I have been trying to follow the recent news in Russia about their damaging fires and record heat waves. The 100+ degree weather is very unusual for them and most homes there do not have central air. My heart goes out to them as the fires have been wiping out some of their vast wheat fields--one of their staple crops and major exports.
We traveled through the Ukraine many times back in the nineties, and although that may seem like a long time ago, things really haven't changed much. I remember passing through fields and fields of sunflowers (for oil production) and wheat/oats/barley fields--all done on massive scales. They call the Ukraine "The Bread Basket" because of their large amounts of grain production. But ironically in the homes we stayed in, they struggled to provide bread on the dinner table. This paradox was mind-boggling:how could so much grain not be translating into provision for the local families? Simple: the government developed the land for commodity exports, to be used on a global scale, overlooking the needs of the local village dweller. The profit, if any, was kept at the government level. To add more fuel to the fire, the locals told us that approximately 50% of the crop never ever made it as a finished product--somewhere along the way, equipment would break down, fuel or gas costs would soar too high to continue the project, drought would kill half the crop, or simply, money would run out to pay the workers. So, many times, the local villages would watch as entire crops would go unharvested and another season would be wasted. I cannot imagine how demoralizing and hopeless that must feel, if you are struggling to provide bread for your family. We can hardly stand to let a tomato go to waste--even after eating them till our bellies are full!
Hopefully now, on the production end, things are better in the Ukraine, but I can't help to think about the questions these scenarios raise like: What is the government's role in providing for its people? Should we really rely on it to feed us? Haven't I eaten far better after taking our food matters into my own hands anyway?
Kudos to you, for investing in a local CSA, providing for your family nutrient-dense food and taking food matters into your own hands. The global corporate food systems would go the way of the Ukraine, but here, I'd prefer to put food on my table.