Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Basic food

China, Yunnan Rice fields by Yann Layma
China, Yunnan Rice fields

As a business we see the prices rise every week from a variety of suppliers from eggs, bread, cakes and basic staples. Tea has gone up, milk will be going up this week. With the government slashing the 10% tax rate for low income families and the costs of basic food, shelter and warmth increasing, we are going to find ourselves out of the comfort zone. The credit crunch may mean for many that paying debts and mortgages will become more difficult.

If we have reached peak oil and there is a rush to grow biofuels in countries that otherwise would have contributed to the basic food production for their countries and export, there is going to be a shift.

The priority here does not seem to be for food and its people but for fuel to continue an addictive process to both oil and fuels.

The big picture is beginning to look ugly and what we do next will establish the direction humans take towards a healthy planet or the alternative, strangulation of the planet's resources and our wellbeing.

I am optimistic that change can happen; yet it has to start with the individual. As a family we try to walk our talk and having made many changes I continue to introduce a more economic and basic local diet to my family. We do live in the land of plenty where everything can indeed be flown in or grown far away and transported. I am about to investigate how we as a family have grown dependent on wheat and fuel, two crops that form part of our daily diet and see if we can create some diversity with other crops.

The process of giving up oil, wheat, sugar, chocolate is no different from giving up drugs or smoking cigarettes.

I have no idea what hunger really feels like. I have no idea what it feels like to have no food in your house, to have to make mud pies. Our generation does not. I know my mother had to eat her books to keep hunger pains away during the war and the effect of lack in that generation created a need to have plenty and have it available. This then became the norm. The norm is about to change again.

Some countries will no longer export rice to enable their population to be fed. If that is the case, rice a staple diet in Asian food, will become a luxury soon. Restaurants and other businesses will begin to feel their profit margins reduce and as people give up eating out, some of these businesses will fold.

One of the skills we can show our children is how to feed themselves with local ingredients. In a generation that has food prepared as the norm, we can enable them to be reconnected with the food chain and find a way to value the process and the magic of it too.

Step 1 is to waste nothing. That in itself would reduce the amount going to landfill.

How many of us create meals from leftovers? Some mealtimes I create a buffet of leftovers as the basis. It requires creativity and it gives rise to questions.

Inginuity may have been out of fashion, but it is going to make a come back.


Mrs Green said...

A beautifully written post on a subject that is close to my heart.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts in such a profound and thought-provoking way. I really enjoyed reading your words :)

have a beautiful day, (from one who views today's 'leftovers' as tomorrow's 'ingredients' :D

Mrs Green x

Sian said...

I think one of the reasons I try not to think about peak oil and all that you have written of so well is that I find the prospect so terrifying, almost apocalyptic. Starvation, war and cataclysmic climate change.
I do what I can to recycle and stuff but it just seems such a pathetic drop in the ocean.
Sorry to be such a downer, I love reading your blog and have done for a long time. It gives me hope (and ideas) that there is an alternative and that a greener lifestyle can be achieved.