Wheat and rice

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I made bread today. Not unusual, though I think that this is going to become a less frequent activity, not just for me but for many people. Have you noticed it’s harder to find flour? For a while I was buying organic wholewheat flour from Extra Foods, a supermarket that I visit each week for some of the basics. Then they stopped stocking it. I found a different brand at a nearer smaller store, but after only a short while of buying it there, I couldn’t find it. Now my last hope, my regular health food store, has had dwindling supplies and what they do have has gone up in price – a lot.

Apparently there is a wheat shortage. I read in the New Scientist that a mould is threatening the main wheat growing areas in Eastern Europe.

Now, what would we do without wheat? Well, I know we’d survive. Where we live, we have a lot of food choices. Not only that, but having done the reading about raw and living foods, I know that people can be perfectly healthy without grains. They are not an essential part of our diet, and in fact can cause health problems, especially those that contain gluten.

However I realise that in many parts of the world, taking wheat away could lead to starvation, as it would take some time to plant alternative crops and they may not be able to afford to import what they need.

What annoys me is that people plant massive areas of land in a single crop, therefore leaving themselves open to hunger if a bug or mould comes along that attacks that crop. Why do we leave ourselves so open to disaster? Diversity is what’s needed.

I would love to see each city, town or community being as self-sufficient as possible. R and I were talking yesterday about how quickly the entire infrastructure would break down if just one link in the chain of supply was to break. What if we didn’t have fuel? No trucks to bring our food to stock the stores, no garbage trucks to take away our waste – most of us would be in dire straits after only a week or two without the convenience of all we take for granted.

This is a big subject, and not one I want to delve into too far, because I’d rather focus on the positive.

I’ll end on a good note. The health food store was out of the usual agave this week, so I bought some rice syrup. Wow, this stuff tastes good. R and I, being brought up as carnivores (!) unlike our children, have had honey before, and rice syrup is very similar in taste and texture. We all like it.

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