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Economies are Complicated – But Raising Your Own Food Cannot Happen Overnight

Touch the Soil News #317

The economics of food are quite simple. You have to have something to sell (your labor or a product) so you can translate what you have into dollars. Once you have the dollars, you can then buy food.

This plan, however, is fraught with danger. Financial shenanigans, currency speculation, currency devaluations and commodity speculation can turn a simple plan into a national nightmare. There is no nation that isn’t at some level of economic danger due to an inability to adequately incorporate its citizenry into the economy and in a stable way.

In the spotlight is Venezuela – a nation of 31 million people who are experiencing epidemic shortages of food. And it’s complicated. Heavily predicated upon selling oil, the Venezuelan government has relied on oil revenues to feed its poor and sustain the economy. With the collapse of oil prices, Venezuela is on the brink of collapse as its food chain begins to unravel.

Political voices are also blaming the socialist regime in Venezuela that began under the leadership of Hugo Chavez who passed in 2013 and whose reins are now held by Nicholas Maduro.

Nicholas Maduro – President of Venezuela – is unable avoid defaults on foreign debts and feed his citizens - many of whom are experiencing inadequate nutritional intake. Maduro is embracing the only solution he can think of – start raising your own food and government will help as much as it can.

The problem Maduro faces is that going back to household and community garden based food security does not happen overnight. In light of the Venezuelan food crisis, reliance on oil and government subsidies cannot offset the need for most everyone to be working with some semblance of compensation.

From a food perspective, the message coming out of Venezuela is that food security needs to be higher on the political agendas of national governments. While Venezuela wrestles to feed its population of 30 million, America struggles to deal with its 50 million food-insecure.

Following are two video clips on the Venezuelan situation:

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