Food Supply Interruptions: The Biggest Gamble

Top image of Calbuco erupting last week: credit Roger Smith

Nowhere have I witnessed a normalcy bias so strong as when it pertains to food. It has always been available at the grocery stores and in restaurants; at least that is the view of most people alive today. And if one falls on hard times, then the government in this country (the US) will probably supply you with an Electronic Benefit Transfer allowance (food stamps) and perhaps direct you to local food banks and/or co-ops to supplement your cupboards.

We take for granted that these operations are a given, for this is the way it has always worked.....or so we believe. So much goes into ensuring that an efficient journey occurs from the factory to our dinner table. Food supply has become extremely technical and reliant on industrial computers similar to those found at www.cksglobal.net. These machines are fantastic but they can't do it on their own, as many hungry Americans already know. While I welcome more and more of my fellow Westerners becoming aware of food reality, I cringe to think it will hit them where it hurts the hardest. It is not in the wallet, but in their bellies.

Currently, the global food chains are taking enormous hits. Many of these revelations are under reported in the mainstream media, who seem to rarely dig far into themes which require out of the box thinking. These events, which are decimating parts of the world's food supply, will in my opinion continue to escalate for the foreseeable future.

There are steps we can each take to hedge against the worst, and I discuss some of them below. But first let’s look at some of the growing threats. While any one situation taken alone might be easily compensated for, when looked at in the aggregate, a stark picture begins to form.

The drought in California has intensified. Officially under a state of emergency, after four years of official drought conditions the forecast is not looking good. California provides over 90% of the USA’s tomatoes, strawberries, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, grapes and broccoli. While it is alarming to consider shortages, or much higher prices for these fresh items, consider this. While it takes about 85,000 gallons of water to grow a ton of vegetables, it takes four million gallons of water to produce a ton of beef. For more statistics and forecasts for the drought in the Western USA as it relates to food supplies, the USDA page can be found here.

There are food chain disruptions in the Pacific Ocean. Putting aside speculation for the one or many causes, such as the continued radiation leakage from Japan’s nuclear meltdown, underwater volcanoes, toxic pollutants or other anomalies, the ocean’s food chain is obviously experiencing major problems.

Pacific garbage

Beyond scientific opinions or beliefs you may have about potential causes, there is an undeniable increase in volcanic activity which relates directly to the food supply. The average number of volcano eruptions each year is about 50. Now, four months into 2015, we already have 40 erupting. Ash not only effects the amount of sunlight received, but deposits of ash and soot particles cover crops and any vegetation that humans and livestock depend upon.

Volcano HistoryThis volcanic activity chart was provided by Two Ice Floes' contributing author Morpheus. More information on volcanic eruptions can be found here on his public forum.

Recent erratic weather patterns have caused many other incidences of food production failures. Rain and hailstorms have devastated India’s wheat crops with a potential 80% loss in some areas. Farmers in Texas are facing drought conditions. The east coast has had another disastrous year for blue crabs. New England has already had its growing season shortened considerably. The 2015 winter wheat crop in Kansas has already sustained huge losses. Bird flu has raced through 60% of Midwest poultry producers. As reported by Adapt 2030, in the past months potatoes, apples and grapes in Canada have been hit hard with abnormally cold late winter weather. Delays have occurred in planting crops due to excessive rain in April affected Iowa corn crops, Missouri grains, and the 17 state cotton belt.

The precarious nature of just in time delivery doesn’t leave much wiggle room for breakdowns in production, distribution or delivery of food. From within the trucking industry itself, Americans are given the following warning: When Trucks Stop, America Will Stop. In February of 2015, partial and temporary shutdowns of west coast ports due to labor disputes sent the alternative media into high gear speculating whether widespread shortages would result.

But worries for adequate food production are not just limited to the US and Canada or unusually violent storms in India. There are big problems with China’s food supply including mass pollution, huge populations and a changing demographic. Additionally, losses in rice and grain production are not uncommon. Brazil, who grows 1/3 of the world’s coffee, is experiencing the worst drought on record. Russia, embroiled in economic sanctions complicating food supply lines, is also experiencing inflation in food prices up to 150%.

Even as average people come to the realization that circumstances are changing, many expect their government or UN agencies to step in when interruptions occur. Others are making preparations to grow and provide for many of their own food needs in the near future. Concepts such as vertical farms, creative sustainability, and aeroponics are becoming more widely known.

Some, such as Two Ice Floes’ own Urban Pepper, have set up creative and highly productive hydroponics systems at home and grow quantities of fresh produce, herbs and medicinal teas with the help of growing equipment such as LED grow light, inline fans and stealth grow box as well as others. More information can be found on Urban Pepper's forum here.

Aquaponics techniques, raising fish together with fresh greens and vegetables, is becoming more popular as people weigh the efficiency against limited resources. Once a common technique of raising food, aquaponics is being examined for use on a more wide scale basis. Other simple ways to supplement household food production such as sprouting, cultivating microgreens and self sustaining gardens could make an important difference not far down the road.

Many of us are willing to eliminate the third party risk of depending upon other parties to protect our interests. We embrace this by holding (stacking) physical precious metals outside of the bank vaults. Rather than gamble on law enforcement agencies alone to help protect us, many exercise their own right to do so with a firearm. As such, why would we bet that third parties will produce, distribute and make affordable healthy food on a timely basis when financial, geo-political and climate factors are all uncertain?

‘If you control the oil you control the country; if you control food, you control the population.’ Henry Kissinger

indoor farm

Additional Reading:

National Geographic: If You Think the Water Crisis Can't Get Worse, Wait Until the Aquifers Are Drained http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/08/140819-groundwater-california-drought-aquifers-hidden-crisis/

Food prices and the California drought http://californiawaterblog.com/2015/04/22/food-prices-and-the-california-drought/

New research reveals low-oxygen impacts on West Coast groundfish http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/news/features/low_oxygen_impacts/index.cfm

A 1,000 Mile Stretch Of The Pacific Ocean Has Heated Up Several Degrees And Scientists Don’t Know Why http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-14/1000-mile-stretch-pacific-ocean-has-heated-several-degrees-and-scientists-don%E2%80%99t-know

NIH: New Link in the Food Chain? Marine Plastic Pollution and Seafood Safety http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/123-a34/

The Year Without a Summer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer

The Failure of Modern Industrial Agriculture http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/03/15/failure-modern-industrial-agriculture

Chileans Prepare For Volcanic Ash’s Impact On Livestock; Crops http://www.usaheadlinenews.com/chileans-prepare-for-volcanic-ashs-impact-on-livestock-crops/

Nepal Earthquake’s impact on food security and agriculture likely very high http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/285171/icode/

‘Just-In-Time’ Food Supply Disaster Is Looming http://modernsurvivalblog.com/current-events-economics-politics/just-in-time-technology-food-disaster-looming/

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3 thoughts on “Food Supply Interruptions: The Biggest Gamble”

  1. Good Article Mrs. C,
    I fear those of us with more than a few years left will bare witness to mass starvations. It is an inevitable result of a food system owned and run by big-agri, big business and big government. Many will be sacrificed for the few.

    For those more awake, growing as much of your own food as possible should be a top priority. Mr. Urban Pepper works a full-time job, yet, instead of spending his spare time hooked into the “Matrix”, he learns how to grow food effectively and spends hours sharing that knowledge and experience with others. He and those like him should be commended.

    On a personal note, at the risk of ridicule, my family have been vegetarians for decades. Our 21 year old has never eaten an animal. We choose this lifestyle for numerous reasons. We believe all life is sacred (not just humans), We (as a species) have caused the deaths of millions upon millions of animals, either via environmental destruction or by what we put on the dinner plate. And, most people have no idea how so very destrution and resource intensive the production of meat is to the planet – not to mention the animals we share it with. Most people don’t want to know.

    For those that may be curious, the famous writer and speaker Chris Hedges has done some fantastic articles on the above subject matter. This one is a great starting point if I may so bold as to suggest it. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/saving_the_planet_one_meal_at_a_time_20141109

  2. Mrs Cog,

    Thanks for posting another informative article, keep them coming:-)

    High Desert, thank you for the very kind words. I want to thank you also for sharing what you’re doing. It’s all about sharing, learning and growing together.

    Mr Pepper

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