There is significant indication that the infamous and long-standing world food shortage is nearing its end; indicators enough to suggest checking the possible trend. Consider:
- Old truth: Hungry children in China need the food that American children leave on their plates.
- New truth: There is now abundant rice in China. Rice production by Chinese farmers is up sharply, some years to the point of a surplus. Rice, of course, is nearly a complete food nutritionally.
- In the USA as well, grain production is up strongly. For example, in 1980 we harvested 6.64 billion bushels (bb) of our main grain, corn. In 2010, corn production had climbed to 12.45 bb. And in 2020 it reached 14.2 bb.
I’m talking field corn of course, not sweet corn that us humans consume. Field corn is fed to livestock and poultry that eventually are human food.
- Global meat production over the past 50 years has more than tripled. Annual output now totals 340 million metric tonnes.
Turning to local, in recent days this blogger has been introduced to the rapidly expanding free food distribution system in Minneapolis. With a friend I visited Community Emergency Service (CES), a major distributor of food by way of a food shelf and Meals on Wheels. My friend and others take home or are delivered grocery bags of canned and fresh vegetables and fruit, bread, frozen meat, juice, etc. Value per person served: $40 per visit.
Mike Lloyd, 70, executive director at CES, said the non-profit organization delivers groceries to 900 home-bound clients. Most of them are low-income seniors. Other seniors and many young families visit CES monthly for grocery selection. Meals on Wheels and home delivered grocery deliveries are primarily to seniors.
The success of CES is no fluke. There are many food shelves throughout Minnesota. A printed pass-out available at CES’s main entrance lists 30 Minneapolis food shelf enterprises with significant details of information as to location, mode of operation, size, and unique policies.
I also talked by telephone with Gina Williams, a site coordinator for one of the food shelves mentioned on the pass-out. The firm she works for, Senior Food Shelf, is located on Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis. “Our distribution of food actually is down right now,” she explained. “The government’s cash payments and food hand-outs during the pandemic did help people and they’ve visited their food shelfs less. Eventually we expect to be back to our normal 300 to 400 visits per month.”
Mike Lloyd has been the chief at CES nine years. After college he worked for Minnesota’s Taylor Corporation where he saw the company grow from 200 to 15,000 employees over 35 years. Mike was president of two Taylor divisions.
In his late 50’s, Mike decided he wanted to do something more mission-driven. Eventually that led him to CES. “My Dad died when I was nine,” he explained. “I’ve experienced having no food at all in our house. “ We were really poor. Our income was $300-$400 a month, for myself, three brothers and our mother. I started working at age 14, for 90 cents an hour.
“I feel God called me to come to work here to help CES become a viable 501C-3 non-profit organization,” remarked Mike.
Augustana resident Bernice Buch, 95, has been a CES food shelf client two years. She usually walks the three long blocks between her apartment and CES, bringing back two large sacks of groceries.
“It helps me control my grocery budget,” she remarked. .
As she talked I observed that she was sitting prayerfully in a church pew surrounded by walls with beautiful stained glass windows. Church services are held here regularly.
At home, Bernice occupies her time by cooking, occasionally for a neighbor. As well, she has two computers she uses to do email, internet searches, and to watch history programs
Credit this blog’s opening headline, “The World is full of Food” to friend, Phil Manz. He’s CEO of an animal shelter. Along with his eye-opening statement, he brought and sat on my kitchen counter a half-gallon of potato salad and a quart of crushed tomatoes, the tomatoes for soup, I guess.
My, yes, lots of food!
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