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Food rationing hits….the US(!)

Thought that the food crisis was contained to distant lands? Looks like it is now closer to home than you might have suspected.


Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World (NYSun April 21, 2008)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain for the large sacks of rice they usually buy.

Part of my advice 'package' that I deliver at my seminars is that people should not assume that food security will always be there. I know this is a radical concept for some, but once you look at the just-in-time delivery system that continuously resupplies each community with food, it is easy to think of ways that it might be disrupted.

So, just like in the olden days, I recommend that people keep a decent larder of food on hand. Like 2-3 months' worth at minimum. That is, I want you to assume responsibility for your food needs beyond simply assuming that the stores will always be open and stocked with whatever you need whenever you desire it. In my house, we haven't changed our buying habits with respect to perishables (breads and anything in the 'fridge), but we have been consistently overbuying anything that will keep for a year or two.

We've mainly bought extra canned goods, oils, pasta, and some items in jars. We started doing this so that we'd have a slight food buffer on hand – just in case – but quickly found that this was a great way to beat inflation. Because a lot of the food we eat was bought last year, we are eating for a lot less than people who are buying and consuming food at today's prices.

And this explains why I have been watching the developing food crisis with great interest. There are some very real supply issues out there (for rice and wheat) but now we find out in the article above that cooking oil is now on the 'shortage list' as well.

And I suppose I wouldn't be quite as alert as I am if this next picture hadn't been taken by a friend of mine last Friday evening at the Big Y right here in Greenfield MA.

That kinda brings it all right home for me, so to speak.