled, per acre yields.  There is no science based evidence supporting deleterious effects from GMO.  Yet activists have frightened urban consumers, who have been led astray, by padding the pockets of Washington’s finest politicians.  The shame of it is that when food does become scarce, and you are hungry, and your kids are hungry, it then may take years to get research and production back up to provide the necessary food for a starving nation.

We should all remember that the advantaged will always fare better than the disadvantaged—lower economic levels.  The disadvantaged population is large and growing.  The disadvantaged have long been guilty of simply taking that which is offered.  Offerings are going to get smaller.  As our population grows (from 7.0 billion to 9.5 billion), offerings will diminish in quality and quantity.  But, you do have a limited number of choices from which to create a response.  Most of these require that you upgrade your knowledge and skill set, and begin to think for yourself.  Plan for yourself; and learn how to do the things required in growing and preserving your own food.

young people planting a garden #3

finding your own way to plan for the future #6

growing our own #5

families passing down knowledge #7

roof top farming #4

Acknowledge that you will no longer accept being spoon-fed garbage—verbal garbage.  Your elected politicians and appointed bureaucratic decision makers are just going through the motions, trying to say the right things.  They are simply following directives from above.  You are largely on your own.  You are now responsible for your own future.  You are the one ultimately responsible for your family and its wellbeing.  You must begin to think for yourself.  Be careful of anyone or any group who has something to gain, giving you “presumed facts.”  We, largely, have all been sold down the tubes by special interests, corruption, deceit and greed.

the whole damn system is corrupt #8

Your leaders have allowed “too few people” to be in control of our food future.  Giant, multinational companies who have bought out the competition are now, largely, in control.  Five companies control greater than 60% of commercial seed stocks, and these five have strategic partnerships with some of the biggest industrial food processors and retailers on the planet.  Our future suggests that these few giant conglomerations will ultimately become more powerful than governments because they control the food!

corporate food power #9

How many things must you have to exist?  It’s a short list and food is near the top.  A lack of leadership, greed, and lost integrity by public office holders have led to this predicament.  You and I can’t do much about it, at this late stage, but we can at least try to make the best of it, for our family’s sake.

Across the spectrum of interested parties, globally, a myriad of groups are seeking answers and prospective solutions, to quickly emerging food concerns.  One I find interesting suggests that:

GOVERNMENTS should work cooperatively to achieve global strategy regarding food supplies and availability.

CONSUMERS should reduce waste, transfer skills, and change consumption habits now.

MEDIA should raise the profile of challenges facing food supply effectively.

FOOD INDUSTRY should reduce waste and help educate the public.

It all doesn’t sound bad, but I ask, who allowed the 800 pound gorilla to have control of the foodstuffs?  All the power, involving food supplies, is being concentrated in the giant corporate world office!  Wow.  I wonder who is going to be making the decisions as to who gets what?

Though our personal options are few, there are some things we should be aware of.  Food prices, comparatively speaking, are expressed as a percentage of income required to feed our families.  The U.S. has the lowest at 6.7%; Singapore is second at 7.3%; followed by the UK at 9.0%, Canada 9.6%, Japan 13.8%, France 14%, So. Africa 20%, Brazil 25%, Russia 32%, India 35%, and Kenya at 45%.  Eighty-three countries are actually tracked in this regard.

This does not mean that the U.S. has the cheapest food; only representative of the percentage of income required to purchase it.  Agricultural productivity of a given country does, in fact, play a role in food supply and availability.  Foods that move internationally, have additional expense involved.  It is my belief that the “powers that be” would like for everyone to be paying at least 30% of their income for food.  In as much as that decision is in the hands of a few, giant food consortiums, it does seem within their power to do so.

American agriculture would tell you that they are your best answer regarding food supply into the future, but you continue to ignore them.  Why?  It is a very good question.  Let me shed some light on this subject.  American agriculture largely has the beginnings of an answer for vastly enhanced food supplies.  If left to continue, there is every chance the food issue could be rendered mute.  But, uninformed consumers have stopped the progress of American agriculture in that direction.  Why have they done so?

FIRST, is the issue that you have lost contact with agriculture, in general, and the beef cattle industry, in particular.  You are three to four generations removed from having family/friends on the farm.  Thus, you have long since failed to have people you trust, to ask questions of.  You have lost the ability to make fact based decisions.  You have become vulnerable to misinformation.

Enter the “Activists.”  Activists always have ulterior, usually hidden, motives behind their efforts.  But they don’t start you off there.  They find a “noble cause” that they can get you to support based simply on emotional decision making.  You feel that it is the right thing to do.  You feel that they, the activists, know what they are talking about when they scream to the world that agriculture is mistreating the animals, polluting the planet, and leaving unhealthy residues in the meat they produce.  WOW!  You’re all about supporting their cause.  You don’t have the facts; the activists don’t have the facts; but with the insertion of money, you still can collectively have the ability to influence Washington.  They hear a lot better when someone puts money in their pocket.

The result is additional layers of governmental oversight, further restricting research and development of “production efficiencies” that would allow American agriculture to actually feed a growing worldwide population.  Your unfounded fear and gullibility toward activists, will keep food levels at ultra critical levels going into the future.  Let me give you an example.

The “blackened topic” of GMO could actually have doubled, perhaps even quadrupled, per acre yields.  There is NO SCIENCE BASED EVIDENCE supporting deleterious effects from GMO.  Yet, activists have frightened urban consumers who have been led astray, by padding the pockets of Washington’s finest politicians.

The shame of it is that when food does become scarce, and you are hungry, and your kids are hungry; it then may take years to get research and production back up, to provide the necessary food for a starving nation.

The Detroit News (4/16/16) recently said: “any victories of the anti-GMO movement achieves is a triumph of superstition over science.”  Fear of the unknown (xenophobia) has accompanied mankind through most of its history.  During the 16th Century no one was safe from an accusation of witchcraft.  Werewolves, vampires, ghosts, among others, are all a part of this strange and complex emotion.

The “Catholic Menace” at one time was termed the primary source of all of America’s misfortunes.  Fear of the Chinese in the late 1800’s led to their persecution and hangings.  WWI found Americans fearful that German Americans were poisoning the food supply.  The internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans during WWII was based on fear.

There is no credible evidence to support claims that these “frankenfoods” (GMO) are harmful to humans, and plenty of evidence to support their safety.  GMO foods allow for higher yields, enhanced per acre yields, and a smaller carbon footprint.  GMO is absolutely essential to meeting food demands of a growing worldwide population.

It does seem odd that such an important piece of the economy, and solution to the future, should be placed at risk by claims unsupported by science.  One might easily think that future generations will look back on these “frankenfood” times and consider it similar to the witch burnings of the 16th Century: much ado about not being able to control our fears in the face of factual evidence.   The solution, as has occurred over the millennia involving a myriad of subjects, is knowledge concerning the facts—the TRUTH!

SECOND, the decision makers (elected and appointed) in Washington have a long, troubled history regarding the effectiveness and efficiency of programs created that on the surface might have sounded reasonable.  When the dust clears, there were too many deals, too many trade-offs, too many back-door payments, and no one stays within their budgets!

great cornfield picture #10

One that troubles me personally, involves the federal subsidy for growing corn.  I do recognize that it likely came about because the government did something (trade issues) to disintegrate the existing corn market.  So, to try to correct their mistake, they began to subsidize the farmer’s efforts to grow corn.  In 1970 4 Billion bushels of corn were produced.  By 2016 that amount had risen to 12 Billion bushels of corn, largely because of the guaranteed subsidy involved.  Now, this corn is supporting an ethanol industry that exists to extend the amount of gasoline available for motorists.  Perhaps you can explain to me, why our number one food crop (corn) is largely bypassing the food industry, when a great number of other less important food crops and many non-food natural products, could be utilized for ethanol production; and, we could at any time desired, become energy independent with American production.  We have reached a point, where new legislation is simply an effort to correct old legislative mistakes. 

THIRD, the dominant food production policy in the U.S. is oriented primarily at one thing: producing calories as cheaply as possible.  We have now become so good at producing calories efficiently that our problem is no longer that we can’t afford enough food; its the types of calories that are least expensive that are also the WORST ones for us.  Do we not have a fully developed OBESITY problem within the U.S.?

Many of our decision makers, often political appointees, are in that position for reasons other than having a knowledge mindset capable of rectifying issues efficiently and effectively.  This type of leadership compounds the problem and waste huge amounts of money.

BOTTOM-LINE:  you lost contact with agriculture (no knowledge base); you have failed to hold politicians accountable, and you are xenophobic—afraid of what you don’t know about.  WOW!  We are talking about the subject of FOOD!  Its pretty hard to get along without it.  Can it get worse?  Of course it can, and will, if you don’t develop some backbone.

  1. Find credible sources of information regarding agriculture and begin to learn.  The agricultural extension services of many universities is a good place to begin. In agriculture, you will find honest people who know the facts.  Educate yourself about the facts.  Believe that when push comes to shove, agriculture is the only friend you’ve got!
  2. If you want to eat decently in the future, recognize that GMO is at least part of the answer.  Science based facts support GMO.  Any company selling food that promotes their product as NON-GMO, is only doing it for marketing reasons.  They think its important to you.  They are only interested in sales.  They don’t care one way or another.  Most of them are as uninformed as the masses.
  3. Trust agriculture.  We are not perfect; we too have made mistakes.  Of course we have.  But, our families are eating the very same food.  We don’t want it contaminated or in any way detrimental to our good health, either.  We get used and abused by politicians, government officials, and legislative programs that are disasters, just like you.
  4. It is past time for us to wise up.  Both political parties are corrupt.  They know how bad the system is, better than us.  But, they can’t walk away from the money, power and influence.  We need to throw them all out, and limit the amount of time any one of them can spend in their elected capacity.  You can’t change the porridge without changing the recipe.

Let us look at just some of the alternatives coming our way (not the rich and influential of course) if we don’t get our act together, and stop being abused by activists and politicians alike.

  • Food prices are expected to double in the next four to five years.
  • Growing meat in the lab—the price has actually come down rather drastically: $11 per burgers (6 ounces).
  • Algae farming could become the world’s biggest cropping industry.
  • Insects could also rather easily be worked into our diets.
  • With 10,000 types of seaweed in the world, many with some rather unique flavors and salt content.
  • Caterpillars and locusts are already popular in Africa, wasps in Japan, and crickets in Thailand.
  • Artificial milk (Muufri) is made from a variety of yeasts—the same process used to make insulin.

In 2050, the food diets will revolve much more around bugs than meat.  Experts expect our diets to become customized relative to age, sex, productivity level and special needs.  The unproductive citizens likely won’t get along too well, nutritionally speaking.  Sound a little futuristic?  I am afraid it is all too realistic.

Let me close with some thoughts shared by your fellow citizens of our planet Earth, regarding the subject of food in our future:

“I’m not sure its really my job to think about that to be honest.  It’s too complex.  Surely things will sort themselves out.”  (it is too complex but it won’t sort itself out)

“We’ll get to a point where kids don’t even know how to make a sandwich…..I’d rather see us go back to basic skills…..we need to influence our children and have them learn to cook from us.”

(Who do you blame for not passing down cooking and food preservation skills?)

“In the future there could be something dangerous and you’ll end up eating something and they’re telling you it’s this but it’s not really.  That’s been proved in the horse meat scandal. ”

(this comment originated from the UK)

You’d need some kind of authority—food police.  Would need to be authorized, they’d tell us: that it is what it says it is; it meets the recommended daily amount of what you’re allowed.”

(This one reeks of a lack of basic understanding regarding the facts)

Is it not obviously clear that today’s consumers are lost, lacking even rudimentary knowledge about the issues involved.  Please, make the effort to inform yourself.  Do it for those you love if for no other reason.

IF WE DON’T EDUCATE OURSELVES ON THE PERTINENT SUBJECTS, IF WE DON’T CONTROL OUR FEARS AND WISE UP REGARDING ACTIVISTS, IF WE DON’T BECOME FAMILIAR WITH AGRICULTURE (PEOPLE AND PRACTICES), AND IF WE DON’T THROW THE BUMS OUT OF WASHINGTON—WE’LL GET EXACTLY THAT WHICH WE DESERVE!

 I am sure you have played the game Monopoly?  Add life and death struggles in obtaining food for your family, two generations into the future, and you’ll know Foodopoly!

foodopoly #11