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Have we reached peak food?

| Modified 11 Feb, 2016 | Views 725

Will 'heat or eat' became a reality if we keep using more land for renewable energy?


Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow

Food shortage

The world has entered an era of “peak food” production with an array of staples from corn and rice to wheat and chicken slowing in growth – with potentially disastrous consequences for feeding the planet.

New research finds that the supply of 21 staples, such as eggs, meat, vegetables and soybeans is already beginning to run out of momentum, while the global population continues to soar.

Peak chicken was in 2006, while milk and wheat both peaked in 2004 and rice peaked way back in 1988, according to new research from Yale University, Michigan State University and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany.

What makes the report particularly alarming is that so many crucial sources of food have peaked in a relatively short period of history, the researchers said.

The simultaneous peaking of the world’s basic foodstuffs is largely down to the competing demands of a mushrooming population, which is putting ever-greater strain on the land for housing, agriculture, business and infrastructure. At the same time, producing more of any one staple requires the use of extra land and water, which increases their scarcity and makes it harder to increase food production in the future.

With solar and wind farms and ethanol competing for land with agriculture, should we re-evaluate our priorities? Will 'heat or eat" became a reality if we keep using more land for renewable energy? Are there alternative energy sources that do not destroy our farm and grazing land?

While the peak production study suggests a doubling of food output could well be impossible, Dr Foley points out that, since 30 to 40 per cent of the food grown globally for human consumption never gets eaten, eliminating waste would go a long way to feeding the growing population.

Locally grown food seems like a good alternative with less waste due to shipping. But in Alberta, the government appears to be passing laws that discourage 'locally grown'. Carbon taxes - higher heating cost and Bill 6 - increasing wages. [2]

References

1. Have we reached 'peak food'? http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/have-we-reached-peak-food-shortages-loom-as-global-production-rates-slow-10009185.html
2. Government in local food fight over Bill 6, carbon tax and minimum wage. Calgary food grower says Alberta's NDP government is putting him out of business after 23 years. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-grower-food-fight-bill6-1.3368376


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