Last week I read a great article about how we are only one or two bad crop years away from world wide famine and chaos...however, I do most of my article reading during lunch at work and now I can't find my notes, so I cannot credit the article or lead you to it. Basically, the article was stating the soil has been overused in Asia, America, the Middle East, basically everywhere and we are going to see shortages, high prices, and starving people after only one year of bad crops.
Today I read another interesting article on Yahoo!News entitled 'Planet Could be Unrecognizable by 2050: Experts Say' (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110220/ts_afp/scienceuspopulationfood). Honestly, I thought it was going to be another article on global warming, so imagine my suprise when it was actually about global population and...here's the tie in...the global food supply. This article suggests we are all going to start starving because there won't be enough food to go around, and also because people will begin eating more meat as they earn more money in the future. According to the article, it takes 7lbs of grain to produce 1lb of meat. Not too suprising. The BIG suprise to me was the 3-4lbs of grain needed to produce 1lb of eggs. REALLY?!?! Maybe in large commercial egg operations where chickens are kept in small cages and never see the light of day. Our egg chickens are all free range and we don't even feed them! Sure, they clean up the grain the pigs and goats spill (and any contained in their waste) but I am sure collectively they eat less than 3lbs of grain per day and we are currently collecting a dozen per day.
So let me share my thoughts on the food crisis that is to take place within the next 40 years. Maybe we need to change the way we produce our animal products! We are lucky enough that we plan to grow all of the food for our animals on our 10 acre farm this year. We are growing some wheat, corn, beans, and hay for the winter, but our pigs, goats, and rabbits also have access to all the fresh grass they want and will be fed other garden vegetables during the spring, summer, and fall. The pigs also eat all of our table scraps and food that has spoiled/molded. Heritage breeds especially thrive on foraging. I doubt most commercial pigs would do as well on what we feed our Large Black and Red Wattle Hogs. And they seem to taste better! Rabbits are a great source of protein and require only 1/2 cup of feed per day...if all they are getting is pellets. They need even less if they are foraging on grass and clover. And the chickens? Like I said, we don't even feed them. I suppose a world famine could happen, but if there is a greater concentration on more hardy breeds that are allowed to eat like nature intended, it shouldn't be as bad as the naysayers say. But keep us in mind for your food supply if Chicken Little is finally right. :-)