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Food Warnings, Food Shortages

August 13, 2012

A big part of why we do what we do is believing in food choices, and the certainty that there are food issues approaching that many are not prepared for or even aware of. Last night on Facebook this came up with conversations with two different people who did not know each other.

One was an ag friend. The other what we might call a regular consumer – lives in the Atlanta area, concerned about GMO, trying to eat healthy, exercising food choices and seeks organic. And while many disagree with his food choices, he’s just the kind of person I love to talk to about food choices. Why – because he CHOOSES, he encourages others to CHOOSE, he’s encouraging folks now to buy direct, grow what they can, get involved in their food supply.

So when, within the space of a half hour, both of these folks brought up food shortages it seemed a good time to bring it up in a post. Again. You see, last year we talked about food shortages some. I’ve talked about what happens if food costs double.

I said there and I’ll say here I believe that within 20 years we will have food issues, from shortages to riots. I’ve believed that for the last 20some years, and have been told it’s crazy. Yea it sounds crazy when food is plentiful in the store. However, in that time I’ve seen nothing that has detoured my view. The only difference is instead of “someday” I think someday is approaching. There is a perfect storm that not only are people embracing and supporting, but doing so without any idea what the fallout will be. Some say it doesn’t matter. Those folks most assuredly have never had to do without food.

The drought this year has folks talking. What will corn prices do? I’m here to tell you it’s not just about corn, although that will affect a lot. Our rabbit feed doesn’t include corn, but jumped $2/bag this week – from $13.25 to $15.25. Corn prices were cited, indicating that there is less profit in the corn so *other* products will be carrying the load. Corn, too, is going up obviously.

This drives up costs of things from animal feed (and products) to tacos. Now that’s just one aspect of the puzzle I’m looking at. Now add regulations.

Farmers in California are using resources to file suit trying to determine what will meet Prop 2 – and getting nowhere. They know building costs will be there, but can’t afford to add without some structure of what to add and that is perception not defined. Some criticize eggs that are “dirty” (even when washed, but not bleached) if there are shades of any kind in the egg, which may be natural. Yet to help avoid that chickens were put in battery cages to keep them out of their manure, increase cleanliness and – yes – produce clean eggs in volume. Now folks don’t want the cages…but don’t want the “dirty eggs” either.

Then add the gestation crate protests – a system implemented to insure each hog was fed and watered, and protected from bully sows tearing her up. It’s demanded, not in cost but in calls for legislation that crates be eliminated. In other words “we don’t want to pay more” or “we don’t eat meat but…” or “we don’t like that – change!”

Now no doubt consumer demand matters! And I guarantee if there were 500,000 farmers that all had standing orders for 150 customers each of 3 pigs per year that’s 225million hogs that would be out of crates and, probably, raised in small situations. The fact is there are still businesses that want volume, and some of those are driven by those same consumers.

Small farmers are not going to fill Chipotle or McDonalds or Safeway no matter how they say they’re going cage free or crate free. They don’t have their own farms. Chipotle, as I’ve said previously, uses the “whenever available” cleverly – refusing to answer what happens when pasture pigs aren’t available. Customers are blissfully ignoring it, yet if a farmer misrepresents something they’re “evil.” Transparency is framed in careful words.

In any case, we all face these regulations that will be coming in the next 5 years or so. These things have proven in other countries to cause food shortages, and those countries are now importing food (that may or may not have been grown as their own farmers are required to do). So consumer demand is calling for change.

Now add in the majority who don’t want to change their lifestyle, eating habits or other actions. They will be forced to do so because costs increase and therefore so will prices. That is already happening. As we said last year, prices at the store are up. They’re up again with drought so widespread.

Now add in weather, fuel/trucking interruptions or any final stick to the equation. Those not prepared will be hurting. There is three days food in most areas – so food shelves will quickly be empty (as is clear when storms are predicted). Only instead of a few days it’s a month. Two months. Six months. A very different landscape indeed.

Some say talking of this is self serving, and I suppose in a way it is. Yes we can take 150 customers. But we cannot do thousands, millions! Every person needs to find folks doing what we’re doing if you want food choices. It’s not condemning food on the store shelves – that too is a choice.

It’s a no brainer prices are going up. The question now – what are you going to do to provide for your family? When are you going to sign up? Are you willing to gamble? Or will you consider it insurance? If you wait too long no one can make a garden grow faster or an animal grow faster then they naturally grow.

And that’s a long time to wait to eat. Don’t wait – don’t fear the future but do make choices now. We can do without a lot of things but no one can live without food. Book today!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 13, 2012 5:10 PM

    Not to mention the new water regulations in CA. New legislation requiring water testing and expensive remedies for any problems found places all the cost on the farmers. Where will small family farms get the money?

    • August 13, 2012 5:51 PM

      Excellent point Nori – thanks for adding that! I hadn’t even touched on influence of water and environmental regulations. Many don’t understand there ARE regulations.

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