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The Mainstream Media Admits That We Are Facing “The Worst Food Crisis In Modern History”

The Mainstream Media Admits That We Are Facing “The Worst Food Crisis In Modern History”

People on the other side of the planet are dropping dead from starvation right now, but most people don’t even realize that this is happening.  Unfortunately, most people just assume that everything is fine and dandy.  If you are one of those people that believe that everything is just wonderful, I would encourage you to pay close attention to the details that I am about to share with you.  Global hunger is rapidly spreading, and that is because global food supplies have been getting tighter and tighter.  If current trends continue, we could potentially be facing a nightmare scenario before this calendar year is over.

Pakistan is not one of the poorest nations in the world, but the lack of affordable food is starting to cause panic inside that country.  The following comes from Time Magazine

Last Saturday in Mirpur Khas, a city in Pakistan’s Sindh province, hundreds of people lined up for hours outside a park to buy subsidized wheat flour, offered for 65 rupees a kilogram instead of the current, inflated rate of about 140 to 160 rupees.

When a few trucks arrived, the crowd surged forward, leaving several injured. One man, Harsingh Kolhi, who was there to bring a five kg bag of flour home for his wife and children, was crushed and killed in the chaos.

We are seeing similar things happen all over the planet.

Just because you still may have enough food to eat doesn’t mean that everybody else is okay.

In fact, things have already gotten so bad that even CNN is admitting that we are facing “the worst food crisis in modern history”

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Agriculture In A Post-Oil Economy

Agriculture In A Post-Oil Economy

The decline in the world’s oil supply offers no sudden dramatic event that would appeal to the writer of “apocalyptic” science fiction: no mushroom clouds, no flying saucers, no giant meteorites. The future will be just like today, only tougher. Oil depletion is basically just a matter of overpopulation — too many people and not enough resources. The most serious consequence will be a lack of food. The problem of oil therefore leads, in an apparently mundane fashion, to the problem of farming.

To what extent could food be produced in a world without fossil fuels? In the year 2000, humanity consumed about 30 billion barrels of oil, but the supply is starting to run out; without oil and natural gas, there will be no fuel, no asphalt, no plastics, no chemical fertilizer. Most people in modern industrial civilization live on food that was bought from a local supermarket, but such food will not always be available. Agriculture in the future will be largely a “family affair”: without motorized vehicles, food will have to be produced not far from where it was consumed. But what crops should be grown? How much land would be needed? Where could people be supported by such methods of agriculture?

WHAT TO GROW

The most practical diet would be largely vegetarian, for several reasons. In the first place, vegetable production requires far less land than animal production. Even the pasture land for a cow is about one hectare, and more land is needed to produce hay, grain, and other foods for that animal. One could supply the same amount of useable protein from vegetable sources on a fraction of a hectare, as Frances Moore Lappé pointed out in 1971 in Diet for a Small Planet [12]. Secondly, vegetable production is less complicated…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

3 Ways to Grow Lettuce Even if You Don’t Have a Garden

3 Ways to Grow Lettuce Even if You Don’t Have a Garden

Fresh salad is a recommended mainstay of healthy eating. But, salad can get expensive. Lettuce seeds, however, are cheap. You can grow lettuce, throughout the year, even if you don’t have a garden with one of these three indoor techniques.

If you’re new to indoor gardening, lettuce or herbs are great plants to start with. Herbs, because a small amount is all you need for a meal and there are lots of potted herbs for sale. Lettuce, because you can start it from seed and it’ll keep coming back for many month’s of salad harvests. Even better, there are a ton of different lettuce varieties, in different colors, available too. So salads don’t have to be green and bland when you grow lettuce yourself.

In this article, we are covering three different, indoor growing methods to grow lettuce. Each technique has a discussion of the tools and materials needed, and it’s benefits and ease or difficulty of set-up. If these methods seem difficult, there are always microgreens, and sprouts, that can also help keep your salad bowl full throughout the year. Whether you grow lettuce, or sprouts, or microgreens, all can add tasty nutrition to salads, sandwiches, and all your meals throughout the year.

First off, make sure you have some lettuce seeds. A quick look at Richter’s herbs, reveals 12 different lettuce varieties from speckled to red, and from smooth leaved to oak-leaf varieties. Other seed companies, especially those specializing in heirloom varieties, will have similar ranges of lettuces. Even a 1$ package of green lettuce from the dollar store, or hardware store, can work to get started with.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

USDA Reveals US Corn-Harvested Acres At 2008 Levels Amid Megadrought

USDA Reveals US Corn-Harvested Acres At 2008 Levels Amid Megadrought

Last year was a bad year for corn — the latest US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report shows drought conditions and extreme weather wreaked havoc on croplands.

USDA unexpectedly slashed its outlook for domestic corn production amid a severe drought across the western farm belt. Farmers in Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas were forced to abandon drought-plagued fields.

The agency estimated farmers harvested 79.2 million acres, a decline of 1.6 million acres versus the previous estimate — the smallest acres harvest since 2008.

The unexpected cut to US harvested corn acres means grain supplies are a lot tighter than realized. A report Thursday showed the corn area in the world’s largest producer is at the smallest since 2008 with crops failing in states such as Texas and Nebraska. That’s due to persistent drought conditions in the western part of the country that could also hit harvests for wheat plants that are currently dormant for the winter. — Bloomberg

The crop-failed lands reduced total harvest corn acreage to levels not seen since 2008.

Less acreage tightens supply and might continue to put a bid under corn prices.

Global food prices remain at crisis levels.

Here’s the current drought situation across the farm belt.

Corn production woes from the US don’t bode well in the fight to crush food inflation. It seems as if the prices for our food will remain high well through 2023.

The Lost Forest Gardens of Europe

The Lost Forest Gardens of Europe

europe hazelnut orchard mossy shade forest garden filbert farm

Contents

  • People of the Hazel: Europe’s indigenous cultures return after the glaciers retreat, bringing their most cherished tree with them

  • The Continent-Wide Orchard: Mesolithic people create Europe’s post-glacial ecosystems as vast forest gardens

  • A Changing Climate: millennia of drastic fluctuations in the climate lead to the creation and spread of grain-based agriculture

  • Strength in Diversity: early farmers innovate resilient crop mixes and companion planting to guard against climate change

  • Hybrid Cultures: Europe’s new creolized societies mix the best of hunter-gatherer and farmer cultures, practices, livestock, and crops to create entirely new ways to grow food

  • The Domesticated Forest Garden: farmers in the Mediterranean adapt their region’s hunter-gatherer forest gardens into diverse multi-story farms, creating resilient agricultural forests of domesticated crops that exist to this day

  • Towards a New Culture: imperialist monoculture farming systems take precedence in Europe, but the indigenous forest garden methods survive in the margins. These ancient methods are nearly forgotten, but they can provide a framework for rethinking the way we live and grow food in a changing climate.

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Introduction

In the hills above the Po river in northern Italy, there are a handful of farms that look almost the same today as they would have three thousand years ago.

There are rows of short pruned trees, with fruit-laden grape vines festooned between them. The trees are common natives in the area that produce fruit, firewood, basketmaking materials, and fodder for farm animals. The grapes are ancient cultivars that have been grown here for millennia. Between these rows of grapes and trees are diverse plots of cereals, hayfields, vegetables, and herbs. In a single field, one can find all of the staples needed to live and support the farmstead, and more to sell at a high premium…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

How agriculture hastens species extinction

How agriculture hastens species extinction

This week on 60 Minutes, correspondent Scott Pelley reports on something scientists are calling the sixth mass extinction. There have been five great die-offs in the history of our planet, when at least 75 percent of the known species disappear. The last mass extinction was 66 million years ago, when an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. Now scientists think humans are hastening another mass annihilation of plants and animals. Among the causes this time are pollution, habitat destruction, over-exploitation of resources, and climate change.

Mexican ecologist Gerardo Ceballos is among the world’s leading scientists on extinction. He laid out for us how dire the situation has become over the last century.

Gerardo Ceballos: There is only 2 percent of the big fishes that were in the oceans 50 years ago. Only 2 percent are living. We have lost around 70 percent of all the animals that were in the– in the planet. All the big animals, all the mammals, bird, 70 percent are gone since 1918. In Southeast Asia, you know, we have lost 90 percent of the tropical forest of Southeast Asia since 2000. So, our impact is so massive that we are becoming this meteorite that is impact the planet. The difference with the previous mass extinction is that they took tens of thousands, hundreds of thousand, even millions of years to happen. In this particular case, this is happening so fast, now in just two, three decades — even the species that are not affected directly by the extinction crisis won’t have enough time to evolve and survive this impact that we’re doing.

Every two years, the World Wildlife Fund produces a document called the “living planet report.” It’s a biennial report card that details the health of planet earth’s wildlife, showing the average decline of species populations since they were first monitored in 1970.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

UK Warned by Farmers That It Is Facing a Food Supply Crisis

UK Warned by Farmers That It Is Facing a Food Supply Crisis

In an emergency press conference, the National Farmers Union (NFU) said the government needed to step in to assist farmers who are under severe strain.

The British farming industry is facing major issues across almost all sectors, with the price of animal feed and nitrogen fertiliser, and fuel skyrocketing. The union warned that yields of crops will likely slump to record lows this year with farmers also considering reducing the size of their herds.

Under Threat

In the emergency press conference, NFU president Minette Batters said that “shoppers up and down the country have for decades had a guaranteed supply of high-quality affordable food produced to some of the highest animal welfare, environmental, and food safety standards in the world.”

“That food, produced with care by British farmers, is critical to our nation’s security and success. But British food is under threat,” she added.

“We have already seen the egg supply chain crippled under the pressure caused by these issues and I fear the country is sleepwalking into further food supply crises, with the future of British fruit and vegetable supplies in trouble. We need government and the wider supply chain to act now—tomorrow could well be too late.”

According to the NFU, since 2019 the price of wholesale gas has increased by 650 percent, with nitrogen fertiliser up by 240 percent and agricultural diesel up 73 percent. Furthermore, animal feed raw material has increased by 75 percent.

Nearly 1 in 10 NFU members who produce beef said they were considering reducing the size of their herd in the next 12 months.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Finite Feeding Frenzy

Finite Feeding Frenzy

Image by ariesjay castillo from Pixabay

You may be aware that our food industry is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, to the point that it takes about 10 kcal of energy input to deliver 1 kcal of consumed food. The enormous energy multiplier is due to extensively mechanized plowing, harvesting, processing, and delivery of food; fossil-fueled fertilization (via methane feedstock); refrigeration and preparation; then of course food waste. In olden times, when all agricultural energy came from muscle power that needed to be fed, the system would collapse (i.e., starve and fail) if energy inputs exceeded energy ingested.

Some have phrased our current practice as “eating fossil fuels,” and in fact a 2006 book by Dale Allen Pfeiffer had this title. So what? More power to us—literally.

The problem, people, is that fossil fuels are finite. We have already consumed a fair fraction (roughly half?) of the accessible allotment. And before concluding that we therefore have a century or so before needing to worry about the consequences, realize that the inflection point happens around the halfway mark, wherein decreasing ease of access tends to result in ever-decreasing output rates in the second-half of the resource. We see this behavior in individual oil fields and in regional (country-scale) aggregations. The low-hanging fruit is taken first, sensibly, so that what’s left is more stubborn.

Because human population has been substantially boosted by fossil fuel input, we have put ourselves into a vulnerable position. What happens when fossil fuels begin to give out on us?

It’s been a while since I did any, you know, math for this blog, as I seem to be living my own worst nightmare and turning into an armchair philosopher (oh the shame). In this post, I return to something closer to math..

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Peak oil, food & the “King of Chemicals” sulfuric acid

Peak oil, food & the “King of Chemicals” sulfuric acid

Preface. I first learned of sulfur’s existence when my grandmother told me how she loved going to tent revivals on the edge of town where it was common for preachers to get converts by burning sulfur to make the fire and brimstone damnation of Hell seem real (during the 3rd Great Awakening).

***

Sulfuric acid is called the “king of chemicals” because it is the most widely used chemical on earth. Over 260 million metric tons were produced in 2021 for lead acid batteries, detergent, rayon, paper, iron and steel pickling, glass, cement, adhesives, sugar refining, fireworks, rubber vulcanization, explosives, pesticides, drugs, plastics, pigments, water treatment, and 30,000 other products.

Sulfuric acid is also essential for electric vehicles, batteries, solar, wind turbines, semiconductors and other green technology, because sulfuric acid is how you get lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, and some rare earth metals by dissolving the rock around them.

But over half is used for the most important product of all, dissolving phosphate out of rocks to make phosphate fertilizer, which can increase crop production by 50%, to grow our fuel: food.  And not only that, but to make the universal energy currency of all life on earth, Adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) which powers all cells. Plus, all living creatures are part phosphate, it’s in our DNA, RNA, cell membranes, bones, and teeth.

Yet sulfuric acid shortages loom in the future, even though sulfur is the fifth most common element in the world!   So how on earth could there ever be a sulfur shortage?

It may be common, but deposits large enough to exploit are extremely rare, mostly near volcanoes.  Most sulfur or sulfates are combined with copper, iron, lead, zinc, barium, calcium (aka gypsum), magnesium, and sodium.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Rising CO2 is reducing nutritional value of food, impacting ecosystems

How Europe’s Energy Crisis Could Turn Into A Food Crisis

How Europe’s Energy Crisis Could Turn Into A Food Crisis

Runaway energy inflation has taken a toll on European industry, but another threat is looming.

  • Europe’s two biggest fertilizer suppliers, Russia and Belarus have retaliated against European sanctions by cutting off fertilizer exports.
  • The fact remains that the global food chain, especially its European links, is not in a good place right now.

Runaway energy price inflation has wreaked havoc on European industrial activity, with the heaviest consumers taking the brunt. Aluminum and steel smelters are shutting down because of energy costs. Chemical producers are moving to the United States. BASF is planning a permanent downsizing.

There is, however, a bigger problem than all these would constitute for their respective industries. Fertilizer makers are also shutting down their plants. And fertilizer imports are down because the biggest suppliers of fertilizers for Europe were Russia and Belarus, both currently under sanctions.

Both countries have retaliated against the sanctions by cutting off exports of fertilizers to Europe, and European officials repeating that fertilizer exports are not sanctioned is not really helping.

Russia accounts for 45 percent of the global ammonia nitrate supply, according to figures from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy cited by the FT. But it also accounts for 18 percent of the supply of potash—potassium-containing salts that are one of the main gradients of fertilizers—and 14 percent of phosphate exports.

Belarus is a major exporter of fertilizers, too, especially potash. But Belarus has been under EU sanctions since 2021 on human rights allegations, and unlike Russia, it has seen its fertilizer industry targeted by these sanctions. This has made for an unfortunate coincidence for Europe and its food security.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Politics, climate conspire as Tigris and Euphrates dwindle

DAWWAYAH, Iraq and ILISU DAM, Turkey (AP) — Next year, the water will come. The pipes have been laid to Ata Yigit’s sprawling farm in Turkey’s southeast connecting it to a dam on the Euphrates River. A dream, soon to become a reality, he says.

He’s already grown a small corn patch on some of the water. The golden stalks are tall and abundant. “The kernels are big,” he says, proudly. Soon he’ll be able to water all his fields.

Over 1,000 kilometers (625 miles) downstream in southern Iraq, nothing grows anymore in Obeid Hafez’s wheat farm. The water stopped coming a year ago, the 95-year-old said, straining to speak.

“The last time we planted the seed, it went green, then suddenly it died,” he said.

Water levels in the Chibayish marshes of southern Iraq are declining and fishermen say certain water-ways are no longer accessible by boat, in Dhi Qar province, Iraq, Friday Sept. 2, 2022. The Tigris-Euphrates river flows have fallen by 40% the past four decades as the states along its length - Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq pursue rapid, unilateral development of the waters' use. (AP Photo/Anmal Khalil)

Water levels in the Chibayish marshes of southern Iraq are declining and fishermen say certain water-ways are no longer accessible by boat, in Dhi Qar province, Iraq, Sept. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Anmal Khalil)

The starkly different realities are playing out along the length of the Tigris-Euphrates river basin, one of the world’s most vulnerable watersheds. River flows have fallen by 40% in the past four decades as the states along its length — Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq — pursue rapid, unilateral development of the waters’ use.

The drop is projected to worsen as temperatures rise from climate change. Both Turkey and Iraq, the two biggest consumers, acknowledge they must cooperate to preserve the river system that some 60 million people rely on to sustain their lives.

But political failures and intransigence conspire to prevent a deal sharing the rivers.

The Associated Press conducted more than a dozen interviews in both countries, from top water envoys and senior officials to local farmers, and gained exclusive visits to controversial dam projects…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The Ephemeral Trellis

The third agrarian revolution: from production and consumption to relations

The third agrarian revolution: from production and consumption to relations

In the 19th century Swedish agriculture underwent big changes. The earlier agriculture system was founded on a high share of permanent meadows where winter feed for the livestock was harvested. The manure was spread on the arable land where food for humans were grown. During the summer (4-6 months depending on where in Sweden you were) livestock grazed the utmarker (back country) the land which now mostly is densely forested, but was much more open in those days.  With the introduction of crop rotations the production of fodder was brought into the arable land and at the same time most of the permanent meadows were plowed and converted to arable land. Through the use of leguminous plants, in particular clover, the availability of the important nitrogen increased substantially.

The population also grew, but food production increased considerably more than the population. According to the recently published Agrar revolution by professor Mats Morell, the total energy production per person and day went from 4,000 kcal in the beginning of the 19th century to more than 5,000 kcal in the end of the century and the availability of animal foods was even higher than the consumption today.

The higher yields were mostly gained through an intensification of work. People worked more and a longer time of the year. One such example is the introduction of potatoes. The potato gave a higher yield but it also prolonged the work in the fields as it was planted after the grain was sown and harvested after the grain harvest. Finally, a lot of the potatoes were further processed into brännvin (vodka) during winter. In a similar way more and better feed gave more milk, and more cheese- and buttermaking. The increase in animal production also took more time.

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The Story of Seeds: Our Collective Legacy, Our Stolen Birthright

What Is a Seed?

Seeds are potential: These tiny, living organisms contain an entire root, stem, and leaf curled dormant in a shell. Seeds are richly various, and sometimes delicious: Pine nuts, almonds, nutmeg, mustard, coffee, cocoa beans, peanuts, beans, and peas — all of these are seeds.

Seeds are our past: Our relationship with them began more than 10,000 years ago, when our ancestors traded in their nomadic, hunter-gatherer ways for a life rooted in place, centered around the cultivation of plants. Early farmers selected seeds from plants based on taste and adaptability, and in exchange, these seeds grew the plants that nurtured and shaped our civilizations. If seeds have been the foundation of human civilization, then farmers have been its engineers.

Seeds are our collective legacy: For most of human history, seeds have been collectively shared and celebrated, a deep knowledge base whose enrichment and accessibility benefits all of humankind. Over time, human efforts to develop plants have resulted in great diversity of varieties adapted to region, soil type, climate, plant disease, and more. Seeds are hard-earned, a gift bestowed onto each successive generation in a cooperative, collaborative celebration of life. Generations of Indigenous people co-created corn through the selective breeding of wild grasses, and kidnapped Africans braided seeds into their hair before crossing the Middle Passage.

Seeds are a promise to the future: a promise of food security, of economic stability. Yet, as descendents of those first farmers, our birthright is being stolen out from under our noses.

Seeds in the U.S.: The Steady March of Privatization

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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