In an article found in the Wall Street Journal yesterday (7-8-08)
the two below paragraphs literally jumped out at me:
The new famine is not about a crisis in global supply. Markets are full of food that developing-nation consumers cannot afford to buy. Prices for rice, corn, wheat and soy beans, the staple crops for world sustenance, have doubled in a single year.
This pinches families in developed countries who allocate 15% of their income to food. In poor countries, where many spend 75% of their earnings to eat, real wages have been cut by a life-changing one-third. A decade of progress in reducing poverty is being erased.
Speaking only of American Markets and what I know of them in the USA, there is no ‘shortage’ or ‘crisis’ of what many people may call ‘food’. But that does depend on what you call ‘food’.
Most of the world calls the staples mentioned in the article, food. The items that line many a Western super market shelf have so processed and minimized those staples with additives and chemicals that there is very little of the actual nutritious ‘staple’ inside the ‘food’ they have made so convenient for us to consume.
The crisis is looming on two fronts. First the real threat to the REAL food supply. The shortage for the less affluent countries (with populations that spend most of their month’s income on REAL food to get by) is a VERY real crisis. Second, the crisis that so many in the ‘more affluent’ countries are duped into believing (that we are buying for convenience is ‘food’) not only harms our own health but also lulls us into ignoring the shortage of real foods and real countries with real people in actual crisis.
In today’s global market, just because it isn’t in our back yard, doesn’t mean it won’t be affecting us. We need to look at where the crisis is and see the longer reaching effects of our own choices.