Global Food Supply: What Does It Mean To You

What's for Dinner?

It is time to go grocery shopping; you hop into the family car and head for the grocery store. The parking lot is as crowded as ever, after all, yesterday was payday.

Once inside the store, you start to sense that this shopping morning, something is different. You head for the fruit and vegetable aisle. You are out of oranges, bananas, and want to get a mango for that new recipe you downloaded last night.

You arrive and realize that there are people standing there leaning on their shopping carts or simply staring; some are exchanging strange looks with each other.

Puzzled and somewhat disconcerted you look around and then it hits you; there are no bananas, no oranges, no kiwis, and no mangoes; in fact there is little fresh fruit at all.

A slight chill starts to spread across your shoulders; it is May where is the food? Someone says: The trucks that bring the food to the store did not make it into town in time; they are still in transit.

What are you going to do? You need food and you need it now.

Depending upon where you live this scenario will play out differently; countries where the growing season is longer than 3 months will be able to provide local vegetables and fruits for longer periods.

However, are the supermarkets selling those local foods or are they being grown for export?

Where I live the oranges, mangoes and bananas, all must travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles from where they are grown to get to my kitchen. This means that considerable fuel is used to simply transport these items to a store near me. If the fruits are not grown organically, then even more fossil fuels, in the form of fertilizers, are used to grow them.

As the fruit is usually washed before it reaches me and I wash it again, the pollution from the pesticides does not harm me directly but what about the people who work in the orchards where the fruit is grown? Are they exposed to toxic substances just so I can get a banana?

But on this particular shopping day; forever after know as The Day The Trucks Failed To Arrive, it is not only the, what we call here, the exotics, but the common place vegetables that are not in the bins or on the shelves; the apples, potatoes, onions and carrots are also in short supply and shoppers are already grabbing what they can.

A fight has broken out, verbal for now, over the ownership of the last ten pound bag of potatoes. Tempers are rising and the food already scarce vanishing.

People are becoming worried; they have relied on the global transportation system to bring the food to town for many years now and they're used to getting watermelon all year long.

What do they do?

The supplies at home are very limited, the pantry (and few actually have a pantry), is bare. Some boxes of Jell-O, a few cans of vegetables are all that is left; oh there are 3 slices of bread.

The bakery aisle is also bare, some day olds are still available but a mean looking crowd is making a beeline for them so you decide to head to the canned goods; canned fruit is better than nothing.

The canned food aisle is crowded and people are shoving; worse, even if you were to aggressively pursue a few canned goods there is so little on the shelf that you have no chance of getting enough to feed the family.

You are now grabbing items off the shelves as you pass them, paying little attention to what is going into the cart; you are operating on instinct now, primal instinct; Food must get Food.

Making it out of the store is a daunting experience, people are pushing to get in and out, grocery bags are falling to the ground and small struggles are being waged over the contents.

Reaching the car; you hurriedly open the trunk and toss your precious cargo in; close the trunk and hop behind the wheel. You are heading home with something for your family to eat. A nagging though slowly fills your mind; what did I actually buy and what’s more, what will happen next time?

Global Food Crisis

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Comments 25 comments

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

Almost an apocalyptic feel there. Reminds me of Cormac McCarthy's book, _The Road_.

Too bad gas prices aren't going down any time soon. I'll miss my mangoes.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

Time to plant that garden.

I am a few miles from the central valley of California which produces a huge percentage of the fruits and vegetables for this country and the world-- but the question about the exports is interesting. When I visited New York City I saw the most beautiful California oranges I have ever seen in my life.

Yes, we are used to EVerything.. it may not be always so.

Important things to ponder.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

We have become dependent upon sources beyond our control for food and too many other items.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

True enough. When i read of the pioneers who came halfway across the American continent with minimal supplies, I am amazed at their confidence and ingenuity.

We can store up good and valuables-- but the knowlege of how to survive, and perhaps our spiritual foundatons, are our best resources.

mulder profile image

mulder 8 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

Very true Bob its sad fact of life .

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

What can we all do to prevent this from happening? I often wonder. Even rice (which is a staple food) in our country is getting to be very expensive.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

One thing we can do is promote the growing of food, locally, where we live; we can do that by buying whatw e can locally and by growing for ourselves, in community gardnes, our own yards or through other collective enterprises. We can begin reclaim control over our food where we live.

dutch84 profile image

dutch84 8 years ago

Great hub! I'm going to link to you on my page:

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

thanks for the link.

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

You are right Bob. I guess I need to really spare time to develop the vegetable garden in the school. That will help us. I faithfully promise to do that once classes have settled a bit. Now I have to revisit your hubs and read and learn about all these things.

In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California


You have done a wonderful job portraying what will happen in the event of a food crisis. I feel that some food storage in your home is an absolute necessity. It will be of great value to your family if conditions such as these arise. A garden is another wonderful suggestion. Thanks for heightening our awareness.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

A schoolgarden is a very good idea;

Thanks ITD, home food storage is a must.

Karen Ellis profile image

Karen Ellis 8 years ago from Central Oregon

Okay, I'm starting that garden. Our growing season is pretty short here in central Oregon, but I'm thinking apple trees as well.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

I have a short garden season here as well, apple trees are a great idea.

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Bob, you know sometimes it takes a jarring article like this one to shake us out of complacency and realize that we have to stop taking things for granted (like gas for $1-1.50 a gallon... not too long ago). There is so much that we can do for ourselves without relying on commerce, but we have just gotten used to it and a bit lazy. I'm with you Karen. Time to plant a garden, even if the growing season is a bit short. Heck with eColi outbreaks and pesticides, we'll all be eating healthier!

p.s. Bob - I love the new avatar!

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

The things we take for granted often turn around and bite us. Thanks.

Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 8 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

The global food crisis is just starting to ramp up- and you've given us "food" for thought (excuse the pun!) - it could be coming sooner than we think.

Great hub as always.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks Dorsi, I like puns.

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

Food Storage!! Now!! Not in a panic way, but purchasing sensibly, yet with an urgency...I find myself there now. During the last hurricane a few years ago that was coming towards Tampa, we were so busy getting our storage site in to a safe condition for the high winds, that we did not buy food until the last minute. The shelves were nearly bare, we grabbed what was there, including gatorade and other bottled drinks as there was no bottled water or ice to be found. Things disappear so rapidly....we are not the land of plenty we think we are.

scarey but good reminder Bob!!

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

if ever there was a time to be prepared, this is it.

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

Yep and in my Yes, We have no tomatoes, I refered people to your container gardening hub...we now have wonderful tomatoes from just 2 plants!! cherry's and either big boys or beefsteaks, I forget which on the large ones. They are delicious and I can't wait to get back to oklahoma and plant a real garden!! I read all your hubs to learn more. Lynn grew up on a farm, but I still think we should gather more info to really be prepared. =)

Nickel profile image

Nickel 8 years ago

Great Hub Bob, but I have one question. How does one start a garden when one lives in an apartment? Few things to consider, not much of a balcony since i live downstairs, hopefully that will change soon. Space is limited and we are not allowed to plant in the ground in front since contract lawn Co. digs around the area constantly. Please help! I was referred to you by Marisue.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

The learning curve is long but that is exciting. Stay tuned for  a hub, on very small space gardening and alterntaives.

joel_berry925 profile image

joel_berry925 8 years ago from san diego california

A really interesting hub man, I definetly agree americans eat and think later. Food and entertainment tend to be the bedrock of americans concerns. Gluttony seems to be coined with any well set societys from rome to the present state of our union. I agree that people need to start actually learning how to care and be less dependant on food just being an easy commodity at our expense. Good to see you also have linked hubs on the topic and how to's.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks, joel.

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