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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

7 Reasons Food Shortages Will Become a Global Crisis

Activist Post

Food inflation is here and it's here to stay. We can see it getting worse every time we buy groceries. Basic food commodities like wheat, corn, soybeans, and rice have been skyrocketing since July, 2010 to record highs. These sustained price increases are only expected to continue as food production shortfalls really begin to take their toll this year and beyond.

This summer Russia banned exports of wheat to ensure their nation's supply, which sparked complaints of protectionism. The U.S. agriculture community is already talking about rationing corn over ethanol mandates versus supply concerns. We've seen nothing yet in terms of food protectionism.

Global food shortages have forced emergency meetings at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization where they claim "urgent action" is needed. They point to extreme weather as the main contributing factor to the growing food shortages. However, commodity speculation has also been targeted as one of the culprits.

It seems that the crisis would also present the perfect opportunity and the justification for the large GMO food companies to force their products into skeptical markets like in Europe and Japan, as recently leaked cables suggest. One thing is for sure; food shortages will likely continue to get worse and eventually become a full-scale global food crisis.

Here are seven reasons why food shortages are here to stay on a worldwide scale:

1. Extreme Weather: Extreme weather has been a major problem for global food; from summer droughts and heat waves that devastated Russia’s wheat crop to the ongoing catastrophes from 'biblical flooding' in Australia and Pakistan. And it doesn’t end there. An extreme winter cold snap and snow has struck the whole of Europe and the United States. Staple crops are failing in all of these regions making an already fragile harvest in 2010 even more critical into 2011. Based on the recent past, extreme weather conditions are only likely to continue and perhaps worsen in the coming years.

2. Bee Colony Collapse: The Guardian reported this week on the USDA's study on bee colony decline in the United States: "The abundance of four common species of bumblebee in the US has dropped by 96% in just the past few decades." It is generally understood that bees pollinate around 90% of the world's commercial crops. Obviously, if these numbers are remotely close to accurate, then our natural food supply is in serious trouble. Luckily for us, the GMO giants have seeds that don't require open pollination to bear fruit.

3. Collapsing Dollar: Commodity speculation has resulted in massive food inflation that is already creating crisis levels in poor regions in the world. Food commodity prices have soared to record highs mainly because they trade in the ever-weakening dollar. Traders will point to the circumstances described in this article to justify their gambles, but also that food represents a tangible investment in an era of worthless paper. Because the debt problems in the United States are only getting worse, and nations such as China and Russia are dropping the dollar as their trade vehicle, the dollar will continue to weaken, further driving all commodity prices higher.

4. Regulatory Crackdown: Even before the FDA was given broad new powers to regulate food in the recent Food Safety Modernization Act, small farms were being raided and regulated out of business. Now, the new food bill essentially puts food safety under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security where the food cartel uses the government to further consolidate their control over the industry. Militant police action is taken against farmers suspected of falling short on quality regulations. It is the power to intimidate innocent small farmers out of the business.

5. Rising oil prices: In 2008, record oil prices that topped $147 per barrel drove food prices to new highs. Rice tripled in 6 months during the surge of oil prices, along with other food commodities. The price of oil affects food on multiple levels; from plowing fields, fertilizers and pesticides, to harvesting and hauling. Flash forward to 2011: many experts are predicting that oil may reach upwards of $150-$200 per barrel in the months ahead. As oil closed out 2010 at its 2-year highs of $95/bbl, it is likely on pace to continue climbing. Again, a weakening dollar will also play its part in driving oil prices, and consequently, food prices to crisis levels.

6. Increased Soil Pollution: Geo-engineering has been taking place on a grand scale in the United States for decades now. Previously known in conspiracy circles as 'chemtrailing,' the government has now admitted to these experiments claiming they are plan "B" to combat global warming. The patents involved in this spraying are heavy in aluminum. This mass aluminum contamination is killing plants and trees and making the soil sterile to most crops. In an astonishing coincidence, GMO companies have patented aluminum-resistant seeds to save the day.

7. GMO Giants: Because of growing awareness of the health affects of GM foods, several countries have rejected planting them. Therefore, they would seem to need a food crisis to be seen as the savior in countries currently opposed to their products. A leaked WikiLeaks cable confirms that this is indeed the strategy for GMO giants, where trade secretaries reportedly “noted that commodity price hikes might spur greater liberalization on biotech imports.” Since GMO giants already control much of the food supply, it seems they can also easily manipulate prices to achieve complete global control of food.

The equation is actually quite simple: food is a relatively inelastic commodity in terms of demand. In other words, people need to eat no matter how bad the economy gets. Thus, demand can be basically measured by the size of the population. Therefore, as demand remains steady while the 7 supply pressures outlined above continue to worsen, food prices will have only one place to go -- up, up, and up.

As international agencies scramble to find "solutions," their energy may be just as well spent on questioning if this famine scenario is being purposely manipulated for profits. Regardless, the average person would be very wise to stock up on food staples as an investment, and frankly to survive the worsening food crisis.

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Are You Ready For Massive Food Inflation?

groceryreciept 200x266 Are You Ready For Massive Food Inflation?As you may have noticed, food prices are going up all over the place. Your grocery budget just doesn’t go as far as it once did.
Not only are prices going up in a noticeable fashion, but you may have also noticed packaging shenanigans that the food companies are pulling to hide the inflation that’s occurring.
In a nutshell, they’re changing the packaging to contain less product with the same size package, often for even higher prices.  The price per unit for so many things is going through the roof and most people out there have no clue this is happening.
The problem is just going to get worse.  Commodity prices are going up.   Bigtime.  We’re talking a doubling in some food commodities in the last year.  And oil prices are going up with no end in sight.
All of this impacts the price you pay for food.  Oil most of all.
So what are you going to do about it?

Plant A Garden

squarefootgardening 200x151 Are You Ready For Massive Food Inflation?One of the easiest things you can do is plant a garden and raise some of your own food that way.  Everyone can do this, even if it’s just a few terra cotta pots in a window.  The more you can grow, the better off you will be money wise as well as health wise.
Starting a garden is pretty straight forward.  If you’ve never gardened before, I recommend Square Foot Gardening as a good starting point.  It’s simple, easy to understand, and above all systemic.  This is very important, because having a system to follow is key to your success.
Once you’ve got a garden going, keep expanding it slowly.  Don’t go whole hog the first year, but learn and grow more as you go.  Your first few years will be a big learning experience for you, I guarantee!
But it’s definitely worth the work!  If you’ve never had fresh vegetables that came from a garden, you have no idea what you’re missing.

Raise Small Livestock

P8010195 500x375 200x150 Are You Ready For Massive Food Inflation?By small livestock I mean primarily chickens and rabbits.  They are quick to produce, and are generally pretty hard to screw up too badly.
Now, you’ll definitely want to check your locality to make sure that you can have rabbits or chickens in your back yard, because sometimes you just can’t.  We can’t have chickens, for example, which annoys me to no end.
I recommend at least having a few chickens if you can, eggs are expensive commercially and if you have your own chickens, you’ll never have to buy an egg again!  Check out this post on raising chickens for more details.

Join A CSA Program

csafood 200x150 Are You Ready For Massive Food Inflation?CSA is short for Community Supported Agriculture.  It’s sorta like a buying club for farm products.  You’re helping to pay for the expenses of raising the crops on the participating farm.  One upside is that you get great food, but a corresponding downside is that you end up sharing the risk with the farmer.
After you join, you do not pay for a specific amount of product but rather support the budget of the whole farm and receive weekly what is seasonally ripe.
This approach eliminates the marketing risks, costs for the producer and an enormous amount of time and labor, and allows producers to focus on quality care of the soils, crops, animals and co-workers as well as on serving the customers.
If you’re interested in participating in a CSA, you can look for a local program on the Local Harvest website.

Purchase Local Products Farm Direct

grassfedbeef 200x150 Are You Ready For Massive Food Inflation?Most areas have a farmers market that you can buy food from.  Be careful that you’re buying farm direct though.  Several ‘farmers market’ stands around here are actually selling full on commercial food, not the good stuff you get from smaller organic operations.
Another good thing to consider is buying meats from local farms.  You can usually buy portions of cows, hogs, and other common meats for a flat fee per pound.  The downside of this is your average price per pound is probably higher than you would normally spend, but the quality is better and you get a bunch of fancy cuts for way below what you’d normally get.
I highly recommend buying your meats this way instead of from the store if you can.  It’s much better for you.  Trust me on this!

Hunting And Fishing

fishing 200x131 Are You Ready For Massive Food Inflation?If you’re into such things, you could go hunting and fishing to fill up the freezer.  It’s a ton of fun, and you are building and practicing a skill that will be invaluable during any sort of survival situation.
Most areas have seasons to consider for both hunting and fishing, but that’s where the freezer comes into play.  Be sure to enjoy the bounty of your catch fresh as well!
I’m not going to go into too much detail on this, but if you’d like to learn more, let me know and I’ll see what I can do about putting together some more information for you.

Wrapping Up

These are just a few ideas on how to prepare yourself for the continuing increase in food prices.  I’d love to hear what you’re doing for your own family.  Leave a comment and let me know!