Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Ant and the Grasshopper

It can be frustrating when you feel like you are the only person in the home that is concerned about frugal living and preparing for a more stable future.  It is like the ant and the grasshopper.  The ant worked diligently while the grasshopper whiled away in the sunshine.  It would have been easy and even justifiable for the ant to resent the grasshopper but knowing that winter was coming it was more important to continue the work of preparation.

A food storage program is a good place to start.  Especially with the harvest coming in and winter coming on it is the traditional time of year to set something aside for the lean times.  Most of us have come to depend on the grocery store so much that we forget about the seasons of nature and take for granted that the trucks that bring our food will just keep coming.  All it takes is a storm warning to see how quickly grocery store shelves can be emptied.

I have already been hearing that in some parts of the country severe winter warnings are being given.  I was also told that Washington state, one of the richest agricultural areas was declared a disaster this summer because of the unseasonably cold weather. Both family gardens and commercial growing operations had a smaller and later harvest. This could mean higher prices in the grocery stores this winter.  Now I admit this is the over the fence talking among friends who are passing the word along but that's enough for me.

Another disturbing trend I have been hearing about is the growth of imported food.  Sure it's nice to have some of the amazing items that our climate does not support but with the vast land we have available we should not have to pay someone else to grow an ever increasing amount of our food.  Yet the percentage of imports has more than doubled in some types of food.  What Share of U.S. Consumed Food Is Imported?  Though we may not all choose to be farmers it is an important enough subject that we should be concerned about where our food comes from.  There is the old joke about the kindergartners who think that chocolate milk comes from chocolate cows.  It is easy in our busy lives to take the food we eat for granted and not even realize the major changes that are occurring in the industry.

According to an issue of the Daily Livestock Report  "Sometimes overlooked, imported beef makes up a notable part of the US beef supply and, as such, should be considered when analyzing beef consumption trends and outlook. In 2007, the United States imported 3.048 billion pounds of beef or 10.7% of the overall beef disappearance for the year."

I am also hearing growing concern about major companies who seek to obtain a monopoly on seeds through a genetic alteration that will not reproduce making it necessary to buy from them each year.  It sounds like something straight out of George Orwell's 1984 and was highlighted in a documentary called Food, Inc.

I am not intending to write an exhaustive brief on the subject of imported food or the American agricultural industry but I hope that awareness will be raised so that next time a headline speaks of the subject our ears will perk up and that we will become more aware of many of the underlying issues of our economy that are rarely raised.  Food production is one of the most critical issues in any economy yet one that we allow the grocery stores manage on our behalf.  That's an awful lot of trust to put into a profit making business.  Choosing to not know is the essence of trusting someone else to know and act on our behalf and trusting that they are doing so in our personal and national best interest. 

In The Trenches has a chapter on beginning a food storage program.  The process is easy and painless and will save you a bundle of money.  Once you are convinced that it is a valuable habit Jodi and Julie from Food Storage Made Easy  can help with insuring you have everything needed and stored properly to maximize your efforts.

As winter approaches who will we be?  The Ant or the Grasshopper?


Invest It Wisely said...

If imported food is what customers want, then that's what the grocery stores will provide. Sometimes, it does make sense, and the cost of refrigerating goods or driving to the store often far surpasses any "food miles".

However, patents on life also greatly concern me. I see them as an illegitimate granting of monopoly privileges by the government to a favored private enterprise, and the rest of us all have to pay the monopoly prices. In the case of Monsanto, this is downright obscene.

Carol said...

Yes, that was the point I was expressing. How easy it is for us to end up with our necks in a perverbial noose without even being aware that it is happening until it's too late.

Olivia said...

I live near some of the best farmland in the nation. (Lancaster County PA). Sadly many farms have been gobbled up and "developed".

Carol said...

Once I flew from Denver to Seattle. When I saw how much undeveloped (neither farming or housing) land there was I was amazed, especially is viewing how in the city people are literally stacked upon one another. Very strange.

And, my last thought before falling asleep last night was the correct spelling of the word "proverbial". :)

Everyday Tips said...

The one thing I do like about imported food is the fact that I can get fresh produce year around. However, I tend to buy local whenever possible. I am in a Northern state so my personal growing season is limited.

Oddly enough, there is a plan in place to farm parts of Detroit. It is still a work in progress, but I love even the gardens that are popping up on vacated lots. Healthy food is so important, and many people just do not have access to it.