Imported food supply leaves nation vulnerable
11/30/2007 Capital Press Editorial
something happened tomorrow to the nation's food supply, would
you be prepared?
A professor of horticulture and peach breeder at Michigan
State University told fruit producers in Nampa, Idaho Nov. 20
that 46 percent of U.S. citizens have less than three days'
worth of food on hand in their homes.
This leaves the nation vulnerable.
"If the nation became hungry, even in isolated portions of it,
here is what could happen, providing lots of drama for
Hollywood," Paul Friday said.
"The total lawlessness of the Old West would again become a
reality. There would be fist-fighting for the last box of
cornflakes in supermarket aisles, breaking into aquariums at
night to spear fish, and killing pets or zoo animals for food.
"All of these horrible temporary sources of food would last
only hours. How about the old golden goose story: Someone
kills the cow and now you have no milk or cheese," he said.
While this scenario of spearing fish and fighting for food
might seem unbelievable, if not comical, perhaps this isn't as
far-fetched as it seems.
Gone are the days when a large number of people dutifully
canned large amounts of fruit and vegetables, had root cellars
to store potatoes for the winter, or butchered animals to
freeze large quantities for later consumption.
Too often we rely on large supermarkets because of large
quantities and choices of food, cheaper prices, convenience
and year-around availability.
Local food producers simply cannot satisfy our growing
Unfortunately, we also do have examples of what happens when
food supplies are affected by tragedies: Think of New Orleans
after Hurricane Katrina where people fought each other for
that last morsel of available food to survive.
Friday told people that as we import more food than we export,
we need to think about how vulnerable we are.
"This leaves us at the mercy of other nations, who might
decide to starve us and see if we'll negotiate. There's all
kinds of public support for domestic oil production. How about
Good point. Friday said Congress has not responded to his
warnings, but perhaps it's time for the public to elevate this
debate to a new level.