the Export Land Model as applied to food

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Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
the Export Land Model as applied to food

The Export Land Model says net oil exporters will, due to dwindling oil reserves, eventually keep the oil for home use and no longer export it. As an example, this recently happened to Egypt: Egypt went from being a net oil exporter to a net oil importer I believe this was one of the factors in their recent civil unrest, for when there was no sale of oil for hard currency to buy food, it made food very expensive for the average Egyptian.

Food is getting much more expensive in Europe and the USA - in fact, all over the world. It's hitting the developing world especially hard since so much more of their family budgets are devoted to food. And our inexpensive food is due to a 'green revolution' caused by petrochemcial use. Peak Oil means more expensive oil for feritlizers and insecticides, and let's not forget that many of the insecticides have selectively bred resistant insects so you need ever more chemicals to do the job. Weaning ourselves of of such chemicals is critically important for the environment but it will be very bad for food production levels and food prices. And while I agree that petrochemically farmed food is bad for the envrionment and people, let's even set that aside for now and talk about food price inflation. Yes, there are other factors like the price of transporting food going up, the machinations of central banks, and drought, and corn being used for ethanol. But, for a moment, let's think about how more expensive food is a result of Peak Oil. Agricultural products may be therefore sell for more money, so will countries then export food or use it to feed their citizens?

Food exports reverting back to the local population may sound like a logical process but it's not. I believe the export land model won't happen with factory-farmed petrochemicaly produced food. Large multinational corportions, commodities markets, or socialst governments will sell food to richer countries and let their citizens starve. This happened in Argentina due to socialism and could easily happen in the USA due to corporate interests.

The way to get around this all this for the average person is local food, grown without petrochemcials, grown by individuals or families. Ther are several ways to go about it:

  1. The Kitchen Garden.  Those with even a little growing space can grow things to supplement their diets.
  2. Urban Rooftop or Balcony Gardens. Those with even a little growing space can grow things to supplement their diets.
  3. Coops and CSAs. Those without growing space can buy from locals who have extra growing space.
  4. Small Farms. Those with extra growing space who can support themselves and sell the excess.
  5. Insisting on Locally Grown food at the market. Those who still bring in food from other regions can be hounded badgered politely pushed into looking for more local suppliers or we take our business elsewhere.

On this site there is a group for Biointensive Gardening, another for general Agriculture/Permaculture, or try Backyard Chickens and several forums dedicated to things like Square Foot Gardening, Agriculture/Permaculture, Home Canning, and more. There are wikis devoted to such subjects aws Growing Your Own Fruits and Vegetables, Raising Chickens and more. We share things we discover along the learning curve toward feeding ourselves well and inexpensively.

It always feels more empowering to do something about a problem than to wait for someone to help you. Tell us how you did something about food insecurity and reaped the rewards.

Poet's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1893
Thailand And Rice

Great synthesis!

Wasn't it just a few years back that Thailand and a couple of other rice-exporting nations temporarily halted rice imports? This is going to be much, much more common. We're lucky in the U.S. in that we are relatively well-off and can provide money for food, we have land, we have a large agricultural base, we have some water, and we have access to sources of fertilizer (like Canada) still. Other countries will be harder hit first. But stiill, having a personal supply helps...


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