40 Million Americans Already Don’t Have Enough Food To Eat – And Here Is Why It Will Soon Get A Lot Worse

The things that I am going to share with you in this article are definitely very alarming.  But if you live in a wealthy neighborhood and are always surrounded by other wealthy individuals that never have to worry about missing a meal, then some of the numbers in this article may not ring true to you.  Today, the gap between the wealthy and the poor in the United States is larger than ever, and many wealthy Americans don’t have too much sympathy for the struggles that other people are going through.  But the truth is that most Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck.  And when you are living right on the edge financially, there are times when it can be really tough to even afford the basic necessities.  If you have never had to miss a meal involuntarily, good for you.  Unfortunately, there are millions upon millions of Americans for which hunger is a very real problem.

If you had to guess, what would you say if someone asked you how many Americans struggle with food insecurity each year?

According to a CBS News article that was published a few months ago, “roughly 4o million people” struggle with not having enough food to eat…

The U.S. economy is enjoying nearly a decade of expansion since the Great Recession. Yet food insecurity — a lack of money or resources to secure enough to eat — still grips almost one in eight Americans. That’s roughly 40 million people. While slowly improving, that figure remains stubbornly higher than before the recession, when more than one in 10 U.S. residents had difficulty knowing when and how they might eat next, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Hungry people live in every county in America, according to the latest annual research from nonprofit relief organization Feeding America. It compiled federal and other data for 2017, its ninth year examining the issue, for a report called Map the Meal Gap. Feeding America serves 4 billion meals each year for one in eight Americans through 200 food banks and 60,000 meal programs and pantries.

We should be incredibly thankful for Feeding America and their vast network of food banks and pantries, but what happens when the need for food dramatically escalates and the food banks start running empty?

Just a few days ago I heard from a good friend in the middle of the country, and she told me that her local food bank is really pressing hard for donations right now because things are starting to get really, really right.

And we haven’t even officially entered the next recession yet.

Normally there wouldn’t be too much reason for concern, but this has definitely not been a normal year.  Crops have been failing across the globe, and African swine fever is killing millions upon millions of pigs all over the planet.

In fact, thanks to the horrific outbreak of African swine fever in China, pork prices over there are 69.3 percent higher than they were a year ago…

Pork prices in China jumped 69.3% in September from a year ago as the country continued to battle a shortage of the meat that followed an outbreak of African swine fever.

Last month’s surge in pork prices was higher compared to the 46.7% increase seen in August, according to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics. That pushed up food prices in China by 11.2% in September, accelerating from the previous month’s 10% gain.

If that sounds really bad to you, that is because it is really bad.

And what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning.

One of the big reasons why the Chinese just agreed to buy billions of dollars worth of our agricultural products is because they have a desperate need for them.

Here in the United States, food prices have also been rising steadily and we were already going to be facing one of the worst years for Midwest farmers ever, and now an unprecedented October blizzard is going to cause widespread crop failures.

An absolutely massive storm just dumped very deep snow from Colorado to Minnesota, and it hit just as farmers were getting ready to harvest their corn and soybeans.

As I noted in a different article that I just posted, one lawmaker in North Dakota is telling the press that we should expect “massive crop losses – as devastating as we’ve ever seen”.

Millions of acres of corn and soybeans are going to be “a total loss”, and that means that all of us will soon be facing higher food prices at the supermarket.

If you are independently wealthy and food prices don’t really matter to you, then you are in good shape.

But for the rest of us, these higher prices are going to be quite painful.  I would encourage you to stock up ahead of time (#ad) while you still can.

Earlier this year, I extensively documented the major problems that farmers in the Midwest were having with rain and flooding, and I warned that we were potentially facing a disastrous harvest season.

Well, now that this historic blizzard has wiped out millions of acres of crops, we are potentially facing a scenario that is far worse than anything that I originally warned about.

That means that soon far more than 40 million Americans will be dealing with food insecurity.  Much higher prices at the grocery store will make it much more difficult for most of us to afford the basic necessities, and those on the bottom rungs of the economic pyramid will suffer more than anyone else.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep.  I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters.  (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing those books you help to support my work.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles in written form on their own websites as long as this “About the Author” section is included.  In order to comply with government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished.  This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate.  You can follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of this website.

 

“An Estimated 150-200 Million Pigs” Have Been Hit By A Global Plague Of Biblical Proportions

African Swine Fever is the greatest threat to global food production that we have seen since World War II ended.  As you will see below, the disease has now spread “to every province in mainland China”, and it has now infected “an estimated 150-200 million pigs”.  To put that number in perspective, that is more pigs than the entire U.S. pork industry produces in an entire year.  In other words, the equivalent of the entire U.S. pork industry has just been wiped out.  On top of that, African Swine Fever has also spread to Cambodia, Tibet, Romania, South Africa and Vietnam.  The losses are staggering, and this crisis continues to get worse with each passing week.

Earlier today I came across a Canadian news article entitled “Why bacon could get a lot more expensive”, and in that article a Canadian expert claimed that there are “tens of millions of pigs who have disappeared” in China…

“The meat of choice in China is pig and disease has been devastating for them,” Friendship said. “They have lost a lot of pigs and they will be doing lots of culling.”

He noted that although official figures from China suggest the outbreak’s effect have been minimal, experts estimate that “we’re dealing with tens of millions of pigs who have disappeared.”

Friendship estimated the decrease in pigs is roughly the equivalent of what Canada and the U.S. produce combined. And this lack has created a vacuum.

That claim is consistent with the information that I put into an article about this crisis a few weeks ago, but I decided to go hunting for some even newer numbers.

So eventually I ended up over at PorkBusiness.com, and according to them African Swine Fever “is now affecting an estimated 150-200 million pigs” in China…

Production losses from African swine fever (ASF) have eclipsed initial estimates, Rabobank said on Thursday. In 2019, Rabobank expects Chinese pork production losses of 25% to 35%, creating new challenges and opportunities for animal protein exporters.

“African Swine Fever has spread to every province in mainland China and is now affecting an estimated 150-200 million pigs,” said Christine McCracken, RaboResearch animal protein analyst. “The expected 30% loss in pork production is unprecedented. These losses cannot easily be replaced by other proteins like chicken, duck and seafood, nor will larger pork imports be able to fully offset the loss.”

When I use the term “plague”, I am not using it lightly.  I have never heard of a single disease wiping out this many farm animals before.

Have you?

We are potentially talking about an absolutely crippling blow to the global food supply.

And pork prices are already starting to skyrocket.  The following comes from the same Canadian article that I mentioned earlier

At the beginning of 2019, Canadian farmers earned $150 for every pig shipped to market but now they’re making between $220 to $225, he said.

Since first being detected on a small hog farm in northern China last August, African Swine Fever has spread like wildfire, but so far it hasn’t reached the United States.

And U.S. farmers are doing all that they can to keep that from happening, because African Swine Fever can have a mortality rate “as high as 100% within 2-10 days”

ASF is a highly contagious viral disease that causes death in domestic and wild pigs of all ages. Symptoms include high fever, decreased appetite and weakness, red, blotchy skin or skin lesions; diarrhea and vomiting; and coughing and difficulty in breathing. Mortality rate is as high as 100% within 2-10 days.

Even if a pig survives African Swine Fever, it is often culled anyway to help prevent the spread of the disease.

There is no vaccine, and there is no cure.  And even if this outbreak was ended immediately, it would likely take the Chinese pork industry many years to recover.  The following comes from CNN

“China normally accounts for 49% of global pork consumption, while consuming 28% of the world’s meat supply,” said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at INTL FCStone. “As such, this is a big problem for China, and we expect it to be a five to seven year problem before production can be restored.”

Of course this outbreak is not likely to end any time soon.  In fact, all of the experts expect African Swine Fever to continue to spread.

So pork prices will continue to skyrocket, and prices for chicken and beef will also rise aggressively as many consumers shift to alternatives to pork.

Unfortunately most people still don’t seem to understand what we are facing.  In this country, most Americans are partying instead of preparing, and that is a huge mistake.

And the mainstream media certainly is not helping.  Millions upon millions of pigs really are dying all over the globe, and yet there is barely a peep about this crisis on our major news networks.

We’ll see what happens.  Hopefully this outbreak will subside and things will return to normal.

But so far that hasn’t happened, and African Swine Fever just continues to spread.

If it starts spreading in North America too, there is going to be a lot of panic and the mainstream media will be forced to start paying a lot of attention to this story.

Over the coming months, supplies of pork are going to get tighter and tighter, and prices are going to shoot higher and higher.

We have never faced a crisis quite like this, and nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Hundreds Of Millions Of Pigs Feared Dead From Swine Fever – Price Of Pork Has Risen 38 Percent In The Last 4 Weeks

A plague of epic proportions is ripping through the global pig population, and CNBC is warning that this unprecedented outbreak of African swine fever “could lead to significant shortages” of pork in the global marketplace.  As you will see below, the price of pork has already risen 38 percent over the last 4 weeks, and it appears inevitable that it will go a lot higher as this crisis continues to intensify.  When the first case of African swine fever was reported in China last August, nobody was really too concerned at the time.  But since then it has been spreading like wildfire, and the most recent estimates of the spread of the disease that we are getting from the experts are absolutely terrifying.

China consumes 49 percent of all pork produced in the world, and they slaughter approximately 700 million pigs a year.

So we are talking about the primary source of protein for the most populated country on the entire planet.

According to the Daily Mail, one major pork supplier has “suggested that 30-50% of Chinese pig farms have been affected by the outbreak”.  And apparently this is the primary reason why the price of pork has increased by 38 percent over the last month…

There was an 18% increase in the price of bacon from February to April this year, according to Bidfood, Beacon said, and the market price of pork has risen by 38% in the last four weeks.

The company also said another of its suppliers, Brakes, suggested that 30-50% of Chinese pig farms have been affected by the outbreak, which has increased pig prices around the world.

If what this pork supplier is claiming is true, then this plague is far, far worse than we had previously been told.

And commodities economist Arlan Suderman is giving us similar numbers.  He just told CNBC that hog feeding in China is down “at least 40%”, and in some areas he says that it is down “more than 50%”…

“What our people there in China find is a far different story where the disease is continuing to spread,” said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist with INTL FCStone in Kansas City, Mo. “China just doesn’t want the rest of the world to know what the situation is.”

The economist termed it “a very dire situation” and estimates hog feeding in China has fallen at least 40% and in some larger swine producing regions plummeted more than 50% in response to the disease. He said the decline is directly attributable to infected pigs dying and producers afraid of the disease and liquidating herds to salvage some value.

There is no cure for African swine fever, and when it hits a pig farm it spreads like wildfire.  In an effort to fight the spread of the disease, most of the time authorities slaughter any pigs that somehow survive.

So if 40 percent of China’s pig farms have already been essentially wiped out, we are talking about a blow to global pork production unlike anything we have ever seen before

“If we’re down 40%, that would mean on an annualized basis that they’ve lost more pork production capacity than what we produce in all of North and South America together on an annual basis,” said Suderman.

I hope that most of you are starting to grasp the implications of what I am sharing.

And China is not the only one grappling with this outbreak.  African swine fever is also devastating pig farms in Vietnam, Cambodia, Tibet and we just learned that an outbreak has now erupted in South Africa

South Africa has detected an outbreak of African swine fever on a farm in North West province, the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Wednesday, citing a report from the South African agriculture ministry.

The outbreak killed 32 out of a herd of 36 pigs on a farm in the Ditsobotla district, with the remaining animals slaughtered, the report said.

The good news is that there haven’t been any outbreaks in the U.S. yet, and the National Pork Producers Council just canceled the World Pork Expo due to fears about the disease

The National Pork Producers Council said it would be safest for the U.S. herd to cancel the World Pork Expo, which attracts about 20,000 visitors annually to the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Visitors attend from 40 countries, including areas that have tested positive for the disease.

“Producers have been very concerned about the risk of African swine fever,” said Jen Sorenson, vice president of the council’s board.

The United States sells approximately 20 billion dollars worth of pork annually, and so there is a tremendous amount at stake.

The Department of Homeland Security is taking this threat extremely seriously, and they are going to do all they can to keep African swine fever from crossing our borders.

But even if the disease never reaches the United States, it is still going to deeply affect us.  If the numbers that I shared with you above are accurate, that means that hundreds of millions of pigs are already dead, and this plague continues to spread.

Pork prices have already shot up, but they will never be lower than they are right now.  China and other major pork consuming nations will be trying to import all of the pork that they possibly can, and that is just going to drive the price of pork through the roof.

And for those of us that don’t eat pork, we will see prices for chicken and beef also rise as pork eaters alter their buying behavior due to rising prices.  So in the end, all forms of meat are going to become significantly more expensive.

Also, let us not forget that “as many as a million calves” were lost in the state of Nebraska alone during the recent flooding in the central United States.  That is going to drive up meat prices too.

No matter how much meat is actually produced, people are still going to be just as hungry.  If you take a basic course in economics at one of our universities, you will learn that when demand stays the same and supply goes down, prices are going to rise.

Of course if African swine fever continues to spread wildly all over the globe, eventually we are going to have a much bigger problem on our hands than just rising prices.

This is a developing story, and I will do my best to keep you updated.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

This Region Of The World Is Being Hit By The Worst Economic Collapse It Has Ever Experienced

South America On The Globe - Public DomainThe ninth largest economy in the entire world is currently experiencing “its longest and deepest recession in recorded history”, and in a country right next door people are being encouraged to label their trash so that the thousands upon thousands of desperately hungry people that are digging through trash bins on the streets can find discarded food more easily.  Of course the two nations that I am talking about are Brazil and Venezuela.  The Brazilian economy was once the seventh largest on the globe, but after shrinking for eight consecutive quarters it has now fallen to ninth place.  And in Venezuela the economic collapse has gotten so bad that more than 70 percent of the population lost weight last year due to a severe lack of food.  Most of us living in the northern hemisphere don’t think that anything like this could happen to us any time soon, but the truth is that trouble signs are already starting to erupt all around us.  It is just a matter of time before the things currently happening in Brazil and Venezuela start happening here, but unfortunately most people are not heeding the warnings.

Just a few years ago, the Brazilian economy was absolutely roaring and it was being hailed as a model for the rest of the world to follow.  But now Brazil’s GDP has been imploding for two years in a row, and this downturn is being described as “the worst recession in recorded history” for that South American nation…

Latin America’s largest economy Brazil has contracted by 3.6 percent in 2016, shrinking for the second year in a row; statistics agency IBGE said on Tuesday. It confirmed the country is facing its longest and deepest recession in recorded history.

Data shows gross domestic product (GDP) fell for the eighth straight quarter in the three months to December, down 0.9 percent from the previous quarter. The figure was worse than the 0.5 percent decline economists had forecast and left the country’s overall GDP down 3.6 percent for the full year following a 3.8 percent drop in 2015.

“In real terms, GDP is now nine percent below its pre-recession peak,” Neil Shearing, chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, told the Financial Times.

“This is comfortably the worst recession in recorded history,” he added.

It had been hoped that things in Brazil would be getting better by now, but instead they just keep getting worse.

The number of bankruptcy filings has soared to an all-time record high, and the official unemployment rate has more than doubled since the end of 2013.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

In a stunning deterioration, the unemployment rate in Brazil spiked to 12.6% in the rolling three-month period through January, a record in the new data series going back to 2012, according to Brazil’s statistical agency IBGE. Up from 11.8% in the three-month period through October. Up from an already terribly high 9.5% a year ago. And more than double the 6.2% in December 2013.

Meanwhile, hordes of hungry people are rummaging through garbage cans in Venezuela in order to find something to fill their aching stomachs.

Things have gotten so bad that one of President Maduro’s chief opponents has urged citizens to label which trash bags have food in them so that people that are searching through the garbage can find food scraps more easily

Controversial Priest and opponent to President Nicolás Maduro’s administration Father Jose Palmar posted on social media this week about labeling discarded waste so those looking through it for food can do so more easily and “with dignity.”

Palmar called on Venezuelans to celebrate Lent by identifying bags where food has been discarded for those with no where else to turn. That way, they don’t have to dig through non-edible items to find it.

And previously I have written about how people are so hungry in Venezuela that some of them are actually slaughtering and eating cats, dogs, pigeons and zoo animals.

I keep telling people that this is coming to America, but a lot of people out there don’t want to believe me.

But it is most certainly coming.

Thanks to chronically empty store shelves and severe food shortages, people in Venezuela are losing weight at an astounding pace.  In the United States it would be a good thing if much of the population lost this much weight, but in Venezuela it definitely is not

Three quarters of the country’s population lost an average of over 18 pounds over food shortages in 2016, according to a survey by Venezuelan universities and nonprofit groups. Last year, over 80 percent of foodstuffs disappeared from shelves and many had to get by with one meal a day, Foreign Policy reported.

Venezuela was once South America’s most powerful petrostate. But decades of government mismanagement sent the country into decline. Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez choked the economy with heavy-handed regulations, price controls, and a campaign to nationalize major industries that chased out foreign investments.

Further north, very alarming signs are starting to pop up in Mexico.

It probably won’t happen next week or next month, but there are indications of emerging “liquidity problems” which could precipitate a major debt crisis at some point…

In Mexico foreign investors hold around $100 billion of the country’s local-currency government debt, the most for any emerging market economy. That’s almost 20 times what it was 20 years ago. They also hold billions of euros worth of corporate bonds, which are also showing signs of strain, prompting some Mexican business leaders to call for “new programs” to be implemented before the situation causes “a large-scale crisis” among Mexican companies.

The most ominous sign yet came last week when Bloomberg reported sources saying that the Bank of Mexico (or Banxico, as it is referred to) had sought a swap line from the Federal Reserve in case of “liquidity problems,” which immediately triggered furious denials from Banxico. “I can say clearly and unequivocally that we are not in the process of asking for any credit line from any authority,” said the central bank’s governor, Agustin Carstens, who has postponed by six months his departure from the bank, initially scheduled for May.

One of the biggest problems for nations such as Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico is the strength of the U.S. dollar.  During the good times they went into tremendous amounts of debt, and much of that debt was denominated in U.S. dollars.  So when the U.S. dollar becomes stronger, it takes more of their own local currencies to pay that debt back.

And if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates at their next meeting, that will strengthen the U.S. dollar even more and put even more pressure on emerging market economies.

Unfortunately, it appears that this is precisely what the Fed is going to do

Even one small interest rate increase by the Fedcould have a sweeping impact on U.S. and world economies, Komal Sri-Kumar told CNBC on Monday.

“I think they are going to hike” on March 15, Sri-Kumar said on “Squawk Box,” echoing a theory shared by many analysts. “But that is going to prompt capital outflows from the euro zone, especially with the political risk. It is going to increase the capital outflow from China, and the U.S. economy will feel the impact.”

The global economy is more interconnected than ever before, and pain that starts in one region can rapidly spread to others.

The biggest debt bubble that the world has ever seen is starting to burst, and over the coming years we are going to see financial pain on a scale that would be unimaginable to most of us at this moment.

But even now there are those that would suggest that this colossal debt bubble can continue growing much faster than global GDP indefinitely, and this sort of exceedingly reckless optimism is leading many astray.

Desperately Poor Teens In America’s Impoverished Inner Cities Are Trading Sex For Food

sad-girl-public-domainWhen people get hungry enough, they will do just about anything for some food.  According to brand new research that was just released this week from Feeding America and the Urban Institute, there are millions of teenagers in America that live in “food insecure” households, and researchers were stunned to learn what some of these teens are willing to do to feed themselves.  Some resort to shoplifting, others deal drugs, and there were a surprising number of participants in the study that actually admitted to trading sex for food.  It wouldn’t be a shock to hear that these kinds of things are going on in an economically-depressed nation such as Venezuela, but this is the United States of America.  We are supposed to be the wealthiest nation on the entire planet.  Sadly, even while the stock market has been soaring in recent years, poverty in America has been on the rise.  For those on the low end of the economic scale, things have gone from bad to worse since the end of the last recession, and millions of children are deeply suffering as a result.

Let’s start with some of the hard numbers.  The following comes directly from the Urban Institute website

An estimated 6.8 million people ages 10 to 17 are food insecure, meaning they don’t have reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food. Another 2.9 million are very food insecure, and roughly 4 million live in marginally food secure households, where the threat of running out of food is real.

Food insecurity takes a tremendous toll on teenagers. Poor nutrition—and the stress of hunger and poverty—can jeopardize their physical and mental health and development and their academic success. But despite the gravity and prevalence of teen food insecurity, we know very little about how these young people experience and cope with hunger.

The researchers already knew that lots of young people were hungry in America.  But what surprised them were the lengths that many of these youngsters said that they would go to in order to get food

Some of the youths said they or someone they know — mostly young men — have turned to shoplifting food, selling drugs or stealing items to sell.

The teens also reported knowing young women who have sold their bodies for food or had sex for money so they could buy food for their families.

Going to jail or failing a class in order to have to attend summer school were also some of the lengths teens went to.

Could you imagine your daughter or your granddaughter exchanging her body for food?

For most of us that is absolutely unthinkable, but the truth is that this is taking place on the streets of America every single day.

And this wasn’t just some blind random phone survey.  The researchers conducted personal interviews with focus groups, and what these kids were willing to admit doing was absolutely astounding.  Here is another excerpt directly out of the report

  • When faced with acute food insecurity, teens in all but two of the communities said that youth engage in criminal behavior, ranging from shoplifting food directly to selling drugs and stealing items to resell for cash. These behaviors were most common among young men in communities with the most limited job options.
  • Teens in all 10 communities and in 13 of the 20 focus groups talked about some youth selling sex for money to pay for food. These themes arose most strongly in high-poverty communities where teens also described sexually coercive environments. Sexual exploitation most commonly took the form of transactional dating relationships with older adults.
  • In a few communities, teens talked about going to jail or failing school (so they could attend summer classes and get school lunch) as viable strategies for ensuring regular meals.

Many of these young people understand that what they are doing is wrong.  Just consider what some of them told the researchers

A girl in Portland, Oregon told researchers: “It’s really like selling yourself. Like you’ll do whatever you need to do to get money or eat.”

Another comment from Portland: “You’re not even dating … they’ll be like … ‘I don’t really love him, but I’m going to do what I have to do.’”

Many prefer to rationalise what they are doing as dating of sorts. A boy in rural North Carolina said: “When you’re selling your body, it’s more in disguise. Like if I had sex with you, you have to buy me dinner tonight … that’s how girls deal with the struggle … That’s better than taking money because if they take money, they will be labeled a prostitute.”

When I read the information in this report, I was stunned.  Yes, I write about our economic decline and the rise in poverty all the time, but I didn’t know that things were this bad.

And the researchers were surprised by what they were hearing as well.  One of them said that the fact that girls are trading their bodies for food “was really shocking to me”, and she believes that things are “just getting worse over time”

“I’ve been doing research in low-income communities for a long time, and I’ve written extensively about the experiences of women in high poverty communities and the risk of sexual exploitation, but this was new,” said Susan Popkin, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and lead author of the report, Impossible Choices.

“Even for me, who has been paying attention to this and has heard women tell their stories for a long time, the extent to which we were hearing about food being related to this vulnerability was new and shocking to me, and the level of desperation that it implies was really shocking to me. It’s a situation I think is just getting worse over time.”

But aren’t we being told that things are getting better?

Aren’t we being told that our leaders “fixed” the economy?

Of course the truth is that America is mired in a long-term economic decline that stretches back for decades.  With each passing year the middle class gets smaller as a percentage of the population, and poverty continues to grow.  Last year the middle class became a minority of the population for the first time ever, and a lot of formerly middle class Americans are now among those that aren’t sure that they are going to have enough food to eat this month.

Hunger in America is a major crisis and it is growing.  Just because you may live in a comfortable home in a wealthy neighborhood does not mean that this problem is not real.

Tonight there are millions of Americans that do not know where their next meal is going to come from, and they deserve our love and compassion.

The Economic Collapse In Venezuela Is So Bad That People Are Slaughtering And Eating Zoo Animals

Black Stallion - Public DomainIf you were hungry enough, would you kill and eat zoo animals?  To most of us such a notion sounds absolutely insane, but this is actually happening in Venezuela right now.  This is a country where people are standing in lines for up to 12 hours hoping that there will be food to buy that day, and where rioting and looting have become commonplace.  So even though the U.S. economy is in dreadful shape at this moment, we should be thankful for what we have, because at least we are not experiencing a full-blown economic collapse yet like Venezuela currently is.

Black stallions can be some of the most beautiful horses on the entire planet, but things are so desperate down in Venezuela this summer that everything looks like food to some people at this point.  What happened at the Caricuao Zoo on Sunday is so horrible that I actually debated whether or not to share it with you.  Desperate people do desperate things, and when people get hungry enough they will do things such as this

Venezuela’s worsening food shortages had tragic consequences for a rare show horse last weekend, when a group of intruders broke into the zoo, pulled the black stallion from its cage, then slaughtered it for meat.

Prosecutors say the crime occurred in the small hours of Sunday morning at Caracas’ Caricuao Zoo, when “several people” sneaked into the state-run park under the cover of darkness and busted into the stallion’s pen. The horse, the only one of its kind in the zoo, was then led to a more secluded area and butchered on the spot. Only its head and ribs were left behind in a gruesome pile for zookeepers to find after sunrise.

Unfortunately, this precious animal was not even the first victim at that particular zoo.

A few weeks ago, pigs and sheep were the targets

Sadly, this horse wasn’t the first zoo animal to suffer the effects of Venezuela’s crippling food shortages. Some Vietnamese pigs and sheep were reportedly stolen from the same zoo earlier this month.

Dozens of other zoo animals are slowing starving to death because there is no food available to give to them.  In fact, it is being reported that at least 50 animals have died from lack of food at one zoo alone

At least 50 animals have died in the last six months at the Caricuao zoo in Caracas, Venezuela, due to widespread food shortages that are affecting both man and beast in the socialist nation.

Marlene Sifontes, a union leader for employees of state parks agency Inparques which oversees zoos, told Reuters that the zoo lost Vietnamese pigs, tapirs, rabbits and birds after the animals went weeks without eating. Others animals at the zoo are in danger of severe malnutrition. Lions and tigers, which should be on a carnivorous diet, are being fed mango and pumpkin just to get something in their empty stomachs, while an elephant is being fed tropical fruit instead of its usual diet of hay, the union leader said. According to one report, the big cats are being fed slaughtered thoroughbred racehorses from a nearby race track.

If what you have just read hurts your heart, let us not forget that it is not just the animals that are suffering.  There are millions of precious people down there that are living on the very edge of starvation as you read this article.

Earlier this year, one mayor came forward and admitted to the world that some people are so hungry that they are actually hunting “cats, dogs and pigeons” for food…

Ramón Muchacho, Mayor of Chacao in Caracas, said the streets of the capital of Venezuela are filled with people killing animals for food.

Through Twitter, Muchacho reported that in Venezuela, it is a “painful reality” that people “hunt cats, dogs and pigeons” to ease their hunger. People are also reportedly gathering vegetables from the ground and trash to eat as well.

The crisis in Venezuela is worsening everyday due in part to shortages reaching 70 percent […] six Venezuelan military officials were arrested for stealing goats to ease their hunger, as there was no food at the Fort Manaure military base.

With each passing week, the situation in Venezuela keeps on getting worse.

And even though the United States has made many of the exact same mistakes that Venezuela has made, most of us just assume that what is happening down there could never happen up here.

After all, we have “the greatest economy in the world” and we are “the wealthiest nation on the entire planet”, right?

Well, actually our economic infrastructure has been systematically gutted by free trade deals and we consume far more wealth than we produce.  We have artificially pumped up our standard of living by adding more than 1.1 trillion dollars a year to the national debt since Barack Obama has been in the White House, and one recent poll discovered that 62 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 saved up.

But don’t worry.  Instead of turning out like Venezuela, the mainstream media insists that the best days for America are right around the corner.

In fact, just today I came across a Business Insider article that insisted that soon our biggest economic problem will be that we won’t be able to find enough workers.

And Barbra Streisand is so thrilled that Hillary Clinton is going to be our next president that she launched into a rousing rendition of “Happy Days Are Here Again” as she kicked off her farewell tour in Los Angeles.  The following account comes from the Drudge Report

So long sad times
Go along bad times
We are rid of you at last
Howdy gay times
Cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past
Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again…

Streisand suddenly interrupted the lyric, realizing a Democrat was currently in the White House!

“By the way, I love Obama.”

Altogether shout it now
There’s no one
Who can doubt it now
So let’s tell the world about it now
Happy days are here again

So what is the truth?

Are we going to end up just like Venezuela, or are happy days here once more?

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that we are not going to have to wait too long to find out…

America Wastes About HALF The Food That It Produces While Hunger Runs Rampant Around The Globe

Tomatoes - Public DomainIs the United States the most wasteful nation on the entire planet?  We are all certainly guilty of wasting food.  Whether it is that little bit that you don’t want to eat at the end of a meal, or that produce that you forgot about in the back of the refrigerator that went moldy, the truth is that we could all do better at making sure that good food does not get wasted.  It can be tempting to think that wasting food is not a big deal because we have so much of it, but an increasing number of people around the world are really hurting these days.  In fact, it has been estimated that there are more than a billion hungry people around the globe right now.  So as a society we need to figure out how to waste a whole lot less food and how to get it into the mouths of those that really need it.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, close to a third of all food in the United States gets wasted after it gets to the store.  This is commonly referred to as “downstream” waste.  When you add all of this “downstream” waste up, it comes to a grand total of 133 billion pounds of food each year

Nearly a third of the 430 billion pounds of food produced for Americans to eat is wasted, a potential catastrophe for landfills and a wake-up call to officials scrambling to feed the hungry, according to a stunning new report from the Department of Agriculture.

The just-issued report revealed that in 2010, 31 percent, or 133 billion pounds, of food produced for Americans to eat was wasted, either molded or improperly cooked, suffered “natural shrinkage” due to moisture loss, or because people became disinterested in what they purchased.

How many people do you think we could feed with 133 billion pounds of food?

But that isn’t all of the food that we waste.  In addition to “downstream” waste, we also have to add “upstream” waste to the equation.  Massive amounts of food are wasted each year because American consumers don’t want to eat fruits and vegetables that are “imperfect”.  The following comes from the Guardian

Americans throw away almost as much food as they eat because of a “cult of perfection”, deepening hunger and poverty, and inflicting a heavy toll on the environment.

Vast quantities of fresh produce grown in the US are left in the field to rot, fed to livestock or hauled directly from the field to landfill, because of unrealistic and unyielding cosmetic standards, according to official data and interviews with dozens of farmers, packers, truckers, researchers, campaigners and government officials.

And I know that as a consumer I am guilty of this.  Just yesterday, I was picking through the apricots at the grocery store looking for the prettiest ones that I could find.  Of course they were all good to eat, but most of us are in the habit of wanting produce that looks as “perfect” as possible.

As a result, a lot of perfectly good food that may look a little ratty ends of being wasted

“Sunburnt” or darker-hued cauliflower was ploughed over in the field. Table grapes that did not conform to a wedge shape were dumped. Entire crates of pre-cut orange wedges were directed to landfill. In June, Kirschenman wound up feeding a significant share of his watermelon crop to cows.

As the Guardian article quoted above noted, when you add “downstream” waste and “upstream” waste together, we end up wasting about half our food.

This is tragic, because there are a whole lot of people in our own country that could use this food.  According to one estimate, there are 49 million Americans dealing with food insecurity.  But if we didn’t waste nearly half our food, we could likely feed just about everyone sufficiently.

Globally, about one-third of all food is wasted.  That is better than the U.S. number, but it is still way too high.

At this point, we just don’t have a lot of resources to waste.  So many people are suffering these days, and this includes an explosion of crushing poverty in the country that is hosting the Olympics this summer.  Just yards away from the primary stadium that will be used by the Olympic games, people actually have raw sewage running through their homes

In the Mangueira ‘favelas’ no more than 750m away from the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, which will host the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, young families are living in makeshift houses with no sanitation.

The stadium will stage both the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics in August, and as global superstars such as Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Justin Gatlin take to the track, the favela residents will be dealing with raw sewage running through their homes.

It has been estimated that more than 20 percent of the population of Rio lives in “favelas”.  But instead of doing something for those people, the government of Brazil has spent hundreds of millions of dollars hosting the World Cup and the Olympics.

What is wrong with that picture?

Meanwhile, things continue to get even worse elsewhere in South America.  In Venezuela, 47 percent of the country can no longer provide three meals a day for their families, and the lack of toilet paper has become a national crisis

Venezuela’s government said it occupied Kimberly-Clark Corp.’s local plant, days after the company had halted operations because of shortages of raw materials in the socialist crisis-stricken country.

“Kimberly-Clark will continue producing for all Venezuelans and is now in the hands of the workers,” Labor Minister Oswaldo Vera said Monday in a televised address from the company’s plant in central Aragua state, before signing an order to take it over, according to WSJ. The labor ministry claims Kimberly-Clark had violated Venezuelan law by firing more than 900 workers without consulting the government.

“It doesn’t matter who’s running the factory,” said Henkel Garcia, director of the Caracas business consultancy Econometrica told WSJ. “The bottom line is that there are no raw materials that anyone can afford to import.”

As the global economy continues to deteriorate, the need to waste less food and less resources will become even more acute.  Over the past several decades, we have grown accustomed to not even thinking twice about wasting food.  In fact, I rarely come across parents that insist that their children finish everything on their plates these days.

But in the not too distant future, things are going to completely change.  Even in the United States, we will eventually get to the point where every scrap of food is considered to be precious.

We are moving into a time when wasting nearly half our food will no longer be an option, and so we should start coming up with better ways of doing things as soon as we can.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!