Touch the Soil News #630
In the winter, 80 percent of the European Union’s fresh produce comes from modest farming areas in Italy and Spain. These areas much like California, except that this year unseasonably wet and cold weather has compromised production.
Low supplies of things like iceberg lettuce, spinach, broccoli, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant have already caused rationing in the U.K’s largest grocery chain. In Southern Italy and France, blizzards are destroying the year’s crops of greens, citrus and grapes.
The word is out that supermarkets from the U.K. to Germany are low on pretty much all produce.
While the Europeans can import some fresh produce from the U.S., the thousands of miles of distance and perishability of the produce is a problem – not to mention the price. At this point, food officials are saying the shortages are likely to continue until April.
The fact that this food tremor is happening in first-world nations should be a hint the global foundations of food are not very solid.
The shortages of fresh produce in Europe are unprecedented in modern history. In some places, prices have gone up 300 percent. While it looks like the continent will survive this temporary crisis, it points to a glaring shortfall of the free market. The free market is oblivious to any form of national and international food security plan or food stocks. Because food security is not profitable – it does not happen.