The Progressive Farmer discusses food costs being unlikely to fall. He brings up the standard big agricultural corporations ideas about feeding the world through “modern” solutions that have been rejected by Europe and Japan as well as the American public who are largely unaware that these programs are in use already in this country. This article troubles me because it presents these solutions without listing any of the negatives of them or any organic alternatives. Simply presenting these ideas without alternatives will leave the impression that we have no choice other than starvation or acceptance of Genetically Engineered Seeds, Eating Less Meat, & “Geo-Engineering” to cause more rain to combat droughts.
I live in a rural zone that is capable of much food production, but it is not utilized even 1 %. I have read this week of an urban California family’s 1/8th acre garden producing 6000 pounds of vegetables & fruits, plus chickens & eggs & goat’s milk. These examples are only the beginning of the rich possibilities for food production for all the 6+ Billion people on the planet.
My personal observation is that the worst problem we now face is that the seed banks of diverse food crops has been dwindling because of lack of home gardening and leaving food production to agribusiness which is removing heirloom seeds from plantings and shrinking the natural variety of food seeds by failure to replant them in enough numbers to sustain them. In addition the traditional crop seeds are replaced with hybrids that revert back or lose vigor in a short period of years in many types of vegetables & fruits. Also the Genetically Engineered Seed substitutes have not been tested for safety in animals OR humans, yet they are being touted as necessary because of “food shortages”, argueing that they are able to withstand drought & adverse conditions better than heirloom seeds even though many experiments with those seeds have been disastorous as Genetically Engineered Cotton in India.
Lastly I note toward the end of below Progressive Editor’s article his accertion that there are too many people on & being born on our planet. I have a video by James Corbett on this very subject that debunks this belief.
Food Prices Progressive Farmer Editor Weighs Possibilities
Letter From the Editor
Good Luck Bringing Down Food Prices
Urban C. Lehner Vice President, Editorial
………..agrees something must be done about soaring food prices. Everyone shudders when the U.N. says food globally is 30 percent more expensive than a year ago; they know that’s a shove back down the ladder into poverty for tens of millions of the nearly middle class in poor countries. It means riots in some countries and government-shaking demonstrations in others. It means misery.
So what does everyone think we should do about it?
They’re all over the lot. “Everyone” includes carnivores and vegans, speculators and hedgers, free-market mavens and statists, fans of technology and believers in the “precautionary principle” — and their ideas are as different as alfalfa seeds and acorns. The one commonality is the unlikelihood of any of them sprouting any time soon. To see why, here’s a partial list, chosen not because I favor or oppose them, but because these are among those I hear most often:
— Impose tough position limits on ag commodities to curb the flow of investment money. This is a favorite of French politicians and some American hedgers. Most economists pooh-pooh the idea, arguing real demand rather than speculation is driving futures prices. Also opposed are the investment funds, the exchanges where commodities are traded and some regulators. That’s a lot of opposition to overcome. And however much genuine hedgers might benefit from restricting speculation, it’s unclear it would bring down food prices once the initial shock passed.
— End government support for biofuels, allowing more crops to be used for food. In a budget-cutting environment like the present, government subsidies for biofuels might indeed be trimmed. But the lobbies backing biofuels are powerful enough to block a rollback of the Renewable Fuels Standard. And as long as the government is mandating its blending, ethanol will swallow a big chunk of the corn crop.
— Re-direct foreign aid to investments in agriculture productivity and infrastructure that will boost poor countries’ ability to feed themselves. A few years ago President Obama prodded the rich countries to pledge $20 billion for this, but little of the pledged money has been forthcoming, including the American share. Chances of this Congress voting the funds? Zero. Chances of other countries contributing big time if we don’t? Slim.
— Spread the planting of genetically engineered seeds to Europe and Japan, enhancing agricultural productivity. Well, transgenic technology is to these places what Social Security is to the U.S. — the electrified “third rail” that politicians dare not touch. Without progress in swaying public opinion — and there’s been little — the best that can be expected of Europe and Japan is more imports of transgenic animal feed, and even that is far from certain. China has potential, but most of its progress so far is in cotton, a non-food crop. Watch to see if it moves forward with transgenic rice.
— Convert to vegetarianism and feed more people with fewer crops. This might work in theory — an acre could indeed feed more people if its crops were consumed directly rather than feeding them to animals for meat — but it’s hopeless in practice. People like meat and gobble it with gusto when they start making enough money to afford it. That’s the China story today and meatless Mondays in rich countries won’t do much to counteract it.
— Use “geo-engineering” to create more rain, easing drought’s ravages. The Chinese are the latest to experiment with cloud-seeding. They claim some successes but skepticism and outright opposition remain. The weather knows no boundaries; when one country tinkers with it, other countries may see unwanted changes. So China will proceed cautiously.
These are just a few ideas whose time hasn’t come and may never come. Here’s one that might have better prospects: End the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program, taking liquidity out of the market. Inflation by definition is too much money chasing too few goods, and the Fed is currently printing an extra $50 billion a month in its purchases of medium- and long-term Treasury paper. When it stops — maybe early this summer if the economy continues to show a pulse — it will take some of the froth out of the commodity markets..
.If none of these ideas draw breath, natural causes will eventually kill the ag-commodity boom. Some users will no longer be able to afford them. Or favorable weather will envelop the world. Or Chinese economic growth will slow, and with it demand for ag-commodity imports.
Lower commodity prices will translate to lower food prices in poor countries, at least temporarily. The translation will be weaker in rich countries, where more food is processed, more middlemen take cuts and the connection between commodity prices and food prices is weaker.
Rich or poor, relief will be short-lived. With population growth surging and incomes rising in developing countries, the long-term trend of food prices is up.
Everyone has his own idea what to do about this, and every idea has opponents who will keep it from bearing fruit immediately. Whatever the merits of the various ideas, though, in the long run agricultural productivity holds the key. One way or another, the world will have to harvest more food from the acres it cultivates. In their hearts, everyone knows that…………….End Excerpt.
You will notice that the above article written in a respected farm publication mentions nothing of the history of food engineering. The below series is a must to watch.
Part 10 of 10
In conclusion I wish you good health, information is shock resistant, here is a list of more than 60 different videos.