Saturday, December 26, 2009

Locavore Approach Says Little About Trade

From two books I'm reading, "Just Food," by James E. McWilliams and "Plan B 3.0," by Lester R. Brown:
"The locavore approach might do a very good job of explaining how regions naturally predisposed to produce a diverse local food supply can do so. It says very little, however, about how we might export from these areas to water stressed regions that cannot provide their own food without extensive importations of water. It says very little, in other words, about trade."
- James McWilliams, "Just Food"
And if you're not talking about trade, you're not talking about sustainability:
"Food is fast becoming a national security issue as growth in the world harvest slows and as falling water tables and rising temperatures hint at future shortages. More than 100 countries import part of the wheat they consume. Some 40 import rice. While some countries are only marginally dependent on imports, others could not survive without them.
  • Iran and Egypt rely on imports for 40% of their grain supply.
  • For Algeria, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, among others, it is 70% or more.
  • For Israel and Yemen, over 90%.
Just six countries -- the United States, Canada, France, Australia, Argentina, and Thailand -- supply 90% of grain exports. The United States alone controls close to half of world grain exports, a larger share than Saudi Arabia does of oil."
- Lester Brown, "Plan B"
With the result:
"Countries under absolute water scarcity will have to import a substantial proportion of their cereal consumption, while those unable to finance these imports will be threatened by famine and malnutrition."
- Livestock's Long Shadow, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 2006


Lenny said...

I really like those beans in your banner.

Bix said...

Love those beans.

Dr. Mel said...

Perhaps this is also in those two books, which sound like they make very good points. But in our country, our insistence on populating warm areas, which are not capable of sustaining large populations naturally, plays a huge role in our dropping water tables, as well as the salinization and other increasing polluting of our water supply.
And yeah, let's hear it for beans!

Bix said...

I can't believe what I'm reading about water. It's all so contaminated ... to some degree. If you have it at all. Clean water is so precious.