The world is on the brink of a major food crisis

For the first time in recent history, humanitarian organizations are responding to three major food crises at once – one in West Africa, one in East Africa, and one in Yemen. Accelerating climate change and dwindling resources have created several severe food shortages – adding 43 million more people around the world to the ranks of those who will go hungry this year alone.

As Barbara Stocking, the chief executive with OxFam Great Britain, warned, “without urgent action, things will only get worse, and multiple major crises could quickly move from being an exception to being the norm.” Enough food exists, but the failures of global capitalism and industrial food systems prevent solutions to the problem. If the United States doesn’t take the lead in using resources and energy more responsibly soon, then the rest of the world is going to descend into chaos, and we as a nation will go down with them.


leighmf's picture
leighmf 10 years 42 weeks ago

Well, how can anybody enjoy their Oysters Rockefeller anymore?

Centralized control of the food supply is what we have to stop. When commodities become centralized, anything becomes a shortage. Some people have been working to starve Africans for centuries, to get their mines.

We in the US are actually being fed a lot of famine food in the form of soybeans. Soybeans are a fast-growing cheap protein source which builds body fat in lambs and baby pigs. Soybeans were first marketed to farmers as a fodder crop in the 1920's. Those qualities make it an excellent food for famine nations.

Here, where there's lots of food, it was one thing when soy was restricted to candy bars and quiescently frozen confections and soy sauce. Now our kids are fatter than ever.

It seems we are being trained to be a famine nation of sorts ourselves, willing to accept soy masquerading as other food, along with chemical cheese made by the U.S. Chemical Cheese Corporation.

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 10 years 42 weeks ago

Got Soilent Green? that jar of jelly you so fondly glom on your yummy toasted muffin will soon cost you...(in the voice of doctor evil)...1 million dollars. seriously though? why does the U.S. have to always take the lead? huh?

CynthThePoet's picture
CynthThePoet 10 years 42 weeks ago

I have made the personal choice to switch to a vegan diet. I do limit my soy and add quite a bit of variety to my staple foods, but cutting out animal products reduces the demand for wasteful factory farming practices. It does trouble me that the systems set up to provide us with cheap food do so at the expense of the health, safety, and well-being of the animals being used as food product sources. Is it any surprise that we are hearing of almost daily food recalls through the USDA concerning pathogens found in processed meat products--lysteria, e-coli, and salmonella are just a few. Last week, Kenosha Beef International, Ltd. recalled nearly 19 tons of frozen bacon cheeseburger patties because some gasket material was found in their product.

We can all reduce the demand for factory farmed animal meats, eggs, and dairy. It may not be much, but it's something we can do on a personal level. As far as the larger problem, there needs to be a repudiation of the scientific management principles as applied to farming and our food supply. Another part of the problem is the GM food impact in creating food shortages. In addition, the reason that people are getting fat off of soy is that the soybeans have been genetically modified by Cargill and other Big Agra concerns. The US is the only industrialized nation that does not clearly label GM foods. There are ways to tell if produce is genetically modified if you understand the produce codes, but few people know that information. I could go on, but that would just take up too much space. Research this for yourselves.

historywriter's picture
historywriter 10 years 42 weeks ago

I'm not a vegetarian or vegan, but I eat less and less meat, and I buy all my groceries at my local co-op where I KNOW I can trust the food. If it says organic, it's organic. Somewhat more expensive but I never have to worry about my food.

historywriter's picture
historywriter 10 years 42 weeks ago

Soy is also one of the foods that result in food sensitivies and allergies for many people. Especially if they eat a lot of it. I was eating quite a bit of soy products and discovered after a while I couldn't digest it very well; it was like digesting dairy for me (and I have a serious allergy to dairy of all kinds).

If you have a farmers' market buy produce there; you know it's local and you know just what you're getting. In my farmer's market, the people who produce the stuff are right there selling it. Also, many have meat if you need to have meat, and you know it's safe.

Buy local. Eat a plant-based diet as much as possible.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 42 weeks ago

Too answer your question of why does the U.S. have to take the lead in conservation, it might be because we are the largest damn consumer in the World. dah. The large corporations including the McDonalds many of us visit daily, is why there are huge animal farms all over the World filling our demands for more and more consumption of the fast foods we are killing ourselves and our children with daily. And that includes the already processed foods we buy at our local super markets, if anything we need to be more selective of what we stuff our faces full of daily. How can we rationalize being the most obese nation in the world and growing by the hour, while much of the World could survive on what we throw in the trash each day. We are the most self-involved society since the Roman civilization. Even our poor are faced with obesity because of the fast and cheap food they buy with their food stamps at the local seven eleven store. Money is the name of the game here in the U.S. and the giant food corporations are having their best financial year ever. Isn't it ironic the poorer the nation becomes, the fatter we become as a whole. The wealthy aren’t not worried about hunger, they go to their local (or their help goes) private health stores and by their chemical free fruits and veggies. They can afford to buy food that is not genetically manipulated at the same stores. I have friends that work at these expensive stores that offer healthy food at a higher cost, yet they cannot afford to shop there on the wages they make! And as the economic situation gets worse here, more and more of us have to buy the chemically and genetically altered foods, that the government still does not make the corporations label as altered, because it is cheaper. We over consume because it feels good inside, it is our fix for the day, to make us feel better about how shitty the world around us has become. It is hard to consider conservation and be selective about what you eat, when as time passes, we are consumed with the fear of how most of us will even be able to afford the unhealthy food we presently consume in large quantities! And, what does this have to do with how are system is working or not working to get our food to us as efficiently and as healthy as possible, not much!! But the reality of the conversation could be stated simply that we are not in control of anything that actually happens around us or to us. The whole debate centers on the fact that the giant corporations of all kinds run this nation and most of the free industrialized nations in the World and money is their first and only motivation for doing anything. As long as it is economically advantageous for things to continue the way they are, nothing, and I mean nothing will change to help anyone in this World. So don't hold your breath waiting for a solution to materialize from our government, they too are run by the same giant multinational corporations that run our daily lives. Period and end of conversation on how we can change things, we can't.

George Reiter's picture
George Reiter 10 years 42 weeks ago

Beans and rice have a long shelve life. When combined, they provide a complete amino acid protein just like meat. Protect the planet from pollution, prevent global warming by becoming a vegetarian, or at least lessen your consumption of meat.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 42 weeks ago

"why does the U.S. have to always take the lead?" And that could be read as "lead" (Pb). Don't eat the Chinese candy! It's got lead in I hear on the news now.

"..pathogens found in processed meat products--lysteria, e-coli, and salmonella..."

...and Mad Cow Disease. The other pathogens you can at least kill them if cooked sufficiently. Mad Cow Disease can't be matter how much you cook it...and it will eat holes in your brain.

That's why I quit eating Beef...and although I have never heard of Mad Pig Disease...I decided not to eat pork either.....Only chicken and fish....but I probably shouldn't eat those either because if they don't have hormones, or antibiotics, they probably have radioactive materials from Fukashima. But then again even my tomatoes I grew this year may have taken in the radioactive materials as well. But at least they taste a whole lot better than the store bought ones..even though some are really weird even looked like Jesus...ate it anyway...and now I can see a halo above my head when I look into the mirror. Maybe it was the mushrooms....even Jesus knew they were "magic"!
And Jesus said: "Hey, look guys...I have a halo over my head!"
Guys: "Heeeyyyy!'re've just gotta be the savior, dude!"

I guess I have been reading too much of John Allegro..The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross...although it has been many years since I read that one.

marilynb's picture
marilynb 10 years 42 weeks ago

200 square meter potager

I began preparing for food shortages and high prices in 2009 when I turned 200 sq meters of clay soil into an organic garden. Because I live in the south of France, and I have a well, I can garden year 'round. I rarely buy vegetables from the supermarket, just some fruit now and then. The fig, cherry, and apricot trees I planted are not producing yet, but I should get a crop of olives this year. It's a lot of work, but I enjoy it and the vegetables are so fresh and delicious.

Greenthumb's picture
Greenthumb 10 years 42 weeks ago

I've been gradually expanding my already huge truck garden and will continue to do so. I sell wonderful organic produce at local farmers markets AND I donate lots of healthy veggies to our local food pantries. I teach everyone I can how to start a garden (even if it's in a small container on a balcony) because far too many of us Americans have no idea where food comes from. I pay substantial land taxes for my pristine, spring filled property to help keep our environment clean for All Americans. I hunt and I raise livestock - mainly to maintain proper forest, pasture, crop-field balance (If you have too many deer, they'll eat all emerging hardwood saplings and will attract coyotee predators, who then will eat my pets when they finish off the deer). Presently, I'm experimenting with crops under greenhouse and row covers because weather and insects are so unpredicable these days and will most likely be worse in the future.

I encourage everyone to call your Reps and tell them to address Global Climate warming/change/ disruption and Global pollution issues, which dwarf everything else on our human agenda.

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