America is currently under assault, and in ways the news media has all but overlooked. The aggression to which I’m referring concerns the ongoing threat to the U.S. food supply.
First, let’s consider the rapid disappearance of U.S. farmland — now evaporating at a rate of 175 acres per hour, according to the American Farmland Trust. A quick calculation will show that this equates to 4200 acres lost in every 24-hour period. The AFT reports “One major reason, which has spiraling effects, is that farming is an incredibly difficult, and not a very lucrative career path. The average age of the American farmer was nearly 60 in 2012, and as those farmers retire or pass away, successive generations turn elsewhere for jobs, the land goes fallow and is sold off. Another reason: it’s sometimes simply worth more to sell farmland rather than actually farm the land, especially if that farmland is near a city or town.”
To add insult to injury, nearly 30 million acres of our farmland has been bought by foreign investors. Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Media Relations, Ty Higgins, told National Public Radio in a May interview that “Once a foreign entity buys up however many acres they want, Americans might never be able to secure that land again. So, once we lose it, we may lose it for good.”
According to an article in Forbes, “Farmers are pretty much under stress all the time since many factors that affect their livelihood are outside of their control. However, over the past few years the combination of lower prices, rain that has created havoc with their ability to plant and finally China freezing the imports of U.S. grown crops due to President Trump’s tariffs has unfortunately created almost the perfect storm against them.”
Additionally, The Guardian reports that “Americans waste about a pound of food per person each day, with people who have healthier diets rich in fruit and vegetables the most wasteful, research has found.” This problem has been manifested in two significant ways, both of which are preventable. First, restaurant patrons are often overwhelmed by the attractive offerings on menus. As a result, some order more than they can eat, and the rest goes to waste. Furthermore, consumers in supermarkets take home far too many groceries, pack them into the fridge, and by the time they get around to eating them, they’ve reached their expiration dates. More food, down the drain.
About 150,000 tons of food is tossed out in US households each day, equivalent to about a third of the daily calories that each American consumes. Fruit and vegetables were the most likely to be thrown out, followed by dairy and then meat.
With the immense, ongoing loss that surrounds us every day, one can only wonder: Who will be feeding us 20 years from now? And should any of us feel confident that our broken-down government will take steps to help solve these problems?