Friday, August 21, 2015

Food Riots?

"That's the year they had food riots in Calcutta and Rio and Manila, when the world was finding out that it was easier to produce eleven billion living human beings than to feed them." 

Mike Resnick, in the story, 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm,' from the collection of his work, 'New Dreams for Old.'  This is a work of fiction, however, it is much truer than any of us would like.


 Right now, the world has about 7.3 billion people. It is estimated that we could reach 11 billion by 2060. That is less than 50 years from now. All things being equal, many of our children will still be alive, as will our grandchildren . . .  

"The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 805 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2012-2014." 

"About 21,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations. This is one person every four seconds, as you can see on this display. Sadly, it is children who die most often."

Food riots are real.  They began happening in Europe in the 1700's.  However the earliest food riots were more about political maneuvering that  brought about high prices than they were about real food shortages.  Here is a list of some historical food riots with brief descriptions and links to more information:

In 2013, high food prices fueled Egypt's riots—and those in Brazil, Turkey, and Syria:

Food riots continue to happen in our modern world. Rioting and looting in Venezuela this year has become common, over food shortages brought about, at least in part, by politics.

Food shortages are expected to worsen over the next few years, and they are expected to be less based on politics and economics and more based on the fact that, because of high populations coupled with the effects of climate change, we won't be able to produce enough food for everyone.  " . . . the Impending Global Food Crisis is Real and is due to Happen in the next 15 Years."

" . . . climate change is contributing not just to melting ice caps and rising sea levels, but also to drought, food shortages and, ultimately, to global instability.  


What can you do? Eat lower on the food chain. The less animal protein you eat, the more grain is left for other people to eat. Don't eat more food than you need. Don't buy more than you will eat. If you are throwing away uneaten food on any kind of a regular basis, you are placing more demand than necessary on the world's food supplies, which contributes to rising prices, which is pricing poor people out of a place at the table. Grow a garden! The more food we can produce ourselves, the less demand we are placing on world food supplies and the more affordable food will be for the poorest people.  For more ideas on what you can do, check out my book, Food Security and Sustainability for the Times Ahead.

Park your car and grow something!  Please check out my article, Carbon Production = Oxygen Consumption.

Become a food producer.  Now is the time to think about fall gardens, which are the easiest gardens to grow.  In addition to the greens covered at the link below, most roots do well in the fall also:


If you have tips or questions on reducing your demand on world food supplies or starting a garden and becoming a producer, please leave a comment!


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Friday, August 14, 2015

Avoiding Mosquitoes in the Garden

File:Mosquito Tasmania.jpgBit or not?  What you eat matters!

I rarely get bit, but today I did, twice while at the community garden.  These were my first mosquito bites for the year and I spend a lot of time outside.  My main question was "Why?"  Why now? Why am I suddenly getting bit? 

This lament was followed by asking myself what I have been eating that I usually don’t.   I answered myself, dairy including yogurt.  Next I asked myself what I hadn't been eating much of that I usually eat lots of, and the answer was garlic and onions.  Then I did some research . . . .

First I found that mosquitoes are attracted to lactic acid; and dairy products, particularly yogurt and other fermented and aged dairy products like cheese, are high in lactic acid.  

Next I found that eating garlic and onions discourages mosquitoes.  

And then I found that apple cider vinegar also discourages them, and guess what?  I have been off my vinegar as well . . . 

I have always known that eating red meat attracts mosquitoes.  I am not much of a meat eater, which may be part of the reason they usually leave me alone.  I do eat 3-oz servings of salmon 5 times a week, and twice a month or so I usually have some other fish, sea food, or chicken--but I don't eat red meat more than once or twice a year--if even that often.  The science behind this, is that uric acid attracts mosquitoes . . . .

Turns out that people who eat a vegan diet have the highest levels of uric acid.  And it also turns out that vegetarians and people who eat fish but no meat have the lowest uric acid levels. So we can see why I rarely get bit.  I am usually avoiding foods high in lactic and uric acid which attract mosquitoes while eating the garlic, onions, and apple cider vinegar that discourage them!

Food matters!  Here's a quick recap:  Dairy, meat, and a vegan diet can help attract mosquitoes.  Fish, garlic and onions, and apple cider vinegar help repel them.   However there is more to the story, please read the links below for the whole scoop on the other foods you may be eating that may be making you especially yummy to mosquitoes.  No time to read them all?  The secret is that real food is your friend, and junk food is your enemy!  But we already knew that, didn't we?

Taste Horrible to Mosquitoes: 4 Foods to Avoid and 2 to Eat:

Why do mosquitoes like me more than anyone else?

Mosquitoes: What To Eat to Avoid Getting Bitten:

Serum uric acid concentrations in meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans:


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Have tips on naturally avoiding mosquitoes in the garden?  Please leave a comment!


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