Sunday, May 22, 2022

Food shortages sort themselves out

Food shortages always sort themselves out. One way is that famine and disease reduce the population down to the available food. That’s what happens if you aren’t clever or massively unlucky. 

Let’s see what other options there are. Please. Seriously. Right now the most visible problem is a war between two major grain exporting countries. That’s a lot of grain off the market. Grains are the basis of civilization because they store and ship well. They also are fairly calorie dense. Without grains we have to fall back on other foods.

Meat eaters generally rely on grain fed animals, so a grain shortage affects them too. Grass fed cattle and wild game are exceptions. That’s a limited supply. During the depression just about any critter that could be shot or trapped was eaten. Game laws and enforcement didn’t help all that much. After the depression it took years for the forest critters to recover. 

Beyond grains we have issues with everything from vegetables to honey. Bad weather and/or pests take their toll. Some years are worse than others. This year has some worrying early indicators in key areas.

Then there are inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. Guess which two countries currently at war are  normally big exporters of fertilizers? Bingo! 

Most pesticides are petroleum based. Add that to the overall issues caused by oil supply problems. I could go on but lets just call this a quick overview.

There are some things in our favor. Countries food supplies aren’t just limited to their borders. Food is shipped all around the world. However, it will go to those who can pay for it. Those in better financial condition will be able to get anything they want. 

Higher prices will suddenly make more areas profitable for agriculture. As it is a lot of African farmers cannot compete with industrial agricultural giants and their economy of scale. The math changes with a general shortage. We will see food grown in places it hasn’t been grown in some time. 

We have a fairly recent example of a country that had to deal with a cut off of food and pesticides. When the Soviet Union fell Cuba was left high and dry. They were basically just growing sugar cane to ship to the USSR at above market rates. That ended. Cuba had a lean year, but they rallied. Just about every square inch that could be planted was planted. They also mobilized their education system to develop a crash program of organic farming. It worked. 

There are ways to cope with the disruptions. At the bare minimum plant anything you can as every bit adds up. Also, don’t get locked into just buying and eating the foods you always ate. Learn to make delicious meals out of what’s cheap and available. It will take some effort but nobody said keeping the horsemen of the Apocalypse at bay is easy.



  1. Famine and lack of food have plagued humans for millenia. This time it's not due to extrinsic's deliberate. Food is possibly the most potent weapon tyrants can wield. Stalin knew this and used famine to murder did Mao. The criminals now in power idolatrize both and have no qualms about starving people. Some of them would like to starve not mere millions but BILLIONS. That is the core of the problem we face.

    1. Whatever the plan may be, we don't have to be victims.