Bruce heard an interview on NPR about a book on World War II. It’s entitled The Hunger Of War. He was stunned to learn that more people died from starvation than through violence during that time. Many of the problems were faced in places that had given up local food production in favor of imports. When the energy shortages and the imports ceased the populations no longer had the means or ability to feed themselves. I just ordered the book and will begin it today. I’ll post a review when I finish it.
This book came at a time when I have become fascinated by the food crisis in Greece. I just read an article about the Greeks beginning to deal directly farmers in order to afford to put food on the table. We tend to think of hunger as something that can only happen in other places, to people who live much closer to the edge than most of this country does. It happens in Africa and in the war-torn regions of the Middle East. It happens to somebody else. Until it happens to you.
I shy away from posting gloomy things. I like to write about food and community, family doings and weather, books and events. Today I feel the urge to go that dark place. The economic news continues to look ugly. The weather gets nuttier with every passing season. The Monsanto battle is one I don’t see resolving any time soon. I urge you all to look in your pantry. How long could you feed your family if you needed to rely on what was on hand today? If you store nothing else I hope you store some open pollinated seeds and some good gardening books. At least store seeds of squash and beans. They produce well in a lot of places and provide a big bang for the garden buck. I hope you’ll do a walk-about and look for those spaces where you could grow some food. It doesn’t need to a John Seymour, perfect sustainable backyard. It might be your church yard or your playground. It might be the space that runs along the side of your driveway. Join a community garden group and plant something. The experience will be useful someday.
I hope you’ll put away some staples and cook with them from time to time. They are cheap and nourishing and very accessible today. Think oats and rice, pasta and sauce, dried fruit and some canned squash and pumpkin. Applesauce can be used to stretch eggs in cooking.
If I sound as though I maybe got up on the wrong side of the bed today I hope you’ll do an amazon search for memoirs of wars and sieges. Read some stories of the Great Depression. I watched more of the Wartime Kitchen series on youtube this morning. It’s a good look at living with less and making do. I always hope for good things and a happy future for my children and grandchildren but I know that woman have always hoped for those things. It didn’t always work out that way. I know that most of you who visit here are already doing a lot. So spread the word. The time to think about food was yesterday but it’s never too late. I’m not much for protesting on the street but I hope to plant in solidarity with people everywhere who don’t wish to held hostage to circumstance. Share your food and garden stories please. They will inspire the rest of us. Share your recipes. They will educate. Share your fears. They will give us the opportunity to support each other. Above all, eat good food.