As we’re all entirely aware there are those out there insisting that we as a nation should be self-sufficient in food production. There are even those idiots telling us that we must be individually, or by town, so self-sufficient. The claim being that there’s a danger in relying upon foreigners for what we must have to even merely survive.
Well, yes, except history is littered with the corpses of those who ate only local food and then didn’t as in one season or another there was no local food. So, two stories from the press to show why we don’t want to be self-sufficient at all:
Farmers are lamenting a crop of carrots as thin as pencils after the hot, dry weather stopped the vegetables from growing.
There are worries other crops, such as potatoes and onions, could also be affected, because the planting season was delayed by a wet spring, which then turned into a sweltering, dry summer.
We might think that thin carrots isn’t a great problem. But it is a reduction in the calories that can be gained from however many acres have been planted to them.
A shortage of peas is feared in Britain as recent hot weather means they cannot form in their pods.
The dry, warm climate has meant fewer pods and smaller peas are being produced as they do not have enough water to fully grow.
It is also proving the perfect breeding ground for specific types of bugs, such as the pea moth and bruchid beetle, which feed on both peas and beans at this time of year, causing further problems for pea stocks.
The UK is the largest producer of peas for freezing in Europe – producing 150,000 tonnes of them a year – and is 90 per cent self sufficient.
Well, in normal years we’re near self-sufficiency.
So, what about this security of supply then? That reason we want to grow our own, not rely upon the kindness – or greed – of Johnny Foreigner?
Well, quite, what about it? Clearly even where we are self-sufficient weather varies enough that we won’t be sometimes. Which is why we both should be and are enthusiastic partakers in the Great Global Markets. They allow us to buy our food from many different geographical areas and weather patterns. Thus proving again the adage that security of supply is ensured by a market with many disparate suppliers.
Yes, OK, peas, carrots, so what? Except that, well, famines were beaten by the railway more than anything else. The thing that allowed food to be sourced from outside any one geographical area. A free press, so that people know, democracy so that people care, yes, important, but the physical means of famine alleviation are transport links. You know, access to the produce of other geographical areas with different weather patterns? Food security that is.