Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Recently, i was at a major supermarket in Brisbane and I overheard an employee who was stocking milk say to his colleague, "There's not much here. Are we ordering less, or what?" His friend groaned and replied, "Ummm, did you miss the floods? The major dairies are all gone."

My Husband works in a fruit and vegetable shop in the city, and he has been getting customers angry at him, because the shop doesn't have a certain type of lettuce, or snow peas. Most of the stock in the shop was coming round about routes to get past closed roads, and the major Brisbane fruit market has stopped functioning. The retailers and wholesalers have figured out a temporary, but inconvenient system.

It has been covered by the all the news outlets. How can people be surprised? And how on earth can they blame the retailer for not being able to source stock?

The freaky weather that is impacting our (MY) food supply is a strong La Nina event. For the last few decades we have had regular La Nina events, but they have been considered moderate. the last strong one was 1988/1989. So we've had dry years, interspersed with moderate years. Now, we are finally having a wet year. Incidentally, 1974 floods occurred during a La Nina event.

No one of my generation (i'm 28) or possibly even my mother's generation has ever experienced widespread food shortages. (I've been hungry before, but because I was broke, not because there was nothing to buy.) This year is going to be a hungry one. Queensland's main food regions (vegetables, grain and beef and dairy cattle) were hit by flooding, and now the rest of the state, where much of our fruit is grown, is going to be flattened.

Straight after the floods in Brisbane, I had the eerie experience of walking into a major supermarket and the shelves were empty.

We all found ourselves self rationing. We didn't want to buy more than our fair share.
If there is only a bit of something, you didn't want to be the one to take the last bit.

My sister was shopping for her house warming dinner and wanted to make bbq ribs with salads. There were hardly any salad veg, and definitely no meat, milk or bread. Any thing that the shops rely on regular deliveries of was gone. She changed the menu and we had a lovely sit down roast dinner. When food is scarce then old fashioned food is the answer. We had silver-side with roast potatoes, pumpkin and onions. There was also a vegie cous cous for the strange vegetarian. Peasant fare, cheap to buy, stores well and easy to cook.

I feel an anxiety, like I need to get out there and start planting more food in my garden. I feel like I should be stockpiling. Is this intuition? irrational anxiety? or a reasonable reaction?

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