A Pattern of Increased Natural Disasters in the U.S.

Editor's Note:

I thought Michael's observations are interesting.  He mainly focuses on earthquakes.  In my area we are having abnormal patterns of higher temperatures and heavy rains.  It's rained so hard that I was beginning to think maybe we were experiencing the times of Noah.  I do not think our roofs will last their normal life expectancy.  It is not just rain, but heavy rains, and several days of it in a row.  I checked the Weather Channel's forecast through the end of March, 2016.  Can you believe that my area, which normally has 2 to 3 snowstorms a winter, will not have any?  Are you too experiencing noticeable deviations in Mother Nature's character?

With these kinds of events emergency preparedness for natural emergencies pays.

America-From-Space

Why Is The United States Being Hit By So Many Fires, Floods And Earthquakes?

By Michael Snyder, on December 14th,

What do you get when you add together one of the strongest El Ninos ever recorded, the worst year for wildfires in U.S. history, and unprecedented earthquake swarms in diverse places all over the country? Since the end of the summer, America has been hit with a truly unusual series of natural disasters. The state of Oklahoma has already set an all-time record for the number of earthquakes that it has experienced in a year, more acres have been burned by wildfires in the U.S. than we have ever seen before, and a “1,000 year rainfall” caused horrific flooding in South Carolina. Those are just a few examples of what we have been seeing, and many believe that this is just the beginning. So why is this happening? Is there something that connects all of these natural disasters together?

Let’s start by talking about earthquakes. In the past, we would expect to see earthquake activity along the west coast, but not much elsewhere.

Today, things have dramatically changed. For example, this year the state of Oklahoma has seen nearly eight times as many magnitude three or greater earthquakes as it did just two years ago

As 2015 nears its end, 850 earthquakes of magnitude three or greater have stirred the state of Oklahoma. Compared to 584 of the same magnitude in 2014 and 109 in 2013, the trend is clear: earthquakes are on the rise.

Other areas of the nation are experiencing highly unusual seismic activity as well. Just recently, east-central Idaho was hit by a swarm of more than 40 small earthquakes

More than 40 small earthquakes were recorded in east-central Idaho last week in what experts say is another earthquake swarm in the region.

Officials in the Challis area on Friday reported no damage from the micro-quakes that started Tuesday and have mostly gone unnoticed or unreported in an area with residents accustomed to more vigorous shaking.

But the temblors ranging up to 2.9 magnitude have perked up scientists trying to understand the fault system in the area where a 5.0 magnitude quake struck in January.

So why are we seeing so many earthquakes all of a sudden?

That is a question that none of the “experts” seem to have an answer for.

Meanwhile, we are currently on pace for the worst year for wildfires in the history of the United States. Earlier in the year this was not the case, but in August and September there was a sudden explosion of massive wildfires, and now it looks like we are going to easily break the all-time record by the end of this month

The nation is closing in on its worst wildfire season in recorded history, with nearly 9.8 million acres already burned — the equivalent of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and part of New Hampshire going up in flames.

Two large fires and more than 160 smaller ones remain active, and more fires are expected to be reported before the month ends. Together, they’re likely to push the 2015 total past the record 9.87 million acres burned in 2006.

On top of everything else, we have witnessed a series of horrifying floods all over the nation in recent months.

It started in late September. The storm that would later became known as Hurricane Joaquin formed into a tropical depression on September 28th, which also happened to be the date of the fourth blood moon. Hurricane Joaquin never made landfall in the U.S., but moisture from that storm dumped unprecedented amounts of rain along many parts of the east coast. In fact, at one point South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley came out and publicly said that it was the most rain that some areas of her state had seen “in a thousand years”.

Subsequently, other parts of the nation also got hit by dramatic floods. We saw flash floods produce “rivers of mud” that completely buried vehicles on highways in southern California, and there was freak flooding in the state of Texas that derailed a train and caused several deaths.

And now, officials are telling us that one of the strongest El Ninos in history could bring record rainfall, flooding and mudslides to the west coast of the United States for months on end. Due to horrible flooding that is already ravaging the region, a state of emergency has now been declared in several counties in the Pacific Northwest, and the experts are telling us that this is just the beginning. The following comes from the Los Angeles Times

Of all the years in which there was a strong El Niño present in the tropical Pacific Ocean, this is the wettest start to any of those years that we’ve observed in the Pacific Northwest, both in Portland and Seattle,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at Stanford University.

Powerful rains have struck Oregon hard over the past three days, according to the National Weather Service. On Wednesday, one woman drowned when her car entered floodwaters, and another woman was killed after a falling tree crushed her Portland home, according to local news reports.

A photo published in the Tillamook County Pioneer showed the town of Nehalem covered in floodwaters. The newspaper reported that several families have been flooded out of their homes and U.S. 101 was closed there.

Yes, every year there are natural disasters that we must deal with. They are simply unavoidable. But in 2015 we have seen an extremely strange confluence of disasters that is unlike anything that we have ever seen before. And in particular, this series of natural disasters seems to have intensified greatly since the end of the summer.

So what in the world is going on?

What could possibly be causing this to happen?

Michael-Snyder-Bio-American-Dream

Western Water Crisis Is Expanding

Western US water crisis worse than thought

Nasa study finds dramatic loss of underground water in Colorado River Basin

By ,US Correspondent of London Telegraph

8:24PM BST 24 Jul 2014

Photo by Bureau of Reclamation/NASA

The water crisis in the south west of the US is likely to worsen according to a new study carried out by the American space agency and University of California.

Research has found that the Colorado River Basin, the prime source of water in the region, is being sucked dry.

Only last week California announced daily fines of $500 (£300) for residents who water their lawns with nearly four fifths of the state being classified as being under “extreme” and “exceptional” drought conditions.

The Colorado River is the only major river in the southwestern US, with the basin supplying water to 40 million people in seven states and irrigating around four million acres of farmland.

In California, the basin is a key source of water for Los Angeles and San Diego.

The new study is the first to look at the role of groundwater in the parched region and has been carried out against a backdrop of a severe drought dating back to 2000.

A series of monthly measurements have shown that over nine years the Colorado River Basin lost nearly twice as much water as Lake Mead, Nevada – the country’s largest reservoir.

“We don’t know exactly how much groundwater we have left, so we don’t know when we’re going to run out,” said Stephanie Castle, a water resources specialist at the University of California, Irvine.

“This is a lot of water to lose. We thought that the picture could be pretty bad, but this was shocking.”

Jay Famiglietti, the senior water cycle scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, warned the findings have long term implications for the entire region.

“The Colorado River Basin is the water lifeline of the western United States,” he said.

“With Lake Mead at its lowest level ever, we wanted to explore whether the basin, like most other regions around the world, was relying on groundwater to make up for the limited surface-water supply.

“We found a surprisingly high and long-term reliance on groundwater to bridge the gap between supply and demand.

“Combined with declining snowpack and population growth, this will likely threaten the long-term ability of the basin to meet its water allocation commitments to the seven basin states and to Mexico.”

Read More

Drought Crisis: Ingenuity Reigns

  Editor's Note:

Have you heard of the expression:  "Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

That's what Californians are facing with the water crisis.  The state is going to fine $500 for water use beyond emergency measures.  The local communities are going to fine $500 for not watering your lawn because of fire hazard and aesthetics.

​So what happens?

American Ingenuity!  A new business of painting your lawn grass to look like it is healthy.

Although sad, this article is also a hoot!  Americans don't have to be held done unless they choose to be.  Think about it!​

Enter your text here...

Painters color match parts of the lawn that are still green using dyes mixed with water, and sprayed onto the grass.

SoCal Homeowners Spray-Painting Lawns Green To Avoid Water Fees During Drought

by Gregg Rosenblum July 20, 2014 7:04 PM from www.sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/ A man spray-paints a lawn in Southern California during a severe drought. (CBS)

A man spray-paints a lawn in Southern California during a severe drought. (CBS)

Get Breaking News First Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning. Sign Up

LOS ANGELES (CBS SF) — Homeowners in Los Angeles are facing tough choices in keeping their lawns green during a devastating drought, pushing some far enough to spray paint them.

Business for lawn painters like Kerry McCoy is booming now that the state is sanctioning homeowners for excessive water use.

“As soon as the water sanctions hit, and as soon as people find their water bills rising, they’re looking for ways to cut back on their expenses, and that’s when they start calling,” she said.

More: KPIX Drought Coverage

McCoy says the grass doesn’t die completely, and when winter rains come, the lawn will turn green again on their own.

Read more on the California Drought at http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/07/20/socal-homeowners-spray-painting-lawns-green-to-avoid-water-fees-during-drought-grass-spray-paint-sanctions-water-bills-excessive/

Escalating Food Prices Are Here

                Editor's Note

I've been sharing various reports that food prices are increasing.

For example, from January 1, 2014 to the March report on zerohedge.com, food prices (reported by Bloomberg) went up 19%.

           

from Zerohedge.com March 26, 2014

Food prices are continuing their upward climb as the article by Michael Snyder below documents.

WIth all of the food pricing volatility, drought and current world events it is being a wise steward to store some food that you and your family routinely eat so you can cost average and lower your food bill.

Unfortunately the drought will probably be impacting food costs through 2015.

That's one of the great things about freeze dried and dehydrated foods.  They last so much longer than the shelf life of grocery store foods.  Plus our food comes in BPA free cans and we help you avoid GMOs, MSG, hidden MSG, aspartame, food processing chemicals, gluten, and more! 

If the food inflation issue did not exist, we are a much healthier alternative to the traditional grocery store.  And we are more convenient and help cut your meal prep times 50% or more since everything comes chopped, cut, prepped and clean!

So please do your wallet and your health a favor by trying Thrive!  I will show you how to get the lowest price possible if you just email me at thrive@northstate.net.​

If This Keeps Up, They Will Have To Start Putting Armed Guards On Food Trucks

By Michael T. Snyder, Guest Columnist, 7/17/2014 of TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com

The basic necessities in life just keep getting more expensive.  On Tuesday, Hershey announced that the price of all of their chocolate bars is going to go up by about 8 percent.  That is particularly distressing to me, because I am known to love chocolate.  But if it was just chocolate that was becoming significantly more expensive perhaps that would be okay.  Last month, it was coffee.  J.M. Smucker, one of the largest coffee producers in the United States, announced that it planned to raise coffee prices by about 9 percent.  And Starbucks has announced a bunch of price increases across the board on their coffee products.  Of course we could all survive without chocolate and coffee, but as you will see below just about every food category is becoming more expensive.  If this keeps up, could we eventually see armed guards in grocery stores and on food trucks?

On Wednesday, Robert Wenzel of the Economic Policy Journal shared some new data that has just been released by the federal government about food inflation over the past year.  Without a doubt, these numbers are quite startling...

According to the latest data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, year-over-year gains in some food products at the producer level have been truly spectacular.

Eggs for fresh use are up 33.9%.

Pork is up 28%.

Processed turkeys are up 20.4%.

Dairy products are up 10.7%.

Fresh and dry vegetables are up 8.4%.

Fresh fruits and melons are up 7.5%.

Unfortunately, paychecks for most American families are not going up at similar rates.

What that means is more pain when we make our trips to the grocery store.  Things have gotten so bad that even the mainstream media is running stories about this.  For example, this excerpt comes from a recent CNBC article...

"I try to do all my local errands in one day and go up to the mall," said Helon Rapfogel of New Jersey. "I used to go maybe twice or three times a week, and now I just go one day a week, if that much. And I try to consolidate things."

Rapfogel said that higher costs for food and gas are hitting her overall budget.

"You sacrifice things. Like not doing an ice cream run during the week with the kids. [That could] hurt the local retailers, and we don't want to do that ... but we may have to," she said.

At the grocery store, meat, dairy and fruit prices are all up substantially. People are even paying more for lattes at their local coffee shops. And it's not just food—gas prices have jumped sharply on geopolitical unrest, and at the moment there's no relief in sight.

So why is all of this happening?

Well, the truth is that a lot of factors have combined to produce something of a perfect storm.

First of all, we should talk about Federal Reserve money printing.  Since the last financial crisis, the Fed has been on an unprecedented money printing spree.  This has dramatically pushed up the prices of stocks, commodities and just about everything else.  It was naive to think that we wouldn't eventually see substantial food inflation as well.  Just look at what "quantitative easing" has done to M1 since the last recession...

M1 Money Supply 2014

When you have more dollars chasing roughly the same amount of goods and services of course prices are going to go up.

It is just basic economics.

But according to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, there is absolutely no reason to be concerned.  The following is a video of her telling the press her view on inflation that I shared in a previous article...

But crazy Fed money printing is not the only reason why food prices are going up.

The endless drought in the western half of the country is severely hurting food production as well.  The size of the U.S. cattle herd has shrunk for seven years in a row, and it is now the smallest that it has been since 1951.  And the drought is hitting the state of California particularly hard, and considering the fact that it produces nearly half of all of our fresh produce that is more than a little bit alarming.  Yes, we are more technologically advanced that we used to be, but we are not advanced enough to overcome an epic multi-year drought in half the nation.

In addition, we are also dealing with the worst pork virus to ever hit the United States right now.  Porcine epidemic diarrhea has already wiped out about 10 percent of the pig population in the U.S., and approximately 100,000 more are dying each week.  As you saw above, pork prices are already up 28 percent over the past 12 months, and if a solution is not found to this virus the price increases are going to get much worse.

Down in Florida, citrus growers are facing a horrific outbreak of citrus greening disease.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that orange production in the U.S. will be down 18 percent compared to last year, and it is expected that this will be the worst crop in close to 30 years.

Another plague known as the TR4 fungus has hit banana production.  According to CNBC, this horrible fungus may eventually completely wipe out the variety of bananas that we eat today…

Banana lovers take note: The world’s supply of the fruit is under attack from a fungus strain that could wipe out the popular variety that Americans eat.

“It’s a very serious situation,” said Randy Ploetz, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida who in 1989 originally discovered a strain of Panama disease, called TR4, that may be growing into a serious threat to U.S. supplies of the fruit and Latin American producers.

“There’s nothing at this point that really keeps the fungus from spreading,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

While there are nearly 1,000 varieties of bananas, the most popular is the Cavendish, which accounts for 45 percent of the fruit’s global crop—and the one Americans mostly find in their supermarkets.

For decades, Americans have been able to go to the grocery stores and fill up their carts with massive amounts of very inexpensive food.

But just because it has been that way for so many years does not mean that it will be that way in the future.

Right now, there are 49 million Americans that are dealing with food insecurity, and that number will only get worse as food prices go even higher.

It is getting to the point where it is not too hard to imagine desperate people holding up food trucks and robbing grocery stores in order to feed themselves and their families.

Let us hope that we don't see anything like that any time soon, but we are moving in that direction.

Just a few years ago, the notion that we could ever see armed guards on food trucks or in grocery stores in the United States was absolutely unthinkable.

But now, it is not so crazy.

Drought Monitor: Is A Severe Food Supply Crisis On the Horizon?

                Editor's Note           

The only way to save money on the fast rising grocery tab is for you to store some food.  Specifically you should store foods that your family regularly eat and are more subject to the higher price increases.

As my previously published research shows California has a strangehold on your grocery cart. Most of the produce, whether fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. come from California. 

I encourage you to revisit these articles:

Make a list of those crops your family loves and start storing today!  If you want to purchase Thrive for some of those items, contact me at thrive@northstate.net.  I will work with you to get you the lowest possible price.

20 Signs The Epic Drought In The Western United States Is Starting To Become Apocalyptic

By Michael T. Snyder, July 15, 2014, Guest Columnist, TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com.

​When scientists start using phrases such as "the worst drought" and "as bad as you can imagine" to describe what is going on in the western half of the country, you know that things are bad.  Thanks to an epic drought that never seems to end, we are witnessing the beginning of a water crisis that most people never even dreamed was possible in this day and age.  The state of California is getting ready to ban people from watering their lawns and washing their cars, but if this drought persists we will eventually see far more extreme water conservation measures than that.  And the fact that nearly half of all of the produce in America comes out of the state of California means that ultimately this drought is going to deeply affect all of us.  Food prices have already been rising at an alarming rate, and the longer this drought goes on the higher they will go.   Let us hope and pray that this drought is permanently broken at some point, because otherwise we could very well be entering an era of extreme water rationing, gigantic dust storms and crippling food prices.  The following are 20 signs that the epic drought in the western half of the United States is starting to become apocalyptic...

#1 According to the Los Angeles Times, downtown Los Angeles is now the driest that it has been since records began being kept all the way back in 1877.

#2 The California State Water Resources Control Board says that nearly 50 communities are already on the verge of running out of water.

#3 In a desperate attempt to conserve water, the state of California is considering banning watering lawns and washing cars.  Once implemented, violators will be slapped with a $500 fine for each offense.

#4 It has been reported that a new social media phenomenon known as "drought shaming" has begun in California.  People are taking videos and photos of their neighbors wasting water and posting them to Facebook and Twitter.

#5 Climate scientist Tim Barnett says that the water situation in Las Vegas "is as bad as you can imagine", and he believes that unless the city "can find a way to get more water from somewhere" it will soon be "out of business".

#6 The water level in Lake Mead has now fallen to the lowest level since 1937, and it continues to drop at a frightening pace.  You can see some incredible photos of what has happened to Lake Mead right here.

#7 Rob Mrowka of the Center for Biological Diversity believes that the city of Las Vegas is going to be forced to downsize because of the lack of water...

The drought is like a slow spreading cancer across the desert. It's not like a tornado or a tsunami, bang. The effects are playing out over decades. And as the water situation becomes more dire we are going to start having to talk about the removal of people (from Las Vegas).

#8 In some areas of southern Nevada, officials are actually paying people to remove their lawns in a desperate attempt to conserve water.

#9 According to Accuweather, "more than a decade of drought" along the Colorado River has set up an "impending Southwest water shortage" which could ultimately affect tens of millions of people.

#10 Most people don't realize this, but the once mighty Colorado River has become so depleted that it no longer runs all the way to the ocean.

#11 Lake Powell is less than half full at this point.

#12 It is being projected that the current drought in California will end up costing the state more than 2 billion dollars this year alone.

#13 Farmers in California are allowing nearly half a million acres to lie fallow this year due to the extreme lack of water.

#14 The lack of produce coming from the state of California will ultimately affect food prices in the entire nation.  Just consider the following statistics from a recent Business Insider article...

California is one of the U.S.'s biggest food producers — responsible for almost half the country's produce and nuts and 25% of our milk and cream. Eighty percent of the world's almonds come from the state, and they take an extraordinary amount of water to produce — 1.1 gallons per almond.

#15 As underground aquifers are being relentlessly drained in California, some areas of the San Joaquin Valley are sinking by 11 inches a year.

#16 It is being projected that the Kansas wheat harvest will be the worst that we have seen since 1989.

#17 The extended drought has created ideal conditions for massive dust storms to form.  You can see video of one female reporter bravely reporting from the middle of a massive dust storm in Phoenix right here.

#18 Things are so dry in California right now that people are actually starting to steal water.  For example, one Mendocino County couple recently had 3,000 gallons of water stolen from them.  It was the second time this year that they had been hit.

#19 At the moment, close to 80 percent of the state of California is experiencing either "extreme" or "exceptional" drought.

#20 National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Boldt says that this is "the worst drought we probably have seen in our lifetime".

Most people just assume that this drought will be temporary, but experts tell us that there have been "megadroughts" throughout history in the western half of the United States that have lasted for more than 100 years.

If we have entered one of those eras, it is going to fundamentally change life in America.

And the frightening thing is that much of the rest of the world is dealing with water scarcity issues right now as well.  In fact, North America is actually in better shape than much of Africa and Asia.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled "25 Shocking Facts About The Earth’s Dwindling Water Resources".

Without plenty of fresh water, modern civilization is not possible.

And right now, the western United States and much of the rest of the world is starting to come to grips with the fact that we could be facing some very serious water shortages in the years ahead.

So what is the solution?

Big Corporations Power Over Your Food Supply

                Editor's Note           

You should pay attention to the concentration of our food supply. It is bad for your health and your wallet.

When power gets concentrated:

  • ​Higher prices result because price fixing is easier, i.e., YOUR GROCERY BILL INCREASES!
  • You have less choice of products, i.e., cheaper ingredients, GMOs, MSG, hidden MSG, aspartame, etc.
  • Innovation gets decreased because competition becomes more difficult;
  • You have less influence over product ingredients.

Stay away from Walmart!  It's sick that a third of the groceries are bought there!  Walmart heavily relies upon imported food from China.  Food grown in China has all kinds of safety issues.  Please see my page, http://survive-thrive.us/food-country-of-origin/.  Country of origin does matter for your health.  Also a recent study this year found that 54% of the food sold in Walmart would not meet Whole Foods standards to be sold in their stores.  Whole Foods has issues but nothing like Walmart, which I consider the bottom of the pit.

I visit a variety of grocery stores for market observations.  It is very striking time after time observing the physiological differences between shoppers at Trader Joes and Whole Foods compared to Walmart.  Many of the  grocery shoppers at Walmart are grossly morbidly obese yet when you visit Trader Joes or Whole Foods you do not see that degree of obesity there.  Just go and observe for yourself. 

It makes you wonder could it be the foods these shoppers are selecting that is contributing to their physiological presence and health issues?​

​(You don't have to go to Walmart to save on your groceries.  You can afford to stay out of Walmart by eating Thrive foods.  Just contact me and I will show you how to save 20 to 40% or more by planning and not wasting food.)

Vote for your health and your pocketbook with your dollars!  Avoid purchasing any of these brands if at all possible!

Pay attention to the diagram below.  Vote for your health and your pocketbook with your dollars!  Avoid purchasing any of these brands if at all possible!

For enlargement of diagram: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/10-Corporations-Control-What-We-Eat.png

Big Corporations Have An OVERWHELMING Amount Of Power Over Our Food Supply

By Michael T. Snyder, Guest Columnist, of TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com​

​From our fields to our forks, huge corporations have an overwhelming amount of power over our food supply every step of the way.  Right now there are more than 313 million people living in the United States, and the job of feeding all of those people is almost entirely in the hands of just a few dozen monolithic companies.  If you do not like how our food is produced or you don't believe that it is healthy enough, it isn't very hard to figure out who is to blame.  These mammoth corporations are not in business to look out for the best interests of the American people.  Rather, the purpose of these corporations is to maximize wealth for their shareholders.  So the American people end up eating billions of pounds of extremely unhealthy food that is loaded with chemicals and additives each year, and we just keep getting sicker and sicker as a society.  But these big corporations are raking in big profits, so they don't really care.

If we did actually have a capitalist system in this country, we would have a high level of competition in the food industry.  But instead, the U.S. food industry has become increasingly concentrated with each passing year.  Just consider the following numbers about the U.S. agricultural sector...

The U.S. agricultural sector suffers from abnormally high levels of concentration. Most economic sectors have concentration ratios around 40%, meaning that the top four firms in the industry control 40% of the market. If the concentration ratio is above 40%, experts believe competition can be threatened and market abuses are more likely to occur: the higher the number, the bigger the threat.

The concentration ratios in the agricultural sector are shocking.

-Four companies own 83.5% of the beef market.
-The top four firms own 66% of the hog industry.
-The top four firms control 58.5% of the broiler chicken industry.
-In the seed industry, four companies control 50% of the proprietary seed market and 43% of the commercial seed market worldwide.
-When it comes to genetically engineered (GE) crops, just one company, Monsanto, boasts control of over 85% of U.S. corn acreage and 91% of U.S. soybean acreage.

When so much power is concentrated in so few hands, it creates some tremendous dangers.

And many of these giant corporations (such as Monsanto) are extremely ruthless.  Small farmers all over America are being wiped out and forced out of the business by the predatory business practices of these huge companies...

Because farmers rely on both buyers and sellers for their business, concentrated markets squeeze them at both ends. Sellers with high market power can inflate the prices of machinery, seeds, fertilizers and other goods that farmers need for their farms, while powerful buyers, such as processors, suppress the prices farmers are paid. The razor-thin profit margins on which farmers are forced to operate often push them to "get big or get out"—expanding into mega-operations or exiting the business altogether.

Of course the control that big corporations have over our food supply does not end at the farms.

The distribution of our food is also very highly concentrated.  The graphic shared below was created by Oxfam International, and it shows how just 10 gigantic corporations control almost everything that we buy at the grocery store...

10 Corporations Control What We Eat

And these food distributors are often not very good citizens either.

For example, it was recently reported that Nestle is running a massive bottled water operation on a drought-stricken Indian reservation in California...

Among the windmills and creosote bushes of San Gorgonio Pass, a nondescript beige building stands flanked by water tanks. A sign at the entrance displays the logo of Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water, with water flowing from a snowy mountain. Semi-trucks rumble in and out through the gates, carrying load after load of bottled water.

The plant, located on the Morongo Band of Mission Indians’ reservation, has been drawing water from wells alongside a spring in Millard Canyon for more than a decade. But as California’s drought deepens, some people in the area question how much water the plant is bottling and whether it’s right to sell water for profit in a desert region where springs are rare and underground aquifers have been declining.

Nestle doesn't stop to ask whether it is right or wrong to bottle water in the middle of the worst drought in the recorded history of the state of California.

They have the legal right to do it and they are making large profits doing it, and so they are just going to keep on doing it.

Perhaps you are thinking that you can avoid all of these corporations by eating organic and by shopping at natural food stores.

Well, it isn't necessarily that easy.

According to author Wenonah Hauter, the "health food industry" is also extremely concentrated...

Over the past 20 years, Whole Foods Market has acquired its competition, including Wellspring Grocery, Bread of Life, Bread & Circus, Food for Thought, Fresh Fields, Wild Oats Markets and others. Today the chain dominates the market because it has no national competitor. Over the past five years its gross sales have increased by half (47 percent) to $11.7 billion, and its net profit quadrupled to $465.6 million. One of the ways it has achieved this profitability is by selling conventional foods under the false illusion that they are better than products sold at a regular grocery store. Consumers falsely conclude that these products have been screened and are better, and they are willing to pay a higher price.

The distribution of organic foods is also extremely concentrated. A little-known company, United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) now controls the distribution of organic and natural products. Publically traded, the company has a contract with Whole Foods and it is the major source of these products for the remaining independent natural food stores. This relationship has resulted in increasingly high prices for these foods. Small manufacturers are dependent on contracts with UNFI to get their products to market and conversely, small retailers often have to pay a premium price for products because of their dependence on this major distributor. Over the past five years, UNFI's net sales increased by more than half (55.6 percent) $5.2. billion. Its net profit margin increased by 88 percent to $91 million.

Everywhere you look, the corporations are in control.

And this is especially true when you look at big food retailers such as Wal-Mart.

Right now, grocery sales account for about half of all business at Wal-Mart, and approximately one out of every three dollars spent on groceries in the United States is spent at Wal-Mart.

That is absolutely astounding, and it obviously gives Wal-Mart an immense amount of power.

In fact, if you can believe it, Wal-Mart actually purchases a billion pounds of beef every single year.

So the next time someone asks you where the beef is, you can tell them that it is at Wal-Mart.

On the restaurant side, the ten largest fast food corporations account for 47 percent of all fast food sales, and the love affair that Americans have with fast food does not appear to be in danger of ending any time soon.

Personally, if you do not like how these corporate giants are behaving, you can always complain.

But you are just one person among 313 million, and most of these big corporations are not going to consider the ramblings of one person to be of any significance whatsoever.

Collectively, however, we have great power.  And the way that we are going to get these big corporations to change is by voting with our wallets.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans seem quite satisfied with the status quo.  So the population as a whole is likely going to continue to get sicker, fatter and less healthy with each passing year, and the big food corporations are going to keep becoming even more powerful.

World Bank: Social Instability, Rising Food Prices and Shortages on Horizon

Editor’s Note:  Do you really think that America is going to be unscathed from the world rising food prices?

What about the impact of our droughts and water shortages in different locations?  What about Fukushima?  Or the flood of illegal immigrants coming across the US/Mexican border from Central America because they are jobless, hungry?  Or the negative impact that GMOs and corporate farming are having on our productivity and health?

Rising world food prices

 

World Bank warns of food riots as rising food prices push world populations toward revolt

(NaturalNews) A new report issued by the World Bank (1) warns that food prices are skyrocketing globally, with wheat up 18 percent and corn up 12 percent this quarter. Ukraine, one of the largest wheat exporters in the world, has suffered a 73 percent increase in domestic wheat costs. Argentina has seen wheat prices skyrocket 70 percent.

According to the World Bank, these price increases have been caused primarily by three factors: 1) Sharply higher demand for food in China, 2) U.S. drought conditions that hammered wheat production, and 3) unrest in Ukraine due to the near state of war with Russia.

Rising food prices lead to food riots

According to the World Bank, rising food prices have caused 51 food riots in 37 countries since 2007. These include Tunisia, South Africa, Cameroon and India, among other nations.

“Food price shocks can both spark and exacerbate conflict and political instability,” warns the report.

A World Bank blog entry by Senior Economist Jose Cuesta entitled “No Food, No Peace” (2) warns that “It is quite likely that we will experience more food riots in the foreseeable future… food price shocks have repeatedly led to spontaneous — typically urban — sociopolitical instability.”

California Commodities Statistics

California Commodities Statistics-Look at How California Dominates

I always heard that the Midwest was the country’s bread basket.  Have you ever thought that California is your grocery basket?

Have you ever studied the California commodities statistics?

When I was researching this issue, I was surprised at the number of our commodities California farmers are the number 1 supplier.

Just browse below and see what you and your family frequently eat.

I encourage everyone to start developing some food storage for your favorite commodities.  It looks like the food supply chain will feel the effects of the drought for at least a year, maybe two years.  Presently you’re not seeing an immediate significant increase in prices because of commodities already in the system.  But, unfortunately, soon you will.

With incomes only increasing 1% last year while food prices rises significantly above that, the American consumer’s buying power has decreased.  In America we’re not used to allotting a significant portion of our monthly income on groceries; however, there are many countries where people spend 20% or more on food.

What concerns me is when food prices increase, will people, for budgetary reasons, turn to cheaper foods?  Generally cheaper foods are unhealthier, stuffed with GMOs, MSG, hidden MSG and aspartame along with food dyes and other food chemicals.  Sometimes I wonder why they even call those items “food”.  Maybe they should be more accurately be called “chemical ‘food'”.

We need to be smart.  Why can’t we store away some food so when the prices increase during the “California Drought price rise” period we lessen the effect?

What I am advocating is storing for your grocery budget so you can engage in cost averaging.  That’s what successful businesses do when they have a manufacturing material they know is going to increase in cost.

So look at the charts below.  I suggest to you if you and your family regularly eat a commodity where California farmers have a significant impact upon the supply, that you store as many that are practical and within your budget.

Crops-Where-California-Leads

California-Vegetable-Production

California-Fruit-NutsCalifornia-Field-Seed-CropsCalifornia-Livestock

(Note:  Just don’t look at each commodities rank.  Look at the percentage they have of the U.S. production for that commodity.)

 

After reviewing this, do you see why you need to store some food of your favorite foods so you can engage in cost averaging?

 

 

 

 

Top 20 California Crops and Commodities

Top 20 California Crops and Commodities

In assessing the potential damage that the California drought will have on the U.S. food supply chain, we need to look at (1) which crops bring them the most revenue; and (2) which agricultural crops they dominate in providing us produce and ingredients for food manufacturing.

This post identifies the former.

Of California’s 20 largest commodities, which one(s) do you and your family eat on a routine basis?

For those identified, you need to think about finding alternative sources for savings.  For example, are you going to grow your own vegetables this summer?  Is there a farm nearby where you can buy these commodities, can or freeze them?  Or what about going to a farmer’s market, purchase, freeze and can them?

(Remember, always inquire with any farm, co-op or farmer’s market reseller about their agricultural practices.  Are they using glyphosphate or Round-up?  Some sellers at farmers market do not grow their foods.   They are just retailers. )

Likewise, if you don’t have the land to space or situation to grow a garden, lack the time to do so, etc., you can always buy freeze dried food.

Top-20-California-Comm

How many of California’s Top 20 commodities are part of you and your family’s diet?

 

 

 

15 Reasons Why Food Prices Are Going To Start SOARING

Note:  Look at the stranglehold California has on our fresh produce and the food processing system.

A smart grocery shopping strategy would be:

1.  Look at the list of foods that California monopolizes the food chain (see article below).

2.  Which ones do you and your family eat?

3.  Start storing those food items that will be most affected by the drought so your pocketbook won’t be drained.

4. Personally, since I eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, I am going to stock at least one case of each item that I eat regularly as an offset.

5. Thrive is not only cost competitive, but cheaper, than the grocery store per serving from my study.

6.  Thrive has a 25 year shelf life on almost all of these items if it is freeze dried; 3 to 8 years if dehydrated.  This means that my food will no expire on me plus I eliminate the waste of leftovers (which I rarely eat-just don’t like them).

7.  Thrive also has the advantage over buying canned grocery store food:

  • We freeze dry the food (after cleaning and prepping) as is.  Canned foods with that process will change alkaline foods to acidic food.   This is important to know since for a healthy diet about 80% of our food needs to be alkaline foods in their final form.
  • We use BPA free cans.  Most grocery store canned food has BPA linings.  In the canning process BPA can leech and put a synethetic estrogen hormone (although in small amounts) in our food which can accumulate in the body.
  • Our cans are lighter, store more and take up less space.  (If you stump your toe on our case of freeze dried food or drop a can on your foot, you won’t be screaming from the pain!  Yea!  I know! 🙂 )

CBS News reported this month that wages last year at best increased on average 1%.  Don’t look for wages to increase much over the next couple of years because of the high cost of implementing Obamacare.

Simultaneously, with probably the real food prices increasing the last year being more close to 10% instead of the government CPI figures around 5%  your household budget is already taking serious blows.  (In the Clinton era they “tinkered” with the statistical model in an effort to “lower” the COLA increases paid to Social Security beneficiaries.)

What do you think this drought is going to do to it?  There’s going to be less food produced, higher farming costs (water, gasoline, etc.).

I am concerned consumers are going to get a real financial beatingThey clearly won’t be able to buy the same quantity of food.  And with less available funds, I certainly don’t want them buying GMOs, MSG, hidden MSG and aspartame foods which are cheaper at the grocery store.

(However, you can buy food without all of that unnatural, man-made processing chemicals and yuk from us cheaper than you can at your grocery store.)

So let’s be smart, a wise steward of what we have.  Doesn’t it make more sense to get these drought affected crops now before the food prices escalate as a temporary cost saving measureI say temporary regarding the drought because it may take several months up to maybe 2 to 3 years for the whole process to elevate and cycle down, depending on the weather patterns we have.

So I encourage you to look at our current unadvertised specials, the vegetable pack in my special veggie flyer in which I noted some of the crops that will be more severely hit by the California drought.

The unadvertised specials are under password protection for our customers.  If you are not a customer, please read http://survive-thrive.us/how-to-get-deep-discounts-become-our-customer/.

You can get immediate access to these special savings by joining our email list and the password and page links will be immediately sent to you.  The email list is on the far right column on this webpage.

15 Reasons Why Your Food Bill Is Going To Start SOARING

U.S. Drought Monitor California February 11 2014Did you know that the U.S. state that produces the most vegetables is going through the worst drought it has ever experienced and that the size of the total U.S. cattle herd is now the smallest that it has been since 1951?  Just the other day, a CBS News article boldly declared that “food prices soar as incomes stand still“, but the truth is that this is only just the beginning.  If the drought that has been devastating farmers and ranchers out west continues, we are going to see prices for meat, fruits and vegetables soar into the stratosphere.  Already, the federal government has declared portions of 11 states to be “disaster areas”, and California farmers are going to leave half a million acres sitting idle this year because of the extremely dry conditions.  Sadly, experts are telling us that things are probably going to get worse before they get better (if they ever do).  As you will read about below, one expert recently told National Geographic that throughout history it has been quite common for that region of North America to experience severe droughts that last for decades.  In fact, one drought actually lasted for about 200 years.  So there is the possibility that the drought that has begun in the state of California may not end during your entire lifetime.

This drought has gotten so bad that it is starting to get national attention.  Barack Obama visited the Fresno region on Friday, and he declared that “this is going to be a very challenging situation this year, and frankly, the trend lines are such where it’s going to be a challenging situation for some time to come.”

According to NBC News, businesses across the region are shutting down, large numbers of workers are leaving to search for other work, and things are already so bad that it “calls to mind the Dust Bowl of the 1930s“…

In the state’s Central Valley — where nearly 40 percent of all jobs are tied to agriculture production and related processing — the pain has already trickled down. Businesses across a wide swath of the region have shuttered, casting countless workers adrift in a downturn that calls to mind the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

If you will recall, there have been warnings that Dust Bowl conditions were going to return to the western half of the country for quite some time.

Now the mainstream media is finally starting to catch up.

And of course these extremely dry conditions are going to severely affect food prices.  The following are 15 reasons why your food bill is going to start soaring…

#1 2013 was the driest year on record for the state of California, and 2014 has been exceptionally dry so far as well.

#2 According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 91.6 percent of the entire state of California is experiencing “severe to exceptional drought” even as you read this article.

#3 According to CNBC, it is being projected that California farmers are going to let half a million acres of farmland sit idle this year because of the crippling drought.

#4 Celeste Cantu, the general manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, says that this drought could have a “cataclysmic” impact on food prices…

Given that California is one of the largest agricultural regions in the world, the effects of any drought, never mind one that could last for centuries, are huge. About 80 percent of California’s freshwater supply is used for agriculture. The cost of fruits and vegetables could soar, says Cantu. “There will be cataclysmic impacts.”

#5 Mike Wade, the executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, recently explained which crops he believes will be hit the hardest…

Hardest hit would be such annual row crops as tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, cantaloupes, garlic, peppers and corn. Wade said consumers can also expect higher prices and reduced selection at grocery stores, particularly for products such as almonds, raisins, walnuts and olives.

#6 As I discussed in a previous article, the rest of the nation is extremely dependent on the fruits and vegetables grown in California.  Just consider the following statistics regarding what percentage of our produce is grown in the state…

99 percent of the artichokes

44 percent of asparagus

two-thirds of carrots

half of bell peppers

89 percent of cauliflower

94 percent of broccoli

95 percent of celery

90 percent of the leaf lettuce

83 percent of Romaine lettuce

83 percent of fresh spinach

a third of the fresh tomatoes

86 percent of lemons

90 percent of avocados

84 percent of peaches

88 percent of fresh strawberries

97 percent of fresh plums

#7 Of course it isn’t just agriculture which will be affected by this drought.  Just consider this chilling statement by Tim Quinn, the executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies…

“There are places in California that if we don’t do something about it, tens of thousands of people could turn on their water faucets and nothing would come out.”

#8 The Sierra Nevada snowpack is only about 15 percent of what it normally is.  As the New York Times recently explained, this is going to be absolutely devastating for Californians when the warmer months arrive…

Experts offer dire warnings. The current drought has already eclipsed previous water crises, like the one in 1977, which a meteorologist friend, translating into language we understand as historians, likened to the “Great Depression” of droughts. Most Californians depend on the Sierra Nevada for their water supply, but the snowpack there was just 15 percent of normal in early February.

#9 The underground aquifers that so many California farmers depend upon are being drained at a staggering rate

Pumping from aquifers is so intense that the ground in parts of the valley is sinking about a foot a year. Once aquifers compress, they can never fill with water again. It’s no surprise Tom Willey wakes every morning with a lump in his throat. When we ask which farmers will survive the summer, he responds quite simply: those who dig the deepest and pump the hardest.

#10 According to an expert interviewed by National Geographic, the current drought in the state of California could potentially last for 200 years or more as some mega-droughts in the region have done in the past…

California is experiencing its worst drought since record-keeping began in the mid 19th century, and scientists say this may be just the beginning. B. Lynn Ingram, a paleoclimatologist at the University of California at Berkeley, thinks that California needs to brace itself for a megadrought—one that could last for 200 years or more.

#11 Much of the western U.S. has been exceedingly dry for an extended period of time, and this is hurting huge numbers of farmers and ranchers all the way from Texas to the west coast…

“Ranchers in the West are selling off their livestock,” Patzert said. “Farmers all over the Southwest, from Texas to Oregon, are fallowing in their fields because of a lack of water. For farmers and ranchers, this is a painful drought.”

#12 The size of the U.S. cattle herd has been shrinking for seven years in a row, and it is now the smallest that it has been since 1951.  But our population has more than doubled since then.

#13 Extremely unusual weather patterns are playing havoc with crops all over the planet right now.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Lizzie Bennett

Peru, Venezuela, and Bolivia have experienced rainfall heavy enough to flood fields and rot crops where they stand. Volcanic eruptions in Ecuador are also creating problems due to cattle ingesting ash with their feed leading to a slow and painful death.

Parts of Australia have been in drought for years affecting cattle and agricultural production.

Rice production in China has been affected by record low temperatures.

Large parts of the UK are underwater, and much of that water is sea water which is poisoning the soil. So wet is the UK that groundwater is so high it is actually coming out of the ground and adding to the water from rivers and the sea. With the official assessment being that groundwater flooding will continue until MAY, and that’s if it doesn’t rain again between now and then. The River Thames is 65 feet higher than normal in some areas, flooding town after town as it heads to the sea.

#14 As food prices rise, our incomes are staying about the same.  The following is from a CBS News article entitled “Food prices soar as incomes stand still“…

While the government says prices are up 6.4 percent since 2011, chicken is up 18.4 percent, ground beef is up 16.8 percent and bacon has skyrocketed up 22.8 percent, making it a holiday when it’s on sale.

#15 As I have written about previously, median household income has fallen for five years in a row.  So average Americans are going to have to make their food budgets stretch more than they ever have before as this drought drags on.

If the drought does continue to get worse, small agricultural towns all over California are going to die off.

For instance, consider what is already happening to the little town of Mendota

The farms in and around Mendota are dying of thirst. The signs are everywhere. Orchards with trees lying on their sides, as if shot. Former farm fields given over to tumbleweeds. Land and cattle for sale, cheap.

Large numbers of agricultural workers continue to hang on, hoping that somehow there will be enough work for them.  But as Evelyn Nieves recently observed, panic is starting to set in…

Off-season, by mid-February, idled workers are clearly anxious. Farmworkers and everyone else who waits out the winter for work (truckers, diesel providers, packing suppliers and the like) are nearing the end of the savings they squirrel away during the season. The season starts again in March, April at the latest, but no one knows who will get work when the season begins, or how much.

People are scared, panicked even.

I did not write this article so that you would panic.

Yes, incredibly hard times are coming.  If you will recall, the 1930s were also a time when the United States experienced extraordinarily dry weather conditions and a tremendous amount of financial turmoil.  We could very well be entering a similar time period.

Worrying about this drought is not going to change anything.  Instead of worrying, we should all be doing what we can to store some things up while food is still relatively cheap.  Our grandparents and our great-grandparents that lived during the days of the Great Depression knew the wisdom of having a well-stocked food pantry, and it would be wise to follow their examples.

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  The United States has never faced anything like this during most of our lifetimes.  We need to shake people out of their “normalcy bias” and get them to understand that big changes are coming.

U.S. Drought Monitor California February 11 2014

Michael Snyder holds  a Bachelors of Science  degree in Commerce from the University of  Virginia  and  law degrees (J.D.bachelors of law;LL.M. Masters of Law in Taxation) from the University of Florida.   He frequently writes on economic issues on his websites, theeconomiccollapseblog.com and www.endoftheamericandream.com.