Today’s show not about real estate. We’re talking about taking action to protect your family’s food supply.
I remember watching the news on television in the 1970’s as a teenager seeing the two hour long lines as people waited patiently to get a loaf of bread at the bakery in Moscow. The notion of food shortages in the US, Canada or Western Europe seemed unimaginable.
Well last week, I waited in line for 40 minutes to get into the grocery store. Once inside, some shelves were fully stocked, and others were 90%-100% empty.
We have been hearing about supply chain disruptions all over the world for components, for manufacturing, and now for finished products.
It stands to reason that the food supply would be similarly impacted. Whether the cause is labor shortage, transportation disruptions, or problems with logistics, supply chain disruptions are happening now in the path to your dinner table.
The United States relies upon 3 million migrant workers each year to work in agriculture. They come largely from Latin America. Western Europe relies upon migrant workers to work in their fields, largely from Eastern Europe. Border restrictions are already creating workforce shortages in a number of sectors of the agricultural industry.
We have millions of unemployed, but the question is are these people going to choose working in the fields versus sitting at home collecting an unemployment benefits check?
In a world of travel restrictions and closed borders, I’m not seeing those migrant workers materializing.
China exports millions of bees each year all over the world to help re-supply the declining bee population which are key to pollenating many crops. In the absence of bees, the only solution is for humans to hand pollenate the flowers with a cotton swab. I’m not seeing those millions of people, Q-tips in hand making their way out into the fields.
Vietnam is one of the top three producers of rice in the world. They put an export ban on rice.
Germany normally invites about 300,000 migrant workers into their fields. Last week, they brought 40,000 workers from Rumania to help with the Asparagus harvest. They plan to bring a total of 80,000 migrant workers. But between 80,000 and 300,000 there’s a gap. Germany hopes to close the gap with local labor that have been displaced from other jobs.
This week, amid reports of widespread outbreaks of Covid-19 at several of the largest meat processing plants in North America, we are starting to see disruptions in the supply of beef, chicken and pork to supermarket chains. The supply of animal protein in North America is highly concentrated in a small number of companies and a small number of massive processing plants.
My recommendation for listeners of this show is that you make a concerted effort to ensure security of your family’s food supply. I’m increasing my household supply of critical items from 60 days to 90 days. Even that is likely not going to be enough.
We are also planting a much more extensive garden this year than we have in the past. Every year we plant about 10 tomato plants, zucchini, cucumbers, peas, basil, oregano and so on. This year we will more than double the size of our garden. I don’t expect even that to be enough.
I realize that there has been a bucketload of jarring news over the past several weeks. I’m not here to spread negativity. Far from it. I believe that armed with good information you can make good decisions. Better to have a few extra cans of tomatoes and beans and not need them, rather than need them and be unable to get them.