Foodnstuff Blog just published the following article, asking the question: Is This What Collapse Looks Like? based on a report that millions of farm animals globally are to be mass slaughtered because feed for them is now too expensive due to summer droughts.
Well, Foodnstuff, it is another step onto a downward rung on the ladder of global economic and societal descent that we should collectively already be treading, oh so carefully . We collectively are not doing that of course, putting ourselves in grave danger of system collapse. Collapse will actually come when we run out of rungs during that descent but have not yet reached the stable ground at the bottom of the ladder or when the remaining rungs are too fragile to hold the weight (if that is not too obscure an analogy). [Added after initial publication: I am not sure if anyone really knows just how many good rungs are still left on the ladder of descent for us to safely tread on. In other words, collapse could happen any time.]
I read a comment about where is the ethical care for the animals. While it is a sad situation for the animals, very sad, the question of ethical care doesn’t really come into it except for the question as to why the animals are there in the first place. They are destined for the chop whether now or at whatever the normal time for their despatch would be. The big question is what effect this will have on food prices and availability in the near future. [Added after initial publication: Looking on the bright side, at least there will be a reduction of new CO2 to the atmosphere with less animal farting and belching going on, releasing methane which breaks down to considerably more CO2 than the original volume of methane. The largest source of methane in the US is said to be cattle. Note – this year’s northern summer season drought is not likely to be a one-off event. Get used to high meat prices folks! Time to become vegetarian? Or perhaps grow your own, if you really can’t give it up?]
For my own situation, I think it will not make much difference what happens to the normal food chain. As far as possible, I avoid ‘normal’ food, for health reasons ie. I value my health. I gave up eating animal, fish and bird carcases almost ten years ago and I am endeavouring to phase out all of my now quite infrequent visits to supermarkets.
I long ago took the free advice, that people should increase their chance of surviving unexpected future events by keeping on hand at least a number of weeks essential food supply items. Some sources suggest preferably three, six or even up to twelve months reserve supplies. This advice came to the fore back in the days of the Avian Flu Pandemic scare a few years ago now, but while the threat of unexpected events has not diminished since that time, the web references have disappeared or in the case of the Medical Journal of Australia who published the Food Lifeboat, have been restricted to members only status. This document was produced by scientists at the Universtiy of Sydney. Fortunately, I took a copy of the document for personal use at the time when it was freely available and am happy to include The Food Lifeboat here now. While this is a scientifically based balanced nutrition emergency diet, I do not of course endorse the content but present it as an example of the sort of thing that all should start to consider putting together for their own personal needs. I am sure that many other source guides are readily available for anyone interested. It is fairly clear that this will become increasingly important as time goes by.
While most of my food comes from my garden, local farm gate shops or my favourite eco-store, I also eat from my own emergency stores in order to keep them turning over for replenishment. I almost never eat out and I tend to bake rather than buy, where possible.
When I first heard of the northern summer droughts affecting grain supplies this year, I decided that to ensure some personal resilience I would store up some wheat. I had previously been buying 12.5kg bags of bio-dynamic flour for baking, but living by myself as I do, this resulted in long usage times and possibly stale flour by the time I got to the end of a stored quantity. Un-milled wheat grain has much longer storage time than flour when stored in food grade plastic containers (see photo) and takes about one third less storage space. I acquired a hand cranked grain-mill to get fresh flour on demand but have not yet started to use it as I am finishing my last stored flour first.