Archive for the ‘cost of food’ Tag

How Does Radiation Get Into Food and Water?

Image source: Mike Morpeth

God bless the people of the country of Japan, as they continue to cope with the aftermath of the deadly earthquake and tsunami that struck them earlier this month.

Immediately, Japan’s residents began to face a food shortage and near-empty grocery store shelves, as depicted here in the above photo from Digital Journal, and the below one from CNN.com. With nearly no gasoline available, food simply could not be transported to stores. Thirst and hunger have been common problems since March 11.

Image credit: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images

Now, when Japan is already facing food shortages, they are facing yet another problem with their food supply. Eleven different types of produce, along with milk, and city tap water, have all tested positive for radiation. Some samples of spinach tested contained as much as 27 times the legal amount of radiation.
 
So the next logical question here is, how did this radiation get into the food, water, and milk? Because of the very nature of the word “radiation,” and the fact that it is invisible, it is easy to imagine it traveling through the air in waves, as from a microwave, through walls and buildings. But this is not the case. What actually happens is that radioactive particles(of which there are 4 main types) bind to particles of dust in the air, and can travel for a distance through the air before settling to the ground. This means that radioactive particles, such as such as cesium-137 and iodine-131, that escaped from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant traveled through the air, then settled on surrounding crop fields. Crops with a large surface area above the earth, such as spinach leaves, make them more likely to accumulate dangerous levels of radiation. And it does not get into milk by way of the actual milk carton or even the milk processing plant. It gets into milk because radiation settles on the grass, then the cows eat the grass.
 
Experts say that little is known about the long-term effects of consuming radiation on food and in water. Many sources say that the amount of radiation that people could intake from eating produce from the Fukushima prefecture, and others that surround the nuclear power plant, is not likely to cause health problems. However, understandably, many people are frightened, and avoiding purchasing the items in question, such as spinach and milk.
 
This is, in my opinion, yet another example of when and why a survival food source is an absolute necessity. Under normal circumstances, rice is a cheap and reliable commodity. However, today rice may become scarce in Japan, as radiation continues to be a threat, and the Fukushima prefecture accounts for 4.5% of Japan’s total rice crop.
 
Store rice, beans, honey, water and other staples when you can. Keep them in a safe place, and store them for longevity, according to the basics outlined here in my How to Correctly Store Your Food blog. This simple and inexpensive act can save your life when the seemingly reliable grocery store shelves are empty, and food that is on the shelves may be poisoned. If you haven’t already started your store of survival food, start it today.
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Winter Is Upon Us

 

With the first official day of winter quickly creeping up on us, I am reminded of the conditions that arrived with winter just one year ago. Remember seeing lots of newspaper titles such as Florida Freeze To Push Up Produce Prices, Florida Freeze Cuts Produce Supply, Sends Prices Higher and Bad Weather Causes Wholesale Prices… To Shoot Up?

On February 14, 2010, a total of 49 states in the United States received some measure of snow. The only one that did not is Hawaii. It seems crazy, but it did happen. And of course, many areas of the country that grow winter crops such as lettuce, tomatoes, citrus, and berries were entirely unprepared for this.

If you don’t remember the news about the terrible weather last year, perhaps you remember the strain on your wallet that was caused by high fruit and vegetable costs. Or the fact that restaurants all over the country found themselves rearranging their menus to exclude tomatoes, one of the most effected crops, from their menus. This is just one example of how vulnerable food and food prices are to inclement weather. Sure, it doesn’t snow that often in Florida. But as we learned last year, that doesn’t mean that it won’t.

This month, we’ve already seen a major cold snap all across the country. Here in Norfolk, we’ve been fortunate. The average temperatures lately have been highs in the 30s and 40s, and lows in the 20s- nothing extreme. But interestingly, many areas south of us, such as North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida, have all experienced unusually cold weather lately. And yes, you are bound to see this reflected in your food prices.

Other areas of the country, such as Cleveland Ohio, have already received inches of snow. Some people were stranded in the cars on the highway for hours when a whiteout occurred. This is a powerful reminder that we are very vulnerable to weather. There is quite literally nothing we can do to stop or change a snowstorm when it is headed our way.

So what is the point that I am trying to make here? The point is preparation, of course. If the entire tomato crop of Florida is ruined again this year, and you have a stock of home grown canned tomatoes in your basement, then clearly this will not affect you. If you experience a terrible blizzard that leaves you and your family housebound for 4 days, don’t you want to have a fully stocked pantry of fresh, healthy foods? A survival food supply is crucial at any time of the year. This is simply a seasonal reminder that we, as humble human beings on this earth, are very vulnerable. The best thing we can do to protect ourselves is to be prepared.

Food Crisis By 2050 Is Not A “Maybe”

Utter the words “food crisis” today and many people think that you are simply referring to the plot of the latest Hollywood disaster flick. But the world’s leading scientists agree that if we were to continue with our current food production methods for the next 40 years we would (a) not even come close to feeding the world’s population, and (b) destroy the earth by stripping it of all of its natural resources. And obviously with no more earth, there would be no more us. We’re not talking about 200 years in the future. We’re talking about seeing this happen within our lifetimes.

This recent article from The Guardian  does a good job of breaking the problem down into numbers:

  • By the year 2050, 9 billion people are expected to be alive on earth.
  • Even with new technology, such as genetic modification and nanotechnology, hundreds of millions of people could still realistically go hungry.
  • To attempt to feed the population of the world, global food supplies must increase 70% in the next 40 years.
  • A population of 9 billion would also require twice as much water as we currently use.
  • This would mean an 18% decrease in the water that is available to the agriculture industry for crops.
  • Today, up to 70% of energy needed to grow and supply food is fossil fuel based. This fuel is expensive, in limited supply, nonrewable, and currently contributing to climate change.

Because of these drastic numbers, scientists are considering “novel” ways to increase food production.  One of these methods is growing artificial meat in vats. Yes, you read that correctly. It said growing artificial meat in vats.

So, in theory, would I consume fake meat that had been farmed in a huge vat? Well, yes, I suppose so. It’s just cultured meat, basically, grown from cells that are taken from an animal fetus. If you eat meat in the first place, well, this isn’t really so terribly different. However, here’s what I’d like to know:

  • Will we know the possible “side effects” of eating this cultured meat? Smoking was once thought to be healthy, too, you know.
  • Where will the artificial meat come from, and how will it reach consumers? Will it be marketed by several companies, such as today’s soy products, or will one company have a patent? Worse yet, will the government produce it?
  • Just how much will this fake meat cost?
  • Will the fake meat be called Soilent Green? (Okay, that’s just a joke. But you can see the comparison, right?)

So in theory, I would consume fake meat. In practice, I would not like to. Today, 1 in 7 people in the world do not receive enough protein in their diets. Hence the push towards farmed meat. However, no one needs to eat meat to get protein. You can receive more than enough protein by including beans, nuts, and legumes in your diet. With my homegrown Jacob’s Cattle Beans, as well as quinoa, soy, and lentils in my diet, I’m pretty sure that I would be just fine without meat, real or farmed. You can grow all the protein you need in your very own backyard.

Each time I read about the inevitable food crisis I renew my faith to spread the word about the Survival Seed Bank, crisis gardening, and prepping. It is the very best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family. Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to the global food shortage. Be proactive and be prepared.

Preparing for Life Without Oil

AP photo from Yahoo! News

By now, we’ve all seen the images from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The photographic proof of damage to the water and wildlife, such as this picture above of a barely recognizable bird on the coast of Louisiana, are truly gut wrenching. The most recent news from dailycamera.com states that within the next few months, the oil slick could reach the Atlantic, and the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. 

Yet despite all of the heartbreaking photos of the unspeakable damage, you may be left thinking that the problem of the Gulf oil spill is one that is distant from you, and does not affect you directly. Unless you live in the south, you may feel far removed from this terrible made-made disaster and its repercussions. Even though these images are horrible, they don’t affect you directly, right? Wrong. Very wrong indeed. 

 

Regardless of where you live in the United States, even if you live hundreds of miles away from the Gulf coast, you are being affected by the oil spill. This disaster, which happened over a month ago and is still going strong, is proof of what many have already known for a long time: we are using (and losing) oil more quickly than our planet can replenish it. Quite simply, we are stripping the Earth of its supply. We hit our peak oil supply in 2008, and since then there has been nowhere to go but down. Quite simply, our need for energy supplies keeps growing higher and higher, and we do not have the ability to meet this need. 

So what happens when our oil is simply gone? As this article in the New York Times points out, it may mean food shortages, a collapse of the economy, and a breakdown of civil order. If you poo-poo the idea of “Peak Oil,” I would caution you to take a closer look at what it means first. You don’t have to be a survivalist like me to see that there is proof of it all around us.  Two members of Congress, one a Democrat and one a Republican, even formed the Congressional Peak Oil Caucus.

I know that over the past year or so, we’ve all been perched on the edge of our seats, waiting for the economy to make an astounding and triumphant comeback after its pitiful decline. But unfortunately this is not what’s on the way. Because of peak oil, instead what we’re in for is an economic decline that will include high(er) energy prices, and food shortages when lack of fuel causes food and supplies to not reach grocery stores. Common products such as plastics and petrochemicals will become much more expensive. Imagine how scarce good will be come when EVERYTHING that is transported to stores by diesel fuel or gasoline simply cannot be transported. 

 

Did you take a look at the previous link to the New York Times article? If not, do it now. It offers some valuable suggestions for how we can all be nest prepared for an energy crisis. Here are some suggestions of my own: 

  • Stock basic supplies and necessities.
  • If you have not already, plant your Survival Seed Bank now. A crisis garden is totally self sustaining and the best way to insure that you have a reliable food source.
  • Consider converting your stocks and investments into physical assets, such as gold and silver.
  • If you feel lost or overwhelmed, seek outside assistance, such courses through Post Peak Living.
  • Reduce your dependence on modern medicines. Instead, begin learning how to use natural remedies and cures. I would highly recommend planting a Survival Herb Bank. You can grow your own natural treatments for everything from diabetes to headaches.
  • Assemble an emergency preparedness kit, with items such as pocket knives, multi-tools, folding shovels, hatchets, saw blades, mess kits, compasses, an emergency water filter system, and LED flashlights.
  • Read up on how to live a self-sufficient lifestyle. Click here to see Enomni Massage Clinic’s suggestions for survivalist reading.

Food Crisis in 2010 is Undeniable

 

I came across this article today, and frankly, I am surprised that it has taken me a whole 4 months since its publication to share it with others: 2010 Food Crisis Means Financial Armageddon.

Follow the link above. Go one, read the article. And as you do, I will resist the extreme urge to say, “I told you so.”

You see, this article does a great job of pointing out what is overwhelmingly true: a food crisis in the very near future is UNDENIABLE. We’re not talking about something that could happen, just maybe, if conditions worsen. The fact of the matter is that conditions HAVE worsened and the time when you will need a sustainable means of feeding yourself and your family is here. It is now.

Here is one point that I think Mr. deCarbonnel does an exceptionally good job of explaining in his article:

  1. The USDA is concerned with how supply and demand looks on paper. Therefore, they price crops lower than what they should be, based on demand.
  2. Crop staples such as wheat, corn, and soybeans are harvested only once or twice a year. A desperate need for food does not allow them to be harvested more frequently. Food must be priced correctly to prevent overconsumption, and to in turn allow each crop to last until the next harvest.
  3. Because the USDA does not appropriately price these crop staples and others, we buy large amounts of crops for a low price. When we need to buy more before the next crop is harvested, what happens? There is nothing to buy. Incorrectly priced agricultural commodities leads to overconsumption and a depletion of commodities. 

Now, put this information together with the fact that nationwide bad weather coupled with global natural disasters have literally ruined crops all over the world. Stocked grocery store shelves aren’t really looking like such a sure bet, are they? I am sure Mr. deCarbonnel would agree, if you’re going to bet on anything, bet that you need to begin relying on your own sustainable food source.

Once you’ve read this whole article, I would imagine you may start to feel a little bit panicked. Don’t panic! But DO call yourself to action. Think above and beyond our society’s warped underestimate of risk. Be proactive, be prepared, and don’t delay.

How the Earthquake in Chile Affects our Food Supply

AP Photo/ Fernando Vergara

If you shop in grocery stores or eat out in restaurants, then you will be directly affected by the recent 8.8 scale earthquake in Chile.

How so? Well, there is a pretty decent amount of goods that America imports from Chile. In fact, in the year 2006, Chile exported about $9.6 billion dollars worth of goods to the United States. Yes, that is $9.6 BILLION. The United States is Chile’s biggest export market.

The major export from Chile is actually copper. This accounted for a good $4.1 billion of the exports in 2006. The second biggest export from Chile to the United States in 2006 was fruit and prepared fruit products, such as frozen juice concentrate. Our grocery stores also get a large amount of their wine, seafood, blueberries, grapes, apples, pears, plums and other stone fruits from Chile.

So then what does all of this mean to you, the consumer? Well, you may not be able to find these exports in American grocery stores and restaurants. Or, you may be able to find them, but it will be at a very high cost to you.

You’ll notice that in many news articles, such as this recent one from Daily Finance, that the Chilean Exporters Association is urging American consumers “not to panic.” This is where I choose to disagree. I say, maybe this IS the time to panic.

Let this be an eye opener. If the food supply in America has been changed by a natural disaster that occured about 300,000 miles away, maybe it is time for us to take a hint and realize that our society is entirely too reliant on imported foods. These suppliers are not infallible. We all need to take measures to be more self reliant. Our grocery store shelves are obviously not going to remain indefinitely stocked. The only way you can truly have a reliable food source is to not rely on grocery stores.