Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Must read post for Preppers

The world has plenty of food.  It has distribution problems (Stalin's famine in the Ukraine), but it seems that we currently grow enough cereal grains to feed upward of 14 Billion people (just wheat and corn would feed almost 9 Billion).  And new intensified cultivation techniques would let rice alone feed 14 Billion more (!).

Of course, people in all cultures prefer to eat meat, and so the vast majority of all of this goes into animal feed.  What's interesting about this is in scenarios of collapse - wide spread, prolonged drought, for example - there's a huge amount of resiliency in the planetary food production system.  Yes, there would be fewer cattle, pigs, and chickens, but there would still be plenty of food to go around (baring distribution breakdown, when things would get ugly).

There's a very interesting post that describes the cereal grain types, where they grow, and what we do with them.  But the doomsday scenarios of the Population Bomb crowd are entirely wrong:
So this is a pretty happy note. We can feed the world a couple of times over as things stand today. With some modest effort, we can quadruple that. Anyone who is not fully fed is hungry due to the choices of people about what kinds of food they prefer and political decisions about power and greed. We can simply change our choices and feed everyone.

Furthermore, we have in hand plenty of methods to increase productivity for a couple of more doubles of population. All without “meatless days” or any kind of deprivation.
Of more interest to most readers here (and I'd dare say to all Preppers) is the breakdown by cereal variety - what it's good for, where it's good, how people use it.  For example, Rye:
So another cold and crappy soil tolerant crop, being displaced by other crops that pay better or can be made to grow with enough added fertilizers. Yield is about 6 tons / acre, so about 12,000 person-days of grain per acre. 32 people can have subsistence rations for a year off of one acre. An “8 to the acre” small urban home lot would feed 4 people. Yet we plant those lots with ‘rye grass lawns’ and throw away the ‘forage’ we mow…
If you're interested in backyard gardening and maybe putting away some seeds "just in case", then this is a post you should bookmark.  The news is good - great, really: we can feed everyone on the planet, likely as well (or nearly as well) as those of us in the West eat.  But this also gives the production system tremendous resiliency for hard times, and that resiliency scales down to quarter acre plots.

Me, I'd like to put away some Golden Rice seeds for "just in case".  Vitamin A FTW.



Divemedic said...

Until code enforcement comes by and tells you to get rid of the garden, or face a $500 a day fine.

Anonymous said...

You just had to throw in that last link to golden rice to prove you're not a hippie--GM RICE OH NOES!!!

Graybeard said...

I maintain that human dentition and intestinal structure demonstrate that we are not naturally grain eaters. For comparison, look at any true herbivore.

It can be survived on for emergency use, but isn't optimal for many millions. Certainly some people are better suited for it than others, but grains are not at all ideal foods for the masses by any means.

Ken said...

Interesting -- I was thinking about rye, barley, and oats -- the cold weather grains. I don't approach them so much as a staple, more like the Portland cement of a balanced diet -- ties the whole thing together (also, potatoes).