Can We Feed The World?

We could feed the world” is the anthem of everyone who supports the proliferation of massive mono-cropping of wheat and other grains.  Vegetarians and vegans use this phrase as if it were the exclamation point ending every sentence.  The theory is that if we didn’t feed so much grain to livestock, we could feed the world with those grains.  That’s fine with me, because I don’t consume products made from grains nor from livestock raised on grains.  All livestock animals, including cattle, sheep, goats and even chickens didn’t evolve to eat a grain based diet and their health suffers as a consequence.  Feedlot animals require antibiotics to stay alive and render inferior food products.  The reason grains are fed to livestock is simple – to fatten them up for slaughter quicker.  Yet, somehow TPTB have convinced people that these same “Heart Healthy Grains” that make livestock fat and sick will somehow make humans lean and healthy.  How’s that working out for us so far?

So if we were to allow livestock ruminants to thrive on their natural diets of grasses, would we truly feed the world with all that extra grain?  We actually produce enough food now to feed the world, even in spite of the grains fed to farm animals.  Excess grains are purchased to produce tons of processed foods, snacks and other confections.  Corn is processed into high fructose corn syrup for sodas, juices and a whole host of processed swill.  Wheat is used for the baking of snack cakes, cookies, pies, donuts and every other baked goodies you can think of.  Tons of grains are used annually in the brewing and distillation of alcoholic beverages.  Funny, I have never heard anyone reciting; “If we just gave up junk food, sodas and beer, we could feed the world.”.  And it goes far beyond edible products.  Grains have thousands of industrial uses.  Wheat is used to make industrial adhesives, soaps, cosmetics and many other products.

So much grain is produced in the world, that inventors stay up nights designing more products that can utilize them – we even burn them as fuel.  Why are they not being used to “feed the world”?  The answer is simple economics.  Selling grains to the impoverish is less profitable than selling Little Debbie Snack Cakes to people with money to burn.  We also have the problem of dictatorships.  Many starving people live in nations where their leaders are the cause of their starvation.  These dictators and warlords can use hunger as a weapon to control their populace or sell grains on the world market in exchange for weapons, fuel or any other commodity that will empower them, rather than distribute the food to their people.

When first world nations, such as the U.S., have sent tons of grains into starving countries, the cheaper cost of the imported grains only served to put the local farmers out of business.  The poverty-stricken farmers cannot afford the huge tractors, combines, irrigation, petroleum fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides that make agriculture more abundant in the U.S., not to mention the government subsidizing, which lowers the cost.   They are often times driven out of work and have to abandon their farms.  This huge inflow of grains to the market has historically proven to only cause more starvation and disruption of the local economy.

Some people live in a fantasy world, where simply reducing or abstaining from animal products will somehow “feed the world”.  This is a pretty anemic effort which may somehow boost their self-righteousness, but does nothing to solve the problem.  If there is no profit in raising grain crops, growers will simply stop raising them and go into a more lucrative venture.  Plenty of U.S. Tax dollars go to shipping grains to third world nations only to make their governments fatter, not the people.  How is dropping meat from your diet going to change that?  Are those people suggesting that we overthrow every rogue government in the world and occupy their country?  Should we behave as an empire?  Truth is, such idealists have never given it enough thought to understand why there are starving people.  They are the masters of “soundbite recital” and it becomes that much more laughable when it comes from a rotund individual.

According to William Davis M.D., in his book “Wheat Belly”, geneticists created a new hybrid of dwarf wheat that could yield more grain per acre less than 50 years ago.  The mission statement of these scientists was the promise that it would “feed the world”.  They were successful in creating this frankenwheat and it increased the production of wheat in the western world.  Did it feed the world?  No, it only drove down the wheat prices and made flour cheaper and readily available for more junk food and confections.  It was also successful in creating new strains of gluten protein, causing a quadrupling in celiac disease and a multitude of other gluten related illnesses.  I’m not against feeding the world – it’s a great idea.  I just don’t believe that abstaining from meat and increasing grain harvests will accomplish that.  It will only create more products for consumption by the richer.

World hunger is more of an economic and political issue than the lack of food.  Excess production of grains only led to cheaper food prices which made it possible for people to gorge themselves into obesity.  Maybe we could liposuction all the fat from overweight westerners and feed it to the poor.  People are always more willing to give up their extra fat than their snack cakes and chips.  Hell, I imagine even saturated human fat is healthier than grains.  These foreign nations would most likely become more robust on human lipids than our lardbutt, sickly, grain-eating society and turn around and kick our ass.  As far as I’m concerned, we can send every last grain grown here to the starving people of the world – I have no use for them.