Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Faulty Distribution, Stupid Use, The Real Food Issues

It would appear that we have an alleged shortage of certain foods. It’s hit the staples of wheat, corn, rice and the price is getting beyond the reach of the poor.
The real problem is not supply. We can feed the world many times over. The problem is we are too blessedly greedy to get it to them.
Food goes to the people who can pay for it. If you’ve got the money, then you can get the food.
This is morally wrong. Plain and simple.
It’s the same for countries. If the country has the money then it can get the food. If it has the distribution lines if can get it to its people if it wants to.
If we really cared about humanity we’d stop letting profit dictate who eats.
But what’s even more despicable is how food is used. Not only do we, that is, the western world, have more than we can eat, we form it into junk food that serves no real purpose.
I like tortilla chips, I eat them often, but they are not essential to the survival of the race.
Same with potato chips. They do not fill a true need. We’ve created the need, the want really, and then provided the product.
The amount of potatoes and corn we stuff down in empty calories or for recreational eating is obscene.
This is misuse of food and it is wrong.
People starve. We make dip.
Corn goes into ethanol and we feel all warm and fuzzy inside thinking we’ve helped the environment.
No. It takes energy to convert corn to usable ethanol for one thing, and for another we are taking food out of the mouths of the poor to make ourselves feel good.
Food gets thrown out of grocery stores every day. Blemished fruit and veggies are not sold because they are not perfect.
Restaurants throw out food they can’t use while a family down the block goes without.
All we care about is profit. We live by the rule that if we can’t make any money, then we may as well plough under the crops or let the fruit rot in the warehouse.
I wonder, if we took all the potatoes that are made into potato chips in a week in North America alone, how many people would be fed and for how long?
We could feed the world if we wanted to, but we don’t want to. There’s no money in it.


the Bag Lady said...

This is such a hot topic. The one thing you didn't mention is that the money is not going to the producers of said food. No, no. It goes to the processors and middlemen. They are the ones who are making money hand over fist in this.
As a cattle producer, we are getting in the neigbourhood of 68 cents per pound when we sell our product. That's for calves. If we sell an older cow, it's more like 28 cents. These are the same prices they were selling for in the 1960's - could anyone out there live on what wages were in the '60's?!

I heard of a producer recently who tried to sell some of his older cows, and ended up taking them home again because no one would bid on them!!

This places the producer of your food in the same category as the poor people who cannot afford to buy the food in the grocery stores.

The grain farmers are in a similar situation, unless they are a huge corporation.

Oops, must stop now before I go on a rant.

Leah J.Utas said...

Oh I know the producers get little for their work. You are right about the middlemen getting most of it.
I limited myself to ranting about distribution and misuse of the product today and I still have more to rant on about it. I might continue this tomorrow as the abuse of food and supply bothers me greatly.

Hilary said...

Our Western society is totally screwed up on so many levels when it comes to food.

We're blessed with fertile land, knowledge and ability to grow crops in abundance, raise healthy livestock, fish our waters and store items for later use. We do have the ability to feed the world but we don't really know how to properly nourish ourselves. We over and under eat, waste and purge - we in the civilized world.

Leah J.Utas said...

That's right, Hilary. We have so much and we don't have a clue what to do with it.
We have a lot of nerve calling ourselves civilized.

Reb said...

Oh, this is along the lines of what I am working on for tomorrow! You are so correct! It is appalling that not only are there people in the third worlds starving, but people right here in our own backyards.

Leah J.Utas said...

Excellent, Reb. Great minds, social consciences, rant alike etc.
Even if we only write about it we are getting the energy for change out there.
I'm looking forward to your post.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

df Leah,

What a wonderful post. This is not a rant it is a statement of fact.

Bag Lady brings further truth to the table. it's not the farmers. It is the corporations who are trying to drive farmers out of the market and take over their land.

Having said that, would someone please take away the potato chips?? We spend a fortune on foods designed to make us fatter and sicker.

This issue should be right at the top of things that need to be re-aligned, along with the environment.

Kudos Leah, you really struck a nerve!


the Bag Lady said...

dfTerrie - take away the potato chips!? *Gasp* - what would we eat?!

(Actually, since the Cowboy bought the Bag Lady a food processor for Xmas, she makes her own potato chips, and they are damned good!)

Chairman Mao said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You've hit the nail on the head with your post, Leah. The bottom line with the problem is indeed corporate greed, which works differently for poorer countries than for wealthy ones. Such an irony that people in poorer countries go hungry while people in richer countries eat junk food that makes us sick. It's a screwed up situation from square one, and morally abhorrent.

I'm sorry for that deleted comment above -- that was me, but I used the wrong account!

Leah J.Utas said...

dfTerrie - Thank you. It offends and saddens me to see corporations take the place of the family farm.
I wish someone would take away potato chips. I used to be hooked on them, but used hypnosis to wean myself. It's not complete, but I rarely eat them now. We complain of ill health and being overweight and yet what do we ingest? Fat, salt, sugar.

dfBag Lady, it's an entirely different thing when you make them yourself. I want to try your homemade potato chips sometime. By doing them yourself they are practically health food.

Thomma Lyn- Thanks. We really do have messed up priorities here. It's from having too much. We think we deserve it because it's here and that poor people are that way by choice. We're being given a marvelous opportunity for change and all we care about is profit.

Geosomin said...

"Restaurants throw out food they can’t use while a family down the block goes without."
I agree...I would get so frustrated working in places where there was perfectly good day old things being tossed because we couldn't legally give them to shelters or others for legal reasons.
I'm still a bit taken back when I go into grocery stores to find every concievable thing available ALL the time...even christmas oranges in july. An orange used to be a delectable and rare treat when my Mum was small...now I"m sure grocery stores toss more produce out in wastage than I"d care to know about.
I wish we could organise more local producing farms...there are setups in a few places in teh US wehre local farmers take money in the early spring - your "allotment" you want from them for the growing season, and then they will bring to their in town depot every week fresh produce from their farms and deduct the cost off your credit. They know how much to grow, and we would get our own, locally grown produce.
I could rant on about this for a long time...I agreed wit hyour post completely.

Leah J.Utas said...

Geosomin - The waste in the land of plenty.
It's awful to see food thrown out.
The local producing farms is an interesting idea, but until we get shed of our belief that profit trumps all I despair of it happening.
You're welcome to rant here as long as you like.