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Growing Global Food Crises

As most are now aware the world is facing an ever growing food crises. Food is running out and our global populations are reaching – some would say – have reached – a critical mass. The ever increasing populations world wide is the underpining and primary cause of this and other increasing problems such as the fuel crises. The media have almost totally ignored this fact. Why?

In fairness they are not the only ones. I've heard little from world leaders or indeed any politician mention it. This baffles me. The latter are usually too preoccupied with there own petty squabbling to pay attention to important issues facing the rest of us.

Is it a refusal to see the obvious because the obvious is too far reaching and too disturbing to know how to deal with? Quite likely – but to not bring it out in the open and acknowledge it is a “head in the sand” attitude and gets us no where and only deepens the problem.

In Zen philosophy they speak of something called “Beginner's Mind”. It is where we attempt to go back to the beginning of something, a state of “focused openness” where our preconceptions, and everything we think we already know about something, are temporarily set aside. It is often used when we feel we have reached a plateau of thought or come up against a brick wall and need to look at something anew. It is to become [for awhile] timeless in our thinking, to unburden ourselves of our fixedness, our presumptions, even our prejudices, in the hope of finding fresh perspective or insight.

Here in Canada we should be concerned. We have become very vulnerable despite our size. Why? Because while we have room to absorb more people – and we are one of the very few – we have also allowed our family farms to become almost extinct through increasing urbanization swallowing up valuable farm land and a lack of support from respective governments at all levels who lack the necessary vision and awareness of this escalating situation.

Here's a startling statistic to bring it home. Russia produces 80% of its own food and imports 20%. In direct contrast Canada imports 80% and produces 20%! That says it all, and I find that alarming! I'm not sure about our Australian and New Zealand readers. I suspect due to your isolation you have become more self reliant.

It appears China has obtaining land in Canada to grow food for its people. What irony!

We in Canada have been asleep at the wheel. As the problem worsens more and more producing countries will increasingly restrict their exports to protect their own people, and which is already happening.

Erratic and destructive global weather patterns are adding to the situation. In the past this has not proved a major problem but with the gap rapidly closing between supply and demand it is becoming a very different story. I just had a conversation with an Apple grower from Washington State who told me he has just lost his entire crop due to frost. The first time in his 30 years of growing.

Do you get the developing picture?

So now what? Well, for instance during WW11 in UK when things were really rough and getting food from over seas was in trouble the Brits started what became known as “Victory Gardens” in which communities got together and made land available which was used for growing food. It saved the day. This is a concept we could and should be looking at in our communities as we enter this disturbing time. Will we, or will we shrug our shoulders in hopes the problem will go away? It won't!

Once again in Russia there is a proposal before the Duma [ Russia 's Lower House] to encourage families to move to the land by giving families two hectares of land on which to live. This land must be passed to succeeding generations and may not be leased or sold or other wise disposed of. It must also become the home of those been given this land and be used for growing produce and not left fallow. In fact I am informed that some Russian communities are not waiting for the Duma and are proceeding on their own within their respective areas.

Perhaps we should be looking at this concept and begin to work together within our own respective communities. It may well make the difference to our survival and if nothing else it will help restore our faith in us as family. In this respect our indigenous brothers and sisters have much they could share with us in this area for frankly we have lost our way. The old ways are breaking down and we need to resurrect our trust in each other as things continue to unravel across this world of ours. None of us will be immune from the effects of what is happening in other parts of our world. If this sounds paranoid – watch!

We badly need to restore our faith in ourselves and recognize we are all part of one family – the human family – and work together and restore our trust in each other refusing to listen to the nay sayers. If we can do this the rewards will be way beyond any financial benefit and will give us a sense of inner peace and confidence in who we really are. We will be sowing the seeds for a very different world and meaningful future for our children and all those that follow these difficult times.

Thank you. Michael Brine.

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