Archive for the ‘food cost’ Tag

20 Signs That A Horrific Global Food Crisis Is Coming

I am posting a re-post here. I would encourage you to do the same, because this information is worth spreading. I have acquired this list from M.D. Creekmore at The Survivalist Blog. Its original source is the Economic Collapse Blog.

  1. According to the World Bank, 44 million people around the globe have been pushed into extreme poverty since last June because of rising food prices. This was documented by The New York Times in February 2011.
  2.  The world is losing topsoil at an astounding rate.  In fact, according to Lester Brown in Foreign Policy, “one third of the world’s cropland is losing topsoil faster than new soil is forming through natural processes”.
  3. Due to U.S. ethanol subsidies, almost a third of all corn grown in the United States is now used for fuel.  This is putting a lot of stress on the price of corn.
  4. Due to a lack of water, some countries in the Middle East find themselves forced to almost totally rely on other nations for basic food staples.  For example, it is being projected that there will be no more wheat production in Saudi Arabia by the year 2012.
  5. Water tables all over the globe are being depleted at an alarming rate due to “overpumping”.  According to the World Bank, there are 130 million people in China and 175 million people in India that are being fed with grain with water that is being pumped out of aquifers faster than it can be replaced.  So what happens once all of that water is gone?
  6. In the United States, the systematic depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer could eventually turn “America’s Breadbasket” back into the “Dust Bowl.”
  7. Diseases such as UG99 Wheat Rust and Mad Soy Disease are wiping out increasingly large segments of the world food supply
  8. The tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis in Japan have rendered vast agricultural areas in that nation unusable.  In fact, there are many that believe that eventually a significant portion of northern Japan will be considered to be uninhabitable.  Not only that, many are now convinced that the Japanese economy, the third largest economy in the world, is likely to totally collapse as a result of all this.
  9. The price of oil may be the biggest factor on this list.  The way that we produce our food is very heavily dependent on oil.  The way that we transport our food is very heavily dependent on oil.  When you have skyrocketing oil prices, our entire food production system becomes much more expensive.  If the price of oil continues to stay high, we are going to see much higher food prices and some forms of food production will no longer make economic sense at all.
  10. At some point the world could experience a very serious fertilizer shortage.  According to scientists with the Global Phosphorus Research Initiative, the world is not going to have enough phosphorous to meet agricultural demand in just 30 to 40 years.
  11. Food inflation is already devastating many economies around the globe.  For example, India is dealing with an annual food inflation rate of 18 percent.
  12. According to the United Nations, the global price of food reached a new all-time high in February.
  13. According to the World Bank, the global price of food has risen 36% over the past 12 months.
  14. The commodity price of wheat has approximately doubled since last summer.
  15. The commodity price of corn has also about doubled since last summer.
  16. The commodity price of soybeans is up about 50% since last June.
  17. The commodity price of orange juice has doubled since 2009.
  18. There are about 3 billion people around the globe that live on the equivalent of 2 dollars a day or less and the world was already on the verge of economic disaster before this year even began.
  19. 2011 has already been one of the craziest years since World War 2.  Revolutions have swept across the Middle East, the United States has gotten involved in the civil war in Libya, Europe is on the verge of a financial meltdown and the U.S. dollar is dying.  None of this is good news for global food production.
  20. There have been persistent rumors of shortages at some of the biggest suppliers of emergency food in the United States.  The following is an excerpt from a recent “special alert” posted on Raiders News Network:

Look around you. Read the headlines. See the largest factories of food, potassium iodide, and other emergency product manufacturers literally closing their online stores and putting up signs like those on Mountain House’s Official Website and Thyrosafe’s Factory Webpage that explain, due to overwhelming demand, they are shutting down sales for the time being and hope to reopen someday.

It is true that most American believe that they will never have to go hungry. They believe that their grocery store shelves will always be stocked with affordable food and they will never have to provide for themselves. People believe this because ignorance is bliss. Please, don’t be ignorant. As always, I encourage you to be smart and be prepared.

How to Dry Fruits and Vegetables Without Sulfites

Drying produce from your crisis garden is an excellent way to preserve it. Once fruits and vegetables have been dried, they become small, compact, and easy to store and carry. Plus, within the drying process, pretty much the only thing that is sacrificed is moisture. Most of the nutrients, vitamins, and fiber content of the produce remains. So even though dried fruits may look like leather, they are still quite nutritious.

Despite my love for dried things, you will never, ever see me purchasing them in a grocery store. Why? Well, why would I bother when I have all of this wonderful, fresh produce at home that I can dry myself? Drying your own fruits and vegetables at home is really not that complicated. The very best thing about drying your own garden fresh produce is that you can do it without sulfites.

You see, pretty much any time you see conventionally dried food of any sort at the grocery store, it contains sulfites. Sulfites keep fruits and vegetables looking “fresher” and more colorful once they have been dried, and increase their shelf life. You will notice that an apricot dried with sulfites looks bright orange and relatively round and smooth, whereas an organically dried apricot is brown and looks a bit more wrinkly. The ones dried with sulfites do not taste better, they just tend to look “fresher.”

All wines contain sulfites, as they occur naturally during the fermentation process, but many types of wine also have extra sulfites that have been added as a preservative. Conventional beef jerky always contains sulfites, as do many condiments, and dried food mixes such dried potato slices that come in boxes of instant au gratin potatoes. Oftentimes sulfites are also sprayed on containers of seafood and salad bars at grocery stores in order to keep these things looking fresh, and to prevent black and brown spots from forming. You should see a sign indicating that sulfites have been added “to preserve freshness.” Whereas sulfites used to be commonly used on all types of produce, the FDA banned this practice in 1986. Now, all products with sulfites must contain a warning label stating, “this product contains sulfites.”

Sulfites are supposedly not dangerous to the majority of the population. However, approximately 1 in 100 people have a sulfite sensitivity. A sulfite sensitivity can develop at any time during life. For these individuals, sulfites can cause headaches, diarrhea,  skin rashes, and asthma attacks.  In some cases, the asthma attacks can cause severe breathing problems and be quite dangerous.

Okay, the point of all of this is that it is obviously better to dry your fruits and vegetables without a preservative, if you can. So I’ll stop my yaking and get to how I dry my produce. This is the perfect time of year to start drying, when your garden really starts to produce, and you need to start preserving lest you waste half of it. You can experiment with drying different types of fruits and veggies to see what kinds you like best. Most types of berries dry very well, including strawberries and blueberries. For fruit, I would also recommend drying pears, apples, bananas, and apricots. (You can really dry pretty much any fruit except for citrus fruits and watermelons. The latter is 92% water so you wouldn’t really have anything left.) For vegetables, you can make your own sun-dried tomatoes, and celery, onions, beans, squash, okra, and carrots all dry well.

Drying Fruits and Vegetables:

Step 1- Begin by washing and drying your fruit or vegetable of choice. Thoroughly dry and slice your produce; fruits and veggies that are cut into uniform thin slices dry best. A sharp knife and steady hand is fine for this, but you may also find a mandolin slicer or food processor useful. Make sure to discard any stems and woody or rotten portions.

Step 2 for Fruits- In place of a coat of sulfites, the fruit slices still need something that is going to help preserve them and extend their shelf life. I find what works best is a dip in ascorbic acid. This is much safer, since ascorbic acid simply comes from vitamin C. You can buy it in powdered form at grocery stores and drug stores. To use it, mix one teaspoon of the powder with 2 cups of water. Immerse your fruit slices and let them soak for 3 minutes before removing them and patting them dry with paper towels.

Step 2 for Vegetables- Drying veggies is different from drying fruits because dried fruits obtain a leathery texture, whereas dried veggies become crisp. They contain less acids than fruits, so in a dried state they become brittle instead of chewy. To prepare veggies to be dried, they need to be blanched. This stops the enzyme action that causes loss of color and flavor during storage. To blanch your vegetables, fill a large pot 2/3 full with water, and bring this to a rolling boil. Fill a colander with your veggie slices, and submerge the colander in the boiling water. Delicate veggies such as tomatoes need to only boil for about 1 minute. Give beans 2 minutes, and harder veggies like carrots 3 minutes. (The water will calm down for a moment once you submerge the colander, so start timing when it returns to a boil.) Then, remove the colander, rinse the veggies briefly with cold water, and pat them dry with paper towels. Move immediately onto the next step, as it is best to complete step #3 while the veggies are still warm to the touch.

If you would like, you can buy a conventional food dehydrator at a local kitchen supply store. I have never purchased one of these, since the tend to be bulky and I do not care for kitchen tools that serve only one purpose. So, for drying, I use my oven. That brings us to…

Step 3- Create your own drying trays by placing cake cooling racks (the ones that look like little metal grids) on top of some cookies sheets. These racks will allow for sufficient air flow, which is imperative. Next, set your oven to 140 degrees. This is likely the lowest setting your oven has. During the entire drying process, you will need to keep the door to your oven ajar, so I would not recommend doing this in a house with very small children. Prop you oven door open with a ball of aluminum foil or a wooden kitchen spoon.

Step 4- It will take between 4 and 12 hours for your fruits and vegetables to dry, depending on what you are drying and how thinly it is sliced. Check them after 4 hours. Dried fruit is done when it feels dry and leathery to the touch, but still flexible. Dried vegetables are done when they are brittle, as they they will shatter if you hit them with your hand.

Step 5 for Fruits- After being oven dried, vegetables can simply be cooled and stored in an airtight container. However, fruits must be conditioned. Remove your fruits from the trays and place them in a tight sealing jar. They will need to remain in this jar for the next 10 days. Every day, give the jar a good shake. This will help to distribute the remaining moisture in the fruit, giving it the desired texture. After those 10 days, you can remove your dried fruit from the jar to store or consume it.

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.

Bad Weather Causes Increase in Food Prices

Paul Sakuna/ AP File Photo

Okay, so it’s not just the earthquake in Chile that has affected food prices and availability lately. We all know that here in the U.S, pretty much the entire country experienced one of the worst winters on record. Here in Norfolk we usually get a few inches of snow each winter, but nothing like the storm-of-the-decade we received in January. On Valentine’s Day, 49 states received snow fall! Yes, every state except for Hawaii.

Now it’s a month later. Spring is on its way, and here in VA we’ll (hopefully) not receive any more snowfall. But the unusually cold temps have already done their damage, and it looks like you’ll be noticing it in restaurants and grocery stores.

  • This article in Cleveland Ohio Business News reports that prices of lettuce and tomatoes have skyrocketed over the last month. This is due to frozen lettuce fields in California, and heavy rains that flooded tomato fields in Florida. In this particular article, business proprietors claim not to pass increased costs along to consumers. But let’s be realistic. That can’t possibly last long.
  • This Associated Press article at Ocala.com states that you’re bound to see increased prices, as well as lessened availability of strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, sweet corn, and other produce. It’s all due to the cold snap in Florida. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services expects it to affect their citrus crop, too.
  • In this article from the Los Angeles Daily News, a West Hills produce shop owner states, “I’ve been in the business for 50 years and I’ve never seen prices go up across the board like this.”

If you rely on grocery store produce and this makes you feel a little nervous, well, it should. Hasn’t history proven to us that things will get better before they get worse?

Develop a self-sustaining and independent way to feed your family. You’ll never stop thanking yourself for it. Because the food crisis is already occurring around us- you’ve seen the proof. Don’t allow yourself to be an innocent victim of supply and demand.