April 16, 2008

I Wonder . . .

Via Insty comes this great piece on the worldwide food shortage by Austin Bay. This is one of the reasons I don't like using corn or soy to produce biofuels; I'd much rather we concentrated on algae or switchgrass. (Though there is an argument to be made to have the capability of using surplus crops for some biofuel production, after we've figured out how to make the process vaguely efficient.)

And, of course: more windpower, more solar power. More nuclear plants, and make it snappy. Drill ANWR, and drill off the coast of Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. Hell: drill the La Brea tar pits, if there's any oil to be had there.

But the point in the comments section about how we have fewer "marginal farms" in this country, and therefore less of a buffer against shortages (and less to sell or give to other nations that need it) is interesting. I usually don't buy "organic" produce [as opposed to the inorganic kind, ba da PUH], because I tend to want food that was produced in the most efficient way, dammit. The reason The Population Bomb was wrong is that we've kept ahead of the population curve by increasing production. But maybe it's time to encourage more boutique farming; more family farming; more small farms. If that means I should buy organic lettuce and artisan cheeses so those less well-off can buy the stuff they pick in the fields, maybe that's a safety mechanism this country needs, and can afford.

Also, I happen to like artisanal cheeses, though I've been told the cheese is objectively better in France, due to our hyperactive, overprotective FDA over here. (I know, I know: we want cheese without bacteria. But then, we also want our mushrooms without fungus.)

Dinner for a small planet: lentil soup, with fresh-grated parmesan cheese (the cheapest I can find that doesn't come pre-grated, since pre-grated parmesan is the work of the devil). A little fennel, sauteed in olive oil with a tiny pat of sweet butter. Raw carrots on the side, and oversweetened juice from the supermarket that I was too lazy to dilute.

And life is good; let's export us some crops.

Posted by Attila Girl at April 16, 2008 08:57 PM | TrackBack

Our bountiful farms employing scientific methods are a pretty good buffer against
shortages. Any export losses are due to biotechnology bans--in Europe, for example.
The US is the only country ready to meet world needs in an emergency. Assuming the people starving aren't idiots, mind you. "Eeeek! Frankenfoods!"

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against boutique farmers, hippie-wannabees that crap on the arugula. But if my crops need something, I'll give it to them out of a bag, thank you.

Posted by: Darrell at April 16, 2008 09:23 PM

And yet shortages we will have.

Posted by: Desert Cat at April 17, 2008 08:29 PM

Only of imagination and determination.

Posted by: Darrell at April 18, 2008 02:07 PM

[cough . . .]

Posted by: Attila Girl at April 18, 2008 02:08 PM

I hear the botanicals in some premium gins are good for that cough.

Posted by: Darrell at April 18, 2008 03:31 PM

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