Food Crisis Links



For too long, humans have been spared, mainly by the cheapness of the fossil fuels, from the universal necessity of local adaptation.  It is ultimately an inescapable biological imperative that human land use economies should correspond as closely as possible to the ecological mosaic.  To this, we no longer have even the illusion of a second choice.  The increasing cost of energy and the vulnerability of long distance transportation in an age of violence show the importance of local food and forest communities and the reasonable extent of local economic self-sufficiency everywhere. — Wendell Berry, Slow Food Nation




The writing has been on the wall for decades, as the links on this page reveal.  Perhaps our soul searching should focus on how and why we colluded in the delusions that resulted in worldwide crisis. The context for this page is Positive Disintegration on this website.



Food Democracy Now - Food Democracy Now! is a grassroots movement initiated by farmers, writers, chefs, eaters and policy advocates who recognize the profound sense of urgency in creating a new food system that is capable of meeting the changing needs of American society as it relates to food, health, animal welfare and the environment.


Food Declaration  - A healthy food system is necessary to meet the urgent challenges of our time. Behind us stands a half-century of industrial food production, underwritten by cheap fossil fuels, abundant land and water resources, and a drive to maximize the global harvest of cheap calories. Ahead lie rising energy and food costs, a changing climate, declining water supplies, a growing population, and the paradox of widespread hunger and obesity. These realities call for a radically different approach to food and agriculture. The food system must be reorganized on a foundation of health: for our communities, for people, for animals, and for the natural world. The Declaration offers twelve principles to frame food and agriculture policy to ensure that it contributes to the health and wealth of the nation and the world.


The Oil Intensity Of Food  by Lester R. Brown  6/25/09  - The prospect of peaking oil production has direct consequences for world food security, as modern agriculture depends heavily on the use of fossil fuels. Most tractors use gasoline or diesel fuel. Irrigation pumps use diesel fuel, natural gas, or coal-fired electricity. Fertilizer production is also energy-intensive. With higher energy prices and a limited supply of fossil fuels, the modern food system that evolved when oil was cheap will not survive as it is now structured.


As Population Grows We Fail To Protect Our Children  by John James  11/19/08
  - Two trends are crashing against one another. Both are well-known. They are that world population is getting larger while food and water is getting less.  The cause of the first is out-of-control fertility producing a flood of babies. The second is rampant consumption that makes the pollution that causes warming, which is reducing the earth's capacity to grow more food.


Seafood: Expanding Marine Protected Areas To Restore Fisheries  by Lester R. Brown  11/13/08  - As population grows and as modern food marketing systems give more people access to these products, seafood consumption is growing. Indeed, the human appetite for seafood is outgrowing the sustainable yield of oceanic fisheries. Today 75 percent of fisheries are being fished at or beyond their sustainable capacity. As a result, many are in decline and some have collapsed.


Dear Mr. Next President -- Food, Food, Food  by Michael Pollan  10/14/08  - We must move into the post-oil era to improve the health of the American people and to mitigate climate change.


Grain piles up in ports: Canada next in inability to finance shipments  by John Greenwood 10/08/08  - The credit crisis is spilling over into the grain industry as international buyers find themselves unable to come up with payment, forcing sellers to shoulder often substantial losses.


Scientists Behind 'Doomsday Seed Vault' Ready The World's Crops For Climate Change  9/19/08  - As climate change is credited as one of the main drivers behind soaring food prices, the Global Crop Diversity Trust is undertaking a major effort to search crop collections for the traits that could arm agriculture against the impact of future changes.


The New Facts of Life: Connecting the Dots on Food, Health, and the Environment  by Fritjof Capra  Summer 2008  - A discussion of the interrelations between food, health, and the environment is extremely topical today. Rising food prices together with the price of oil and a series of so-called "natural" catastrophes dominate the news every day.  All these problems, ultimately, must be seen as just different facets of one single crisis, which is largely a crisis of perception. It derives from the fact that most people in our society, and especially our political and corporate leaders, subscribe to the concepts of an outdated worldview, a perception of reality inadequate for dealing with our overpopulated, globally interconnected world.


Taking Back Our Food  by Miguel A. Altieri  - Communities surrounded by populous small farms experience less social problems and have healthier economies than do communities surrounded by depopulated large, monoculture, mechanized farms. Thus it should be obvious to city dwellers that eating is both an ecological and political act; that buying food at local farmers markets will support the type of beyond-peak oil agriculture that is urgently needed; and that buying food in supermarkets perpetuates an unsustainable agricultural path.


Africa’s food crisis the handiwork of IMF, World Bank  by Walden Bello  8/18/08  - Despite being a net food exporter at independence, Africa now imports 25 per cent of her food from donors. Agriculture is in deep crisis, and the causes are many, including civil wars and the spread of HIV-Aids. However, a very important part of the explanation was the phasing out of government controls and support mechanisms under the structural adjustment programmes to which most African countries were subjected as the price for getting IMF and World Bank assistance to service their external debt.


Eaten Up  by Ed Pilkington  7/29/08 - Much of the broad argument in Stuffed and Starved will be familiar to those who have followed the debate on globalisation - how the liberalisation of trade has created a vast global market for heavily subsidised American and European agricultural products at the expense of local growers in the developing world; how relentless pressure to drive down food prices over 30 years has seen rich ecosystems replaced by monocultures that rely on oil-powered machines, chemical fertilisers and pesticides to drive up yields; and how international corporations and supermarkets that control the flow of technologies and of food itself have been the beneficiaries. It is a portrait of the agro-economics of the madhouse.


Civilization's golden era is teetering on collapse:  New millennium has brought a turning point in history, yet we ignore meltdown by Hans Tammemagi  6/28/08 - The world's food situation is deadly grim, and it can only get worse, since we are adding 70 million more people to the planet every year.  As though the oil and food crises weren't enough, we're also staring down the throat of global warming, the most insidious threat ever faced by humans. Yet our efforts to curb carbon emissions are laughable and pathetic.


Seeds of change: cabbages and carrots could replace flowers in royal parks  by Sam Jones  6/30/08  - Vegetable seed sales outstripped flower seeds sales for the first time.  Economics play a big part in Britains’ budding taste for horticulture.  Rising oil, gas and food prices have all conspired to make urban agriculture a very topical issue.


You Will Not Be Able to Get Food: a Report on Trends  by Jan Lundberg  6/20/08  Culture Change Letter #189 - The empire of cheap food is crumbling. It is time to consider that the stage has been set for petroleum-induced famine.


Food, Water And Fuel: Three Fundamental Necessities Of Life In Jeopardy  by Michel Chossudovsky  6/6/08  (24 p)  - We are dealing with a complex and centralized constellation of economic power in which the instruments of market manipulation have a direct bearing on the lives of millions of people.  The prices of food, water, fuel are determined at the global level, beyond the reach of national government policy. The price hikes of these three essential commodities constitute an instrument of "economic warfare", carried out through the "free market" on the futures and options exchanges. These hikes in the prices of food, water and fuel are contributing in a very real sense to "eliminating the poor" through "starvation deaths".  With charts/graphs.


Falling Water Tables, Falling Harvests  by Lester R. Brown 6/4/08  - Scores of countries are overpumping aquifers as they struggle to satisfy their growing water needs. The drilling of millions of irrigation wells has pushed water withdrawals beyond recharge rates, in effect leading to groundwater mining. The failure of governments to limit pumping to the sustainable yield of aquifers means that water tables are now falling in countries that contain more than half the world‚s people, including the big three grain producers--China, India, and the United States.


The Looming Food Crisis  by Peter Russell  6/08  - More and more people will not be able to afford to eat, or not afford much else. Instead of rising out of poverty they will sink back in. Increasingly, the problem will be seen as economic; the food is there, it just costs too much. The laissez-faire free market ideology that lies beneath rising food prices will have to be overridden.


Peak Food And Peak Water  by Shepherd Bliss  5/29/08  - Peak Oil theorists such as Richard Heinberg, James Howard Kunstler, Matthew Simmons, and others turn out to be correct. The pace quickens. The signs are more numerous. We need even more than food security; we need food sovereignty. Who controls your food? Growing at least part of one's own food--and having something to trade--will be essential to survival.


Global Famine  by Michel Chossudovsky  5/2/08  - Humanity is undergoing in the post-Cold War era an economic and social crisis of unprecedented scale leading to the rapid impoverishment of large sectors of the world population. National economies are collapsing, unemployment is rampant. Local level famines have erupted in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and parts of Latin America. This "globalization of poverty" was initiated in the Third World coinciding with the debt crisis of the early 1980s and the imposition of the IMF's deadly economic reforms.


Food crisis - capitalism to blame  5/08


From the Pump to the Plate: Rethinking & relocalizing our food and fuel systems  by Julian Darley  5/1/08


Food Crisis And The Failure Of  The Capitalist Model by Ian Angus  4/29/08


An Alternative Agriculture is Possible: The Politics of Food is Politics by De Clarke and Stan Goff  4/24/08  (19 p) - The fossil/extractive industries and the money economy have built fences all around the food supply, from production to consumption. We play their game or we don't eat. Now their game is coming apart at the seams.


World Facing Huge New Challenge On Food Front:  Business-as-Usual Not a Viable Option  by Lester R. Brown  4/16/08  - The challenge is not simply to deal with a temporary rise in grain prices, as in the past, but rather to quickly alter those trends whose cumulative effects collectively threaten the food security that is a hallmark of civilization. If food security cannot be restored quickly, social unrest and political instability will spread and the number of failing states will likely increase dramatically, threatening the very stability of civilization itself.


Food Price Inflation Changes How We Shop  3/31/08  - Steadily rising food costs aren't just causing grocery shoppers to do a double-take at the checkout line - they're also changing the very ways we feed our families. The worst case of food inflation in nearly 20 years has more Americans giving up restaurant meals to eat at home. We're buying fewer luxury food items, eating more leftovers and buying more store brands instead of name-brand items.


Seeds of destruction  by Stephen Hume 3/19/08  - The concentration of more and more of the world's crop seeds in fewer and fewer hands is a threat to global agriculture and everyone's food supply. So it's fascinating to observe how we appear to be collectively sleepwalking toward precisely such a potential catastrophe with that most strategic of all things, a sustainable, secure, equitably distributed global food supply.





Scientists Warn That A Food Crisis Will Take Hold Before Climate Change  3/8/08  - from Guardian UK


Warning To The World: Fatal Famine Warning from Survival Acres  3/3/08  It is my opinion that the “trigger events” leading up to global food shortages have now occurred. It is also my opinion that this situation is far more extreme than most people can rightly imagine. I say “rightly” because there is nothing in their experience that would tell them otherwise. In short, based on all of the information I have attempted to assimilate, we are facing famine in many parts of the world and food shortages and unbelievably high prices in America.


Financial Times: The next crisis will be over food  by Gillian Tett 2/14/08


"Doomsday Seed Vault" in the Arctic  by F. William Engdahl  12/4/07  - Bill Gates, Rockefeller and the GMO giants know something we don’t.


Threats of Peak Oil to the Global Food Supply  by Richard Heinberg  6/05  - Food is energy. And it takes energy to get food. These two facts, taken together, have always established the biological limits to the human population and always will.


Where Agriculture Meets Empire  by Robert Jensen  7/1/03  - Agriculture isn't the only system we live with that is unsustainable -- empire and capitalism also come to mind. How are these systems connected to each other? How long can such systems continue before they give way to something new? Can they be replaced before they take the planet down with them? Who and what will suffer in the meantime? And, what can movements do to change all this? Wes Jackson has some provocative ideas about -- though he'd be the first to admit, no definitive answers to -- these questions.


Food Clock





Food Inc.You’ll never look at dinner the same way.


Hijacked Future  - Canadian documentary examines the increasingly fragile base of the North American industrial food system in order to bring consumers to a better understanding of what’s at stake with our daily bread.  It asks us to question the wisdom of a system precariously based on oil and corporate seeds while we’re witnessing the impact of climate change.


HOMEGROWNA documentary that follows the Dervaes family who run a small organic farm in the heart of urban Pasadena, California. While “living off the grid”, they harvest over 6,000 pounds of produce on less than a quarter of an acre, make their own bio diesel, power their computers with the help of solar panels, and maintain a website that gets 4,000 hits a day. The film is an intimate human portrait of what it’s like to live like “Little House on the Prairie” in the 21st Century.


The Real Dirt On Farmer John - Noticing the ongoing multinational takeover of American farming and betting instead on the future of organic produce, Peterson turned his enterprise into an organic operation, naming the farm Angelic Organics. He was soon invited to become a community supported agriculture (CSA) farmer: “I realized that my whole life had been about community—enabling people, bringing them to the farm, working and playing together, sharing the farm experience.” The story of Angelic Organics’ success as a CSA farm over the last 15 years is the final delight of THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN. A multi-faceted enterprise, the farm now provides fresh organic produce for 1,200 shareholder families, on-site educational programs, employment opportunities for people who truly want to get back to the earth—including Farmer John.  2006  83 min.





Bread Line




© 2009 Suzanne Duarte