Saturday, November 08, 2008

Food Production in America

Thanks to the great Xeni Jardin over at Boing Boing I ran across an interesting article by Michael Pollan about the issues our next President will face about food production in the US. Food prices have crept up steadily over the last few years, driven by everything from skyrocketing oil prices (after transportation the agricultural system uses the most oil in the country) to ethanol production from corn. The latter has been contested in a few places, but it's hard to argue with the first. Pollan says that the era of cheap and abundant food is over and that the new president will need to reform the entire system. I've noticed that my food budget has definitely doubled over the last few years and I'm no larger than I was then so something has had to increase - if it's not my girth it must be the cost of the food :)

One of the most terrifying facts in the article was this:

a system that in 1940 produced 2.3 calories of food energy for every calorie of fossil-fuel energy it used into one that now takes 10 calories of fossil-fuel energy to produce a single calorie of modern supermarket food

At any rate as Pollan said:

If I could say it in 2 pages I wouldn't have used 8000 words.

I encourage people to read the article and think a bit more about the food they buy.