Review/summary of the article "Soaring Oil and Food Prices Threaten Affordable
by Richard Heinberg
Difficult to read in places because statements of generalities are given without explanations. Many of the basic principles presented seem correct.
Food prices are dependent on oil prices because oil is required to produce and distribute food. As oil supplies become more expensive food prices will rise. Strategies to keep food affordable should be encouraged now. Among those strategies is locally produced food. That reduces prices of food because less oil is required to ship the food. Another strategy is food production on small farms using bio mass for fertilizer instead of fossil fuel derived fertilizers.
The article states that food production by small farms should be encouraged. Small scale agriculture results in increased yeilds per acre, less ecological damage, and require less petroleum.
Subsidies paid to food growers contribute to hunger in food importing countries. Food prices in those countries become lower than production cost of local farmers who are economically forced to abandon farming and move to urban areas. Low wages/unemployment for the displaced farmers results in hunger and increased vulnerability to rising food prices.
While this article advocates a switch to small scale farming and farming methods that require less fuel, it would seem that would be labor intensive agriculture. Negative aspects of labor intensive agriculture are not addressed. Because the output per farmer would be low, the majority of the population would have to be farmers who would struggle with the fatigue resulting from tiring manual labor. It might be that a curtailment of non agricultural uses of petroleum and a switch from fossil fuels to agriculture powered more by wind energy derived fuels would result in greater quality of life in the industrialized countries.
Alan Detwiler, author of Thrivers In An Uncertain Future, bio at