Production Vs. Distribution and Food Security

Sharon November 30th, 2008

There’s no escaping the Depression. I’ve been saying throughought my long life that money and love take on their various significances when they’re totally absent.  Same is true of food.  Food becomes most important when there isn’t any.” - Stetson Kennedy, WPA writers project  

 Check out Aaron Newton’s latest post - I think it provides a great introduction to issues of food security. 


These are going to be the central issues of our time - both producing enough food where it is most needed, and also equitable distribution.

For those who are new to my blog, Aaron and I are co-authors of the forthcoming (soon - March!) _A Nation of Farmers_, which explores what the US is going to have to do to prevent a massive food crisis.  This is our grand passion, the product of the second most productive collaboration of my lifetime (the first one is with Eric, obviously).  In the end, all my work, all Aaron’s work comes down to this - we want people to be able to eat sufficiently, sustainably, well - and for our children and our children’s children and onward to have this as a basic right. 


9 Responses to “Production Vs. Distribution and Food Security”

  1. Shambaon 30 Nov 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Some of us may be interested in reading the transcript of Michael Pollen on bill Moyers this past friday night,

    when Moyers started talking about food, the idea that Michael Pollen was going to be on popped into my head. I’ve not seen him before or read his books–not yet anyway!

    so, I was pleased when Moyers announced that was who his guest was for this week’s Moyers Journal. Very informative interview.

    and I’m one person who’s preordered the Nation of Farmers!

    thanks for the info from Aaron’s blog,

  2. Lisa Zon 30 Nov 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Shamba, thanks for the Bill Moyers link. I watched the video and it is excellent.


  3. […] Casaubon’s Book » Blog Archive » Production Vs. Distribution and Food Security These are going to be the central issues of our time - both producing enough food where it is most needed, and also equitable distribution. […]

  4. Michelleon 30 Nov 2008 at 6:32 pm

    I think I read the Little House books too many times when I was growing up. I have always had it in my head that I wanted to be able to feed my family from my own land. I have 1.3 acres, some of it wooded, some of it swampy. My XH was an airline pilot… for American… out of Boston… landed there on the night of September 10th, 2001. The next day, I knew he’d lose his job, as he was a new hire. I was 7 1/2 months along with my third child and rather than panic (which the Navy had taught me not to do in Flight School) I browbeat my mother into teaching me how to can. She’d taught me to blanch and freeze years earlier, but she HATES canning… but did it anyway. So I’ve been on board with food production for what, 7 years now, and this summer got a breeding pair of meat rabbits. Next spring’s projects include a shed (the town is fussing because it’ll be 115 feet from a creek, but that’s the POINT!) to shelter two “beefers” and a flock of chickens. And probably a pair of goats, though at least at first, I want them for brush (and poison ivy!) control rather than for milk. I’m blessed to have a dairy farm about 2 miles from here from which I can buy raw milk for $3 a gallon. I’m thrilled with the milk - and the price - and with being able to support a local farm. I also have a share at my CSA farm, and my girlfriend and I take turns picking up both the produce and the milk for each other. She came over to help learn with me how to butcher the rabbits - the blind leading the blind - but we got it done. She has hens already, so I’ll have a (one-season-ed) mentor for them next spring. I also have half a dozen apple, and two peach, trees on order to go in next spring. (I put in two apples and a peach a year and a half ago) My blueberries have been quite puny, but I’m planning to rip out my foundation plants in spring and replace them with more blueberries. I’ve been distrustful of the economy in general since 9/11, and I see now that my mistrust was well-deserved.

    Thank you, Sharon, for keeping us discussing this stuff! I’m working up a sort of a coop for next spring - a bunch of Moms who will get together and spend an hour or so a week in one garden at a time, so we can all get food plants growing. Already this past year I was able to share lettuce seedlings with a friend, who ate and ate and ate, then let them bolt, so they’ll come back for her next year too. I saved seeds from broccoli and carrots, though if they don’t grow well the rabbits will get them. I’m richly blessed in ‘chosen family’ where I am, as well as having my Mom here, and we are all on board with getting each other taken care of.

  5. SurvivalTopics.comon 30 Nov 2008 at 7:11 pm

    You guys are spot on. I grew up on my grandparents small farm. They started the farm in northern NH during the depression and weathered that crisis in fine shape with always plenty to eat. Hobos would often come by and work for a meal and a warm place to stay awhile.

    My grandmother has told me that during the World War 2 rationing they were not bothered at all, except perhaps for lack of sugar (they made do with maple sugar) for baking the many pies she always churned out.

  6. Lauraon 30 Nov 2008 at 7:21 pm

    I’m all in agreement with: “producing enough food where it is most needed, and also equitable distribution.” But I think lowering the world’s population needs to fit in there, too. There’s no reason we need over 6+ billion people on this earth–and they’re projecting it will quickly reach 9 billion people. Really, just how much DNA-diversity does the planet need? We should be working on reducing the total population over the course of time to a more manageable and realistic number–maybe in the 1 to 2 billion range within the next 50 to 75 years. Doing that will also require a lower standard of living to make up for all those “lost taxpayers”.

  7. Lanceon 30 Nov 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Found a book on traditional household living I hadn’t seen before called “Forgotten Household Crafts” by John Seymour

    It is from a traditional Catholic viewpoint, if it matters for those who care one way or the other (but just remember that traditional Catholic institutions like monasteries kept things going in that ancient “Great Depression” called “the Dark Ages”! ;-):

    “A “home” does not lie in the direction of a take-out way of life and a machine-for-living. This book celebrates the home makers of past and present and their homes. It recognizes and records the diligence, high skills, and love of sacrificial women who create and nurture the family home, the basis of Christendom. Here are the six chapters with the number of subtitles contained within it and some sample material to be read there:

    KITCHEN CRAFTS (18 subtitles): preserves and confectionary, storing food, bottling, canning, baking, salting, pickling, tea and coffee making, ale and beer making, wine and cider making, herbs and spices. DAIRY CRAFTS (5): making and using cream, butter and cheese making, making ice cream. LAUNDRY CRAFTS (6): washing linen, drying and pressing linen, dyeing, making soap. AROUND THE HOME (12): dining and entertaining, candle and oil lighting, gathering and making fuels, waste disposal, controlling pests. TEXTILE CRAFTS (11): spinning, lace making, mat and rug making, making and repairing clothes, quilting and patchwork, embroidery, knitting, tatting and macramé. DECORATIVE CRAFTS (5): painting and wallpapering, stenciling, furniture and furnishings, holy days and decorations.”

    Kinda funny: “The author confesses that only the man who marvels at the homemaker’s vocation from the outside can write about it because the best and most complete woman is too humble to write of all she does.”

    Lance Foster

  8. deweyon 01 Dec 2008 at 11:23 am

    I like the book “Back to Basics,” a big yellow book that if I am not mistaken was published by Reader’s Digest. Like Seymour’s books, it covers a great variety of traditional skills very briefly, but it seems to me that it includes in at least a sketchy way enough information that you could actually jump in and try to do many of these things. Sometimes Seymour does not provide enough information for that.

  9. teresa from hersheyon 02 Dec 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Energy bulletin has a brief on your new book with Aaron Newton but he is listed in the note afterwards as being your husband!

    As per Laura’s comment on reducing the population from 6 billion plus to 2 billion (or less) in 50 to 75 years: That is a 2/3 reduction or removing 2 persons out of every three. How would you propose doing this? Draconian birth control, forced euthanasia, widespread disease and famine, shooting wars? I agree that we have WAY too many people for the earth to support but going backwards by a huge percentage in any amount of time less than more than a century is going to be darned difficult.

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