Peak Oil => Peak Food

Here's an AP article I saw in the Washington Post, headlined US Official: Poor nations must learn to grow food.

Y'know, the whole "teach someone to fish" argument explains this pretty well. Still, it's a bit of a reversal of long-standing U.S. policy, where we have the world's most productive farms, generate huge surpluses, and then sell/give surplus grain to other countries. The U.S. Gov't has long propped up farms through subsidies. Why wouldn't we want to keep supplying grain to other countries, then, especially in a world where we're knocking down barriers to global trade?

There are good development arguments to be made about why countries should grow their own food. However, the single-biggest reason why U.S. farms became so productive is because of the widespread use of fertilizer. Making fertilizer requires oil. In large measure, we've been eating oil.

The use of fertilizer and refinement of seeds and agricultural methods in the 20th century were a sort of Moore's Law. But the high rate of productivity improvement has probably run its course. The U.S. isn't going to be able to feed the rest of the world, especially if we're going to stop eating oil. I think this is part of that acknowledgment.

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