Break New Ground....Build More Beds.....Get More Pots Growing

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I's lookin'...........not too good.
Lawns need to be turned to gardens, every porch and balcony needs to be farmed. Like it was in the forties and fifties with "victory gardens" and such.
Charlie --------------------------------------
http://countercurrents.org/howden230607.htm
The Fight For The World's Food
By Daniel Howden
23 June, 2007 The Independent
Most people in Britain won't have noticed. On the supermarket shelves the signs are still subtle. But the onset of a major change will be sitting in front of many people this morning in their breakfast bowl. The price of cereals in this country has jumped by 12 per cent in the past year. And the cost of milk on the global market has leapt by nearly 60 per cent. In short we may be reaching the end of cheap food.
For those of us who have grown up in post-war Britain food prices have gone only one way, and that is down. Sixty years ago an average British family spent more than one-third of its income on food. Today, that figure has dropped to one-tenth. But for the first time in generations agricultural commodity prices are surging with what analysts warn will be unpredictable consequences.
Like any other self-respecting trend this one now has its own name: agflation. Beneath this harmless-sounding piece of jargon - the conflation of agriculture and inflation - lie two main drivers that suggest that cheap food is about to become a thing of the past. Agflation, to those that believe that it is really happening, is an increase in the price of food that occurs as a result of increased demand from human consumption and the diversion of crops into usage as an alternative energy resource.
On the one hand the growing affluence of millions of people in China and India is creating a surge in demand for food - the rising populations are not content with their parents' diet and demand more meat. On the other, is the use of food crops as a source of energy in place of oil, the so-called bio-fuels boom.
As these two forces combine they are setting off warning bells around the world.
Rice prices are climbing worldwide. Butter prices in Europe have spiked by 40 per cent in the past year. Wheat futures are trading at their highest level for a decade. Global soybean prices have risen by a half. Pork prices in China are up 20 per cent on last year and the food price index in India was up by 11 per cent year on year. In Mexico there have been riots in response to a 60 per cent rise in the cost of tortillas.
It has even revived discussion of the work of the 18th-century British thinker Robert Malthus. He predicted that the growth of the world's population would outstrip its ability to produce food, leading to mass starvation.
So far in Britain we have been insulated from the early effects of these price rises by the competitive nature of our retail system. But the supermarkets cannot shield us for long. The European Commission no longer has reserves to help cushion its citizens. Its mountains of unsold butter and meat and its lake of powdered milk have disappeared after reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy.
Then there is corn. While relatively little corn is eaten directly it is of pivotal importance to the food economy as so much of it is consumed indirectly. The milk, eggs, cheese, butter, chicken, beef, ice cream and yoghurt in the average fridge is all produced using corn and the price of every one of these is influenced by the price of corn. In effect, our fridges are full of corn.
In the past 12 months the global corn price has doubled. The constant aim of agriculture is to produce enough food to carry us over to the next harvest. In six of the past seven years, we have used more grain worldwide than we have produced. As a result world grain reserves - or carryover stocks - have dwindled to 57 days. This is the lowest level of grain reserves in 34 years.
The reason for the price surge is the wholesale diversion of grain crops into the production of ethanol. Thirty per cent of next year's grain harvest in the US will go straight to an ethanol distillery. As the US supplies more than two-thirds of the world's grain imports this unprecedented move will affect food prices everywhere. In Europe farmers are switching en masse to fuel crops to meet the EU requirement that bio-fuels account for 20 per cent of the energy mix.
Ethanol is almost universally popular with politicians as it allows them to tell voters to keep on motoring, while bio-fuels will fix the problem of harmful greenhouse gas emissions. But bio-fuels are not a green panacea, as the influential economist Lester Brown from the Earth Policy Institute explained in a briefing to the US Senate last week. He said: "The stage is now set for direct competition for grain between the 800 million people who own automobiles, and the world's 2 billion poorest people."
Already there are signs that the food economy is merging with the fuel economy. The ethanol boom has seen sugar prices track oil prices and now the same is set to happen with grain, Mr Brown argues. "As the price of oil climbs so will the price of food," he says. "If oil jumps from $60 a barrel to $80, you can bet that your supermarket bills will also go up."
In the developed world this could mean a change of lifestyle. Elsewhere it could cost lives. Soaring food prices have already sparked riots in poor countries that depend on grain imports. More will follow. After decades of decline in the number of starving people worldwide the numbers are starting to rise. The UN lists 34 countries as needing food aid. Since feeding programmes tend to have fixed budgets, a doubling in the price of grain halves food aid.
Anger boiled over this week as Jean Ziegler, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, accused the US and EU of "total hypocrisy" for promoting ethanol production in order to reduce their dependence on imported oil. He said producing ethanol instead of food would condemn hundreds of thousands of people to death from hunger.
Population and starvation
* Robert Thomas Malthus was a political economist who shot to prominence in late 18th century Britain. His Essay on the Principle of Population influenced generations of thinkers with its prediction that the world's population would outgrow its food supply, prompting starvation on an epic scale. "The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race," he wrote. "Gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear." But Malthus predicted disaster to strike in the mid-19th century.
2007 Independent News and Media Limited
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<Charlie> wrote in message > I's lookin'...........not too good.

Food prices may be surging, but I can tell you first hand that the farmers pay has barely increased. We've barely broke even the last couple of years, what with the price of fuel, equipment, equipment up-keep, etc. And we don't even have employees to pay. To top it off, there's the self-employment tax, to eat up half the tax return.
Hay will be in short-supply this year also. What with the late freeze and with the drought we have here, there's not much hay growing. We've only had one good cutting this year. Last year at this time, the fields had already been cut 3 or 4 times. (have to check the books on that - but I know 3 times for sure!)
Definitely planted more in the garden this year, and the way things are going, I might plant alot more too, try my hand with more late crops in the garden. Can barely afford the grocery prices now - especially in the meat department. Guess we're gonna have to raise some pigs and a few more cows...................
Rae
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the
Yeah the price of chicken has doubled in the last month(I'm sure most of that is based on the tainted pet food issues) in our area. Thing is, we've got quite a few chickens, but mom has issues with killing/eating something she's raised(even though I'm the one that takes care of them), but I finally got her to let me at least slaughter our excess roosters. I know rooster meat is supposed to be good only if you boil/slow cook it for a long time, but I'm thinking of using our meat grinder and having ground chicken. I'm very happy our yukon gold potatoes are doing well, I can make homemade potato chips, and grate them as well and freeze them(for hashbrowns whenever we want), etc...
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Lots of money to made in agriculture, if your not growing it. Think Cargill, and Archer Daniel Midlands.
According to Michael Pollan (Omnivore's Dilemma): pg.45 - 46
Corn adapted brilliantly (1950's); to the new industrial regime, consuming prodigious quantities of fossil fuel energy and turning out ever more prodigious quantities of food energy. More than half of all the synthetic nitrogen made today is applied to corn, whose hybrid strains can make better use of it than any other plant. Growing corn, which from a biological perspective had always been a process of capturing sunlight to turn it into food, has in no small measure become a process of converting fossil fuels into food. This shift explains the color of the land: The reason Greene County is no longer green for half the year is because the farmer who can buy synthetic fertility no longer needs cover crops to capture a whole year's worth of sunlight; he has plugged himself into a new source of energy. When you add together the natural gas in the fertilizer to the fossil fuels it takes to make the pesticides, drive the tractors, and harvest, dry, and transport the corn, you find that every bushel of industrial corn requires the equivalent of between a quarter and a third of a gallon of oil to grow it-or around fifty gallons of oil per acre of corn. (Some estimates are much higher.) Put another way, it takes more than a calorie of fossil fuel energy to produce a calorie of food; before the advent of chemical fertilizer the Naylor farm produced more than two calories of food energy for every calorie of energy invested. From the standpoint of industrial efficiency, it's too bad we can't simply drink the petroleum directly.
Ecologically this is a fabulously expensive way to produce food-but technologically" is no longer the operative standard. As long as fossil fuel energy is so cheap and available, it makes good economic sense to produce corn this way. The old way of growing corn - using fertility drawn from the sun - may have been the biological equivalent of a free lunch, but the service was much slower and the portions were much skimpier. In the factory time is money, and yield is everything. One problem with factories, as compared to biological systems, is that they tend to pollute. Hungry for fossil fuel as hybrid corn is, farmers still feed it far more than it can possibly eat, wasting most of the fertilizer they buy. Maybe it's applied at the wrong time of year; maybe it runs off the fields in the rain; maybe the farmer puts down extra just to play it safe. They say you only need a hundred pounds per acre. I don't know. I'm putting on up to two hundred. You don't want to err on the side of too little," Naylor explained to me, a bit sheepishly. It's a form of yield insurance." --------
And with what we know now, this "crop insurance" is sterilizing the land an polluting the water. (Billy)
But for the sake of this conversation the most important line is, "it takes more than a calorie of fossil fuel energy to produce a calorie of food". More corn grown = more oil used. Price of oil goes up. Price of food goes up.
Who could have guessed?
Meanwhile, the housing bubble bursts and fewer people have ground to grow crops. Money becomes more and more, our only access to food. In Germany, where most people live in high density appartment houses, people rent small plots of ground (Grund Stuck) so that they can have a garden.
This is a great time to live for conspiracy theorists.
--
Billy
Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
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Buy stock in fertilizer company's MON, TNH you can make some money. Check them out. I just sold they had such a run, but I sold too early TNH went up 30 right after I sold it and I made 10 on it. I pulled out of the market because its been going a little to good.
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You pulled out of the market because you think it's been doing too good, but yet you are recommending it to others????
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I fill there is still a lot to make in the long run. I go in and out of the market. When I see a pullback I will re-enter.

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I'm a little unclear here.
Is this Terra Nitrogen Co LP TNH, based in Souix CIty, that you are suggesting?
What do you think, Billy? Does this sound like a good place to put your money?
BTW....those tomatoes still getting worse?
Charlie
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Cranial rectal inversion is what I would call it. Obviously Aluckyguess is maxed out at his shoulders. If your not waiting for the raptures, this is a real Judas moment. Silver for your soul. Good for your portfolio, greases the slide to hell.
--
Billy
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wrote:

Maxed out at his shoulders? Not waiting for any raptures. I forgot a lot of you are against anything that is not organic. I was just trying to help "Obviously" some have it all figured out. I just like gardening and would own a ranch, farm if the wife would go, but she would be way to expensive to replace and I would miss the kids. So as I grease my slide to hell I will try to enjoy the ride. I hope you enjoys yours.
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wrote:

I'll do the best I can. Don't take it too personally. It's happened to me at least several times over the years. You took care of you and yours without concern for the ramifications of your actions. You only paid 15% capital gains on your earnings. You did well. I'm sure that the faceless predator that gets you will be using the same game plan, nothing personal.
Getting a farm or ranch, right now, would be sticking your head into the predator's mouth. The farmer, George Nayler, in "Omnivore's Dilemma", was able to farm his land by grace of his wife's (Peggy) paycheck. Not a life style to be envied.
War certainly seems like a good investment these days, and for the foreseeable future, with so many "anal sphincters" calling for an endless war against terrorists. When the multi-nationals move in and push the locals aside, the locals will push back. Pushing back will be called terrorism.
Enjoy your earnings.
--
Billy
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wrote:

Along this line, it seems we have more unholy alliances being formed than I realized.
http://alternet.org/environment/54218 /
excerpt:
"The rapid capitalization and concentration of power within the agro-fuels industry is breathtaking. From 2004 to 2007, venture capital investment in agro-fuels increased eightfold. Private investment is swamping public research institutions, as evidenced by BP's recent award of half a billion dollars to the University of California. In open defiance of national anti-trust laws, giant oil, grain, auto and genetic engineering corporations are forming powerful partnerships: ADM with Monsanto, Chevron and Volkswagen, BP with DuPont and Toyota. These corporations are consolidating research, production, processing and distribution chains of our food and fuel system under one colossal, industrial roof."
Lookin' worser really faster, it is, Billy.
Charlie
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Slaughter them as soon as you know that they are roosters and not hens and they are good to eat.

Or make a slow cooked curry or any slow cooked casserole.
I'm

Speaking of hash browns, how do you make them? I have them once a month at a restaurant for breakfast but as they aren't a common thing in my country, I've never known how to make them.
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<snip hashbrown questions>
I just use a cheese grater(specifically the side with the largest holes), and grate the potatoes, then fry/saute them in a pan with some butter/oil until they're cooked(either by being golden brown or translucent, depending on how crisp ya want them). You can add seasonings like salt/pepper if you want. Though at the cafe I worked at for a few months, we'd always boil the potatoes til they're halfway soft first, then refrigerate them til we need them. Cause grating 'raw' potatoes, they are kinda tough.
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Ok, I normally fix the hashbrowns with some bell pepper and onion cooked with them, sometimes throw in some grated cheese.
Do you cook them any before you freeze them though? or just grate and freeze?
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| > <snip hashbrown questions> | > | > I just use a cheese grater(specifically the side with the largest holes), | > and grate the potatoes, then fry/saute them in a pan with some butter/oil | > until they're cooked(either by being golden brown or translucent, | > depending | > on how crisp ya want them). You can add seasonings like salt/pepper if you | > want. Though at the cafe I worked at for a few months, we'd always boil | > the | > potatoes til they're halfway soft first, then refrigerate them til we need | > them. Cause grating 'raw' potatoes, they are kinda tough. | > | Ok, I normally fix the hashbrowns with some bell pepper and onion cooked | with them, sometimes throw in some grated cheese. | | Do you cook them any before you freeze them though? or just grate and | freeze? | |
If I may interject. I would do potatoes like you do for potato salad. Boiled whole. Then cooled and skin taken off. Then grated. Then frozen. Try not to let them get smashed/mushed before they are frozen.
When you go to cook them you'd add onion, green pepper is that's what you like. I sometimes put tomatoes in mine at the end of cooking.
Then some oil in the heated pan and then put some of the frozen grated potatoes along with any extras you like.
Kimberly
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Or German Potato Pancakes
Ingredients: 1 kg raw potatoes 1 medium onion 1 or 2 eggs 3 to 4 tbsp flour salt oil
Preparation: Grate potatoes, not too finely, put them into a sieve and press the water out of them. Grate the onion very finely. Mix onion, potatoes and egg(s) together with some salt and the flour. Heat some oil in a frying pan. For each pancake, put about 3 tbsp of the mixture into the pan and form it into a flat pancake. Fry both sides until golden. Serve immediately, sprinkled with salt or sugar, together with applesauce.
--
--
Billy
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In article

Forgot to mention, I never put potatoes into a sieve. Just grate and add onions, et al. Also I don't use apple sauce. I usually serve with schnitzel and red cabbage and / or saurekraute.
--
Billy
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Ah! Good old Latkes. Is that what a hashbrown is supposed to be?
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In article

G'day Love, I'm not really sure myself now. When I've had them in cafes, here in California, they seem like a plate of sauteed, cubed potatoes, loose cubed french fries (frites), is used as the base for a composition of different ingredients (sausage, cheese, onions) as in a rice dish. When I look for a recipe though, they are more like kartoffelpfannkuchen, latkes, or knishes? Makes a feller wonder.
I don't know if I've clarified the answer or confused the question.
Take care,
--
Billy
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