Thursday, October 19, 2006
Let Them Eat Cake
Recently the United States hit 300 million people. I know in my lifetime the area I live in has gotten rather crowded, and I have had to move further out to keep some sense of being in a rural setting. Most of the farmland near where I grew up is now developed or being developed. The small family farms are disappearing. Many people of my generation left the farm, and with no one left to take over, the farm is sold to developers. Local produce is only semi-local most of the time, and fresh meat even is getting harder to find. I'm fortunate that with good job and a fairly modest lifestyle, by Mid-Atlantic standards, I can afford to eat better quality food than many. Eating a nutrient dense, natural/organic diet is not cheap, and requires sacrifices in other areas. I'm concerned though, that with the growing populace, that better food, and quality meat may get even harder to find and afford. I question if we have the resources to feed a nation of 300 million a quality diet. Then I consider that India and China have even larger populations. While it is easy to condemn certain practices as being unhealthy for us as individuals, and for the ecology of the planet, without a large percentage of humanities diet consisting of grain products and legumes, and with out large agribusiness, how would we feed the 300 million people here in the United States, plus the 5 going on 6 billion other people in the world? If a crop blight were to suddenly wipe out our ability to raise grains, the vast majority of the worlds population would starve in short order. There simply isn't enough meat to go around, and there is no way we could breed our live stock quick enough to make up the difference. I don't pretend to have an answer I feel good about. Soylent Green? Perhaps Marie Antoinette was right.