We as Americans allow others to do our food planning for us and to provide the food we need during the winter months. Is that wise? For as long as many of us can remember, one has been able to go to the grocery store every week during the winter and find it full of all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables, and buy whatever one wanted. Being able to buy food in the grocery store all winter has been so easy and reliable that most people do not have more than a few day’s supply of food in the house. We have gone from the self sufficiency of 100 years ago to almost total dependency on the grocery store.
This winter has the potential to be different. Mexico and central California, which provide much of our winter vegetables, are experiencing the worst drought in years. The Central Valley in California is a 400-mile-long, 18 county area. More than 260,000 of the 600,000 acres that grow tomatoes, lettuce and other crops have been taken out of production this year. When you think of how many tomatoes can be grown on one acre and realize that almost half of the land is sitting idle while the rest of the land is not producing as much because of the drought, there is potential for a food shortage. A link to the Wall Street Journal’s Sept. 2 article on the drought in California – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125184765024077729.html?mod=rss_US_News
Note: We are not predicting that there will be a shortage of food this winter. It is possible that the food shortage will be made up from food from other parts of the world. We are just giving you a heads up.
The LA Times has a September 7, 2009 article "Mexico Water Shortage Becomes Crisis Amid Drought"
"A months-long drought has affected broad swaths of the country, from the U.S. border to the Yucatan Peninsula, leaving crop fields parched and many reservoirs low. The need for rain is so dire that water officials have been rooting openly for a hurricane or two to provide a good drenching.
"We really are in a difficult situation," said Felipe Arreguin Cortes, deputy technical director for Mexico’s National Water Commission.
"This is supposed to be Mexico’s wet season, when daily rains bathe farmland and top off rivers and reservoirs. But rainfall has been sporadic and unusually light — the result, officials say, of an El Niño effect this summer that has warmed Pacific Ocean waters and influenced distant weather patterns.
"Mexico’s hurricane season has been mild, with no major hits so far this summer, though a weak Hurricane Jimena dropped plenty of rain on parts of Baja California and the northwestern state of Sonora last week. The sparse rainfall nationwide has made 2009 the driest in 69 years of government record-keeping, Arreguin said…"
"Although no one wants to recognize it, there is a food crisis," said Cruz Lopez Aguilar…"
One of the best savings accounts for an uncertain future is a freezer full of food. You always have to eat. Food and water are the most basic and important necessities of life. To rely totally on others to store up and provide food for us for when we need it is putting total of faith and trust in "the system".
There is one other aspect of "What will you eat this winter?". Will your food be from local sources or will it have logged many miles over land and sea from unknown (trusted?) sources to land on your plate? There is still a little time left to get a freezer and stock up on local food for this winter. We will have eggs available all winter, but our last chicken processing will be in November. We will not have any fresh chickens available after November until May of next year. The meat chickens are too young to handle the cold outside in the winter time. The "free-range" chickens that you will see in the grocery stores this winter will not be free-range! They are conventionally raised chickens, raised in big chicken houses with a deceptive title.