The United States, particularly the Midwest, is thought of as the breadbasket of the world. We export a lot of our crops to other countries and often donate food in countries that are in crisis. That may be about to change.
Why Should We be Concerned?
Most drought stories are centered on the Third World. Droughts, famines and wars cause a large number of people to go hungry. We see pictures of emaciated children with flies all over their faces and think “that will never happen here.”
Food riots are also something that happens “elsewhere.” When people are hungry and desperate, they may do anything to get their hands on food. Could it happen here? That is a possibility.
What Should We Do?
Plan ahead. Stock up. Don’t go overboard, but have a store of basic food supplies on hand. Flour, corn meal, masa harina and other types of ground grain are a good idea. Make sure grains are stored either in an airtight canister or in the fridge/freezer. Otherwise, you may get a surprise when you go to use it.
Don’t Waste Food
This is harder to do when there are only one or two people, but it can be done. If you can’t eat a whole loaf of bread before it goes bad, freeze half. If you make more dinner than you can eat, put it in a freezer box, date/label it and stick it in the freezer.
Save the bones from any meat you prepare. If you can’t use them immediately…you guessed it…freeze them. These make fine stock and can help stretch soup if needed.
Learn Basic Cooking Skills
Dinner on the go seems to be more and more the thing. It’s faster to open cans and bags, heat the food and serve it. However, when a loaf of bread costs $7 making bread is a lot cheaper. If you don’t think a $7 loaf is likely, look around your supermarket. In Southern California, bread is already nearly $5.
Learn how to make stock, soups and stews. If you have access to appropriate equipment, learn how to make pasta. There are some great beginner recipes for almost everything on-line.
Grow Your Own
While growing grain is impractical for most of us, other foods are not. Tomatoes can grow in hanging baskets, as can other crops. Smaller items, like leaf lettuce, can grow in plant boxes on a patio. In fact, unless it requires pollination, many items can be grown indoors. Most herbs fit that category, as do onions and lettuce.
Are we going to face food shortages in the U.S.? Perhaps not, but the prices may grow so steep people may not be able to buy it. It pays off to be prepared.