Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Food Security & Insecurity in the US

This article is in response to a recent article I shared about Crops rotting in the field because farmers lacked the labor force to complete their harvest.  There are many reasons for the lack of labor force but we'll stick to the FOOD issues for now.
What would happen if there were no more fancy colored lettuce in plastic bags and boxes on store shelves?  What would you do if they were then but you could no longer afford them?

According to the USDA, food insecurity decline in 2015 by 1.3% from 2014.  That sounds great but when you look at the staggering about of people around you that struggle every day to feed themselves and their family it isn't very comforting.

Reasons for Food Insecurities include
Job Loss
Sickness
Rising food costs
Crop failure due to Weather or Water Shortage
Farm labor shortage
Interruptions in transportation of food
Civil unrest

To keep it simple, this article refers to 2 types of food security.  The first is the supply chain of food and the second is consumer access based on affordability.

As a homesteader, we grow quite a bit of our own food but we understand that not everyone shares our passion for self-sufficiency.  Even though we grow, there are still plenty of food items that are sourced locally or thru grocery stores.  Those items don't just magically appear in the store.  Someone has to grow them, care for them, harvest them and then transport.  One "blip" in the supply chain can be devastating.
From a single seed we grew this 16+ pound Hubbard Blue Squash
Food Shortages
We've seen the evidence of food shortages in recent years.  Venezuela is an example.  Some argue the food is there but the government has control.  Some argue that the food is there but it's too expensive and others that there is a true food shortage.  Whichever theory you choose to follow, the fact is that the people of Venezuela are in trouble.

Food Waste
In some instances, it's not the lack of food that can be the issue but rather wasting food.  Every day perfectly good produces is thrown out because it isn't "pretty" enough to sell.


Corporate takeover of Seed supplies
From our article Protecting Seed Diversity
"Today, three corporations control 53 percent of the global commercial seed market.
Read that sentence again and let that sink in...3 corporations OWN over half of the global commercial seed market!"
Those statistics are WORSE now with the mergers of Syngenta & ChemChina as well as Bayer and Monsanto
Plant Heirloom Seeds to fight corporate greed!

In 2006, USDA introduced new language to describe ranges of severity of food insecurity.  Let's start with the clear definitions from the USDA
Food Security
High food security (old label=Food security): no reported indications of food-access problems or limitations.
Marginal food security (old label=Food security): one or two reported indications—typically of anxiety over food sufficiency or shortage of food in the house. Little or no indication of changes in diets or food intake.
Food Insecurity
Low food security (old label=Food insecurity without hunger): reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet. Little or no indication of reduced food intake.
Very low food security (old label=Food insecurity with hunger): Reports of multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.

Why do we need these definitions?  Well, to better understand their statistics!
Statistics show
Food secure—These households had access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.
87.3 percent (109.3 million) of U.S. households were food secure throughout 2015.
An increase from 86.0 percent in 2014.
Food insecure—At times during the year, these households were uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food. Food-insecure households include those with low food security and very low food security.
12.7 percent (15.8 million) of U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2015.
Down from 14.0 percent in 2014.
Very low food security—In these food-insecure households, normal eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake was reduced at times during the year because they had insufficient money or other resources for food. 
5.0 percent (6.3 million) of U.S. households had very low food security at some time during 2015.
Down from 5.6 percent in 2014.

Over the past two decades, food prices have risen 2.6 percent a year on average. But recent factors have slowed food price inflation. The change is only temporary, though. Once those downward pressures abate, food prices will resume their normal upward trend.

Let's do the math. In the last 20 years, food prices have increased by 52%

Food Shortages from the Farm
June 2017
"UK summer fruit and salad growers are having difficulty recruiting pickers, with more than half saying they don't know if they will have enough migrant workers to harvest their crops." source 

August 2017
"Volatile prices can be blamed on a dismal California harvest, which started in February."
"She said trees were stressed after five years of drought. Extreme heat in July 2016 also hurt this year’s crop.  Global supplies also are down." source

April 2017
"Lettuce Shortage sends prices soaring" source

April 2011
"Eggplant shortage disrupts supplies to local eateries, groceries" source


MOST of your store-bought food is Imported!
"It is estimated that the average American meal travels about 1500 miles to get from farm to plate." source
"Today, the typical American prepared meal contains, on average, ingredients from at least five countries outside the United States." source


We are fortunate in the US to have access to grocery stores and sophisticated transportation methods.  I've given you a good idea with the sources above of the different forms of food insecurities we face.  I've also shown that even with our current technology and infrastructure, food insecurities do exist.

What can we do?
As a homesteader, I can tell you what we are doing.  Plant a garden and GROW.  Every season we expand our gardens to be able to produce more fruits, veggies and herbs.  What we do not eat, we preserve for future use or share our abundance.
Garden goodies I dropped of for my Mom

We barter fresh produce with one neighbor in exchange for her horse poop.  We use the aged horse poop in the garden to produce healthy, abundant crops.

Backyard chickens are a newer adventure for us and so far we're thrilled.  It took 5 months growing these tiny chicks into hens but they are now rewarding us with eggs every day.
Organic eggs from our Hens

Stock your pantry.  For items that you are unable to grow, but in bulk and store for later.  We do this as well and it has saved quite a bit of money in the process.  Just be sure to rotate your "back-ups."


I hope you have enjoyed another educational article.  if you have additional questions, please leave a comment below or send an email to mary@marysheirloomseeds.com


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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tuesdays with a Twist #226 LINKUP

Good Morning and welcome to another No Rules Party!

Mary's 2017 Planting Guide for the US is now LIVE!

My AUGUST PLANTING GUIDE is also available

In case you missed it, I recently announced our Gardens Fundraiser! You can read more at "Why are We Fundraising?"
This is a big deal for us


I've been busy learning and sharing about SOIL.  Find out more below!



Are you ready for the party?   We're your hosts 
Add our button if you've been featured!


The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Saturday at 11:59am.  Feel free to stop back any time and "like" your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 
Share older posts as well as new ones.  No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own* 
By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features.   And now for the party!


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesdays with a Twist #225 LINKUP

Good Morning and welcome to another No Rules Party!

Mary's 2017 Planting Guide for the US is now LIVE!

My AUGUST PLANTING GUIDE is also available

In case you missed it, I recently announced our Gardens Fundraiser! You can read more at "Why are We Fundraising?"
This is a big deal for us


I've been busy learning and sharing about SOIL.  Find out more below!



Are you ready for the party?   We're your hosts 
Add our button if you've been featured!


The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Saturday at 11:59am.  Feel free to stop back any time and "like" your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 
Share older posts as well as new ones.  No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own* 
By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features.   And now for the party!


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tuesdys with a Twist #224 LINKUP

Good Morning and welcome to another No Rules Party!

Mary's 2017 Planting Guide for the US is now LIVE!

My AUGUST PLANTING GUIDE is also available

In case you missed it, I recently announced our Gardens Fundraiser! You can read more at "Why are We Fundraising?"
This is a big deal for us


I've been busy learning and sharing about SOIL.  Find out more below!



Are you ready for the party?   We're your hosts 
Add our button if you've been featured!


The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Saturday at 11:59am.  Feel free to stop back any time and "like" your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 
Share older posts as well as new ones.  No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own* 
By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features.   And now for the party!


Friday, August 4, 2017

Planning a Fall Garden? You Might Want to Check this Out




  
Mary's Heirloom Seeds 
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August 4, 2017

I know...Fall is still a month and a half away! We like to give you the tools to plan ahead in the garden.
In cooler Climates that means Garlic and other cool weather crops.  For warmer area like Florida, It's time to plant LOTS of seeds!
 You'll find loads of helpful planting info and 
99 Cent Seed Deals below.  Enjoy! 
BONUS:  Orders of $10 or more will include a 
FREE extra seed pack!

Plant A FALL Garden & Save 



Depending on where you live, many of you are planting FALL Crops.  This is a great way to extend your growing season and save money!  If you have never planted a Fall garden but you would like to, this is a great opportunity.  If you're on the fence about planting a Fall garden, this is definitely a must-read!

Let's get started!
RADISH everywhere!!!  Yes, I'm that excited about Growing Radish.  From Seed to Harvest, many Radishvarieties are ready to harvest in 23-35 days.  Longer & larger varieties such as the Japanese Minowase Radishcan take up to 70 days. 
 
 
From our tutorial Growing Radish from Seed to Harvest,
"Sow radishes in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before average date of  the last frost in spring. Sow succession crops every 2 weeks in spring and in autumn. Two or more crops can be grown in spring. Radishes require 22 to 70 days to come to harvest. Warm weather can result in small roots. Long days may also cause radishes to flower; plant radishes during the shorter days of spring and autumn. In mild winter regions, grow radishes in late autumn and early winter. Radishes can withstand frost. 
Cost Breakdown:
1 pack of Purple Plum Radish = $2.00 for 100 seeds
1 "bunch" of organic Radish from the store = $1.99 for  6 radishes
**That means you'll spend almost $25 for 100 radish!!!
Don't like raw Radish?  Try Pickled Radish!
ARUGULA is another great Fall Crop.  From seed to harvest, Arugula is ready to start eating in as few as 40 days.  You can harvest the entire bunch or just a few leaves at a time.
 
 
"Plant seeds 1/4 inch deep in moist soil.  It is best to sow lettuce or spinach seeds thinly in rows spaced about 1 ft. apart or simply scatter the seeds in blocks. Cover lightly with soil, firm in place and water well. Keep the soil moist until germination. Once the plants have a grown their true leaves, you can begin to thin the plants to about 6" apart."
Cost Breakdown:

At Mary's Heirloom Seeds, a packet of Arugula seedsis $3.00 and contains 200 seeds. Even if only 90% of those seeds germinate (almost 100% of mine grow!), that still leaves 180 plants!
For this comparison, we're going to share a very economical option for growing greens (especially if you don't have a yard or much room to grow)
Grow Your own: 
Sterilite 18 gallon bin: $9 
Organic Potting Soil: $9 a bag 
Arugula Seeds: $3
Total: $21 for 180 Arugula Plants (much more than a bunch)
   
Purchased at my local store, organic Arugula is about $1.99 per bunch. Let's compare:
   
180 homegrown bunches of Arugula $21
Only $3 if you already have to supplies!
   
180 store bought bunches of Arugula $358.20
If you save your seeds...The savings are incalculable!

BEETS are another easy Fall crop.  From seed to harvest, beets reach maturity at approx 55 days! **Leave them to grow longer for larger beets**  BEETSare a "double-duty" crop for us. 
When we harvest beets, the greens are used raw in salad or sauteed with garlic and onions (just like spinach). The actual beet has many uses!  We roast them with garlic & olive oil, shredded over salad and even pickled!
 
From our article Growing Organic Beets From Seed to Harvest,

"Beets are fairly frost hardy and can be planted in the garden 30 days before the frost-free date for your area. Although beets grow well during warm weather, the seedlings are established more easily under cool, moist conditions. Start successive plantings at 3 to 4 week intervals until midsummer for a continuous supply of fresh, tender, young beets. Irrigation assures germination and establishment of the later plantings."

Cost Breakdown:

1 pack of Beet seeds = $3 for 100 seeds

1 bunch of Organic Beets at my local store is $1.99 for 3 beets



We have decided to offer our 
Florida Garden Starter Kit and our 
FALL Garden Starter Kit on sale 
thru August 12th.  
We also have a few more 99 Cent Seed Packs

COCONUT COIR PELLETS

Big savings on seed starter pellets thru August 12th

99 CENT SEED PACKS

CHERRY BELLE RADISH
*New arrival.  Does well in clay soil*








  

If you have additional questions please feel free to ask.  

Happy Planting,

Mary's Heirloom Seeds, P. O. Box 3763, Ramona, CA 92065


http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marys-Heirloom-Seeds/229833070442449

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