Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How secure is your food supply?

I’ve never been a survivalist. I don’t stockpile water. Didn’t buy a generator when the year 2000 approached. Yet, during the past couple of years I have been asking, how secure is my food supply?

That’s one of the questions the Bluegrass Food Security Summit raised on Friday in Lexington. It’s not something most people consider. We typically walk into the grocery store, buy what we want and go home.

As the economic downturn has continued to hit families, I think more folks have considered their food security. More than once my husband has mentioned it’s one of the reasons he likes looking at our shelf of canned garden vegetables. And I will have to say I derive a sense of security from that, also.

We’ve all heard the stories of tainted food imported from overseas and even from our own country. It’s possible that food grown in your own community could also be tainted, but it’s less likely. Locally grown food is generally grown in smaller quantities and gets to your table much more quickly. It also doesn’t go through a processing plant like pre-packaged food does.

Besides the health problems that can threaten food security, there’s also the ability to transport food. If a natural disaster or war disrupts our transportation system, then we’re in danger of being cut off from our food supply if it’s not local. If our transportation system causes so much environmental damage that we have to limit its activity, we’re also looking at a disruption.

I’m not an apocalyptic thinker. I am, however, a faith-motivated person who believes I am called to be a good steward of the earth and a responsible member of the world family. These are the things that most strongly pull me to consider food security issues. There are more than 49 million people in the United States who are living in households that the United States Department of Agriculture considers to be “food insecure.” If we take a deep look into our food systems, I believe we can create locally sustainable food sources that will greatly diminish that number while it builds stronger communities and healthier individuals.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to go plant the potatoes.

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