Duck and Cover: It’s the New Survivalism

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by MicroBalrog, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. MicroBalrog

    MicroBalrog Monkey+++

    <nyt_headline version="1.0" type=" ">Duck and Cover: It’s the New Survivalism </nyt_headline>

    <nyt_byline version="1.0" type=" "> </nyt_byline>By ALEX WILLIAMS
    <nyt_text> </nyt_text> THE traditional face of survivalism is that of a shaggy loner in camouflage, holed up in a cabin in the wilderness and surrounded by cases of canned goods and ammunition.

    It is not that of Barton M. Biggs, the former chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley. Yet in Mr. Biggs’s new book, “Wealth, War and Wisdom,” he says people should “assume the possibility of a breakdown of the civilized infrastructure.”

    “Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food,” Mr. Biggs writes. “It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc. Think Swiss Family Robinson. Even in America and Europe there could be moments of riot and rebellion when law and order temporarily completely breaks down.”

    Survivalism, it seems, is not just for survivalists anymore.

    Faced with a confluence of diverse threats — a tanking economy, a housing crisis, looming environmental disasters, and a sharp spike in oil prices — people who do not consider themselves extremists are starting to discuss doomsday measures once associated with the social fringes.
    They stockpile or grow food in case of a supply breakdown, or buy precious metals in case of economic collapse. Some try to take their houses off the electricity grid, or plan safe houses far away. The point is not to drop out of society, but to be prepared in case the future turns out like something out of “An Inconvenient Truth,” if not “Mad Max.”

    “I’m not a gun-nut, camo-wearing skinhead. I don’t even hunt or fish,” said Bill Marcom, 53, a construction executive in Dallas.

    Still, motivated by a belief that the credit crunch and a bursting housing bubble might spark widespread economic chaos — “the Greater Depression,” as he put it — Mr. Marcom began to take measures to prepare for the unknown over the last few years: buying old silver coins to use as currency; buying G.P.S. units, a satellite telephone and a hydroponic kit; and building a simple cabin in a remote West Texas desert.

    “If all these planets line up and things do get really bad,” Mr. Marcom said, “those who have not prepared will be trapped in the city with thousands of other people needing food and propane and everything else.”

    Interest in survivalism — in either its traditional hard-core version or a middle-class “lite” variation — functions as a leading economic indicator of social anxiety, preparedness experts said: It spikes at times of peril real (the post-Sept. 11 period) or imagined (the chaos that was supposed to follow the so-called Y2K computer bug in 2000).

    At times, a degree of paranoia is officially sanctioned. In the 1950s, civil defense authorities encouraged people to build personal bomb shelters because of the nuclear threat. In 2003, the Department of Homeland Security encouraged Americans to stock up on plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal windows in case of biological or chemical attacks.

    Now, however, the government, while still conducting business under a yellow terrorism alert, is no longer taking a lead role in encouraging preparedness. For some, this leaves a vacuum of reassurance, and plenty to worry about.

    Esteemed economists debate whether the credit crisis could result in a complete meltdown of the financial system. A former vice president of the United States informs us that global warming could result in mass flooding, disease and starvation, perhaps even a new Ice Age.

    “You just can’t help wonder if there’s a train wreck coming,” said David Anderson, 50, a database administrator in Colorado Springs who said he was moved by economic uncertainties and high energy prices, among other factors, to stockpile months’ worth of canned goods in his basement for his wife, his two young children and himself.

    Popular culture also provides reinforcement, in books like “The Road,” Cormac McCarthy’s novel about a father and son journeying through a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and films like “I Am Legend,” which stars Will Smith as a survivor of a man-made virus wandering the barren streets of New York.

    Middle-class survivalists can also browse among a growing number of how-to books with titles like “Dare to Prepare!” a self-published work by Holly Drennan Deyo, or “When All Hell Breaks Loose” by Cody Lundin (Gibbs Smith, 2007), which instructs readers how to dispose of bodies and dine on rats and dogs in the event of disaster.

    Preparedness activity is difficult to track statistically, since people who take measures are usually highly circumspect by nature, said Jim Rawles, the editor of, a preparedness Web site.

    Nevertheless, interest in the survivalist movement “is experiencing its largest growth since the late 1970s,” Mr. Rawles said in an e-mail, adding that traffic at his blog has more than doubled in the past 11 months, with more than 67,000 unique visitors per week. And its base is growing.
    “Our core readership is still solidly conservative,” he said. “But in recent months I’ve noticed an increasing number of stridently green and left-of-center readers.”

    One left-of-center environmentalist who is taking action is Alex Steffen, the executive editor of, a Web site devoted to sustainability. With only slight irony, Mr. Steffen, 40, said he and his girlfriend could serve as “poster children for the well-adjusted, urban liberal survivalist,” given that they keep a six-week cache of food and supplies in his basement in Seattle (although they polished off their bottle of doomsday whiskey at a party).

    He said the chaos following Hurricane Katrina served as a wake-up call for him and others that the government might not be able to protect them in an emergency or environmental crisis.

    “The ‘where do we land when climate change gets crazy?’ question seems to be an increasingly common one,” said Mr. Steffen in an e-mail message, adding that such questions have “really gone mainstream.”

    Many of the new, nontraditional preparedness converts are “Peakniks,” Mr. Rawles said, referring to adherents of the “Peak Oil” theory. This concept holds that the world will soon, or has already, reached a peak in oil production, and that coming supply shortages might threaten society. While the theory is still disputed by many industry analysts and executives, it has inched toward the mainstream in the last two years, as oil prices have nearly doubled, surpassing $100 a barrel. The topic, which was the subject of a United States Department of Energy report in 2005, has attracted attention in publications like The New York Times Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, and was a primary focus of “Megadisasters: Oil Apocalypse,” a recent History Channel special.

    Another book, “The Long Emergency” (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005), by James Howard Kunstler, an author and journalist who writes about economic and environmental issues, argues that American suburbs and cities may soon lay desolate as people, starved of oil, are forced back to the land to adopt a hardscrabble, 19th-century-style agrarian life.

    Such fears caused Joyce Jimerson of Bellingham, Wash., a coordinator for a recycling-composting program affiliated with Washington State University, to make her yard an “edible garden,” with fruit trees and vegetables, in case supplies are threatened by oil shortages, climate change or economic collapse. “It’s all the same ball of wax, as far as I’m concerned,” she said.
    Scott Troyer, an energy consultant in Sunnyvale, Calif., said he was spurred by discussions of peak oil — “it’s not a theory,” he said — and other energy concerns to remake his suburban house in anticipation of a petroleum-starved future. Mr. Troyer, 57, installed a photovoltaic electricity system, a pellet stove and a “cool roof” to reflect the sun’s rays, among other measures.

    Mr. Troyer remains cautiously optimistic that Americans can wean themselves from oil through smart engineering and careful planning. But, he said, “the doomsday scenarios will happen if people don’t prepare.”
    Some middle-class preparedness converts, like Val Vontourne, a musician and paralegal in Olympia, Wash., recoil at the term “survivalist,” even as they stock their homes with food, gasoline and water.

    “I think of survivalists as being an extreme case of preparedness,” said Ms. Vontourne, 44, “people who stockpile guns and weapons, anticipating extreme aggression. Whereas what I’m doing, I think of as something responsible people do.

    “I now think of storing extra food, water, medicine and gasoline in the same way I think of buying health insurance and putting money in my 401k,” she said. “It just makes sense.”
    <nyt_update_bottom> </nyt_update_bottom>
  2. MbRodge

    MbRodge Monkey+++

    This article brought a question to my mind and that question is this: Will the dying time last longer now? I have always planned to lay low and wait for the majority of society to starve to death. How long is that going to take now that "normal" people are starting to stock food? I know they will never be able to support themselves, but this will definitely stretch the amount of time they have to live and the damage they can do.
  3. groovy mike

    groovy mike Immortal

    The sheeple are awakening!
  4. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    Scary isn't it. [gone]

  5. slots

    slots Monkey+++

    I think we are still a long way off a large number of "normal people" laying up enough food to make any difference. I would imagine the percentage is tiny, and the distances between Them and Us too large to make a difference.

    Your post reminds me of the film "28 days later" when they chain a zombie to a post and see how long it takes for him to die. A practical experiment, but not pleasant to watch.
  6. CBMS

    CBMS Looking for a safe place

    Indeed, While unpleasnt to talk about it is an eventuality we will have to prepare for, and defend against. I plan on not being around the sheeple long enough to see them emaciated.
  7. RouteClearance

    RouteClearance Monkey+++

    Those sheeple now just starting to wake up are now too late. Just because they are now starting to prep, they still lack basic survival skills. All those preps are going to do is to prolong their suffering. They will also not be able to develope a "Survival Mindset" that will get them through. I have seen this so many times that I just walk away from them for the main fact is none of them have really worked one day of good ol' fashioned manual labor(HARD WORK) because they think that this type of work is beneath them. One arm chair type told me with a straight face that all he had to do was to relax till the storm blew over. I asked him what if the storm lasted for as least five years. He never answered that question.
  8. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Well, if our brave "Liberal Survivalists" think they can hole up in their McMansions and Lofts for six weeks til Uncle Sugar comes and bails them out . . .

    The local Homeys will kill them and steal their stuff long before . . . [beat]

    If they do last a few weeks - they'll go crazy without power for their Latte Makers and Blowdriers. [ROFL]
  9. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    It is going to be funny if for a few seconds, when they now need a gun and ammo and it costs a quarter of their yearly salary. Then it will be frightning, because the profiteers will really jack the cost of everything up to unbearable prices.... you know, kinda like the oil companies!
  10. MbRodge

    MbRodge Monkey+++

    OH man sniper, I can't wait!!! Some former liberal shows up asking if he can trade for a gun and I say....SURE, IF YOU CAN FIND AN FFL TO DO THE TRANSFER!!!! That would totally make the collapse worthwhile!
  11. badkarma

    badkarma ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

    stockpiling as an aspect of survival....and not a large one. what good is a basement full of supplies if you don't have he sense to watch your 6, and you get shot in the back of the head while putting the key into the front door of your "bunker"?
  12. groovy mike

    groovy mike Immortal

    It's worse than you think. The riots have already begun - the following copied from a post by Eeyore on another board:

    Bouncing of several articles about food hoarding and roits, here are a few updates

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3 width="90%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>Quote:</TD></TR><TR><TD class=quote ZYrmq="0" PEzAm="34">1 Killed in Haiti Food Protests
    April 7, 2008 - 5:34pm

    Associated Press Writer

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Protesters angered by high [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]food [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]prices[/FONT][/FONT] flooded the streets of Haiti's capital Monday, forcing businesses and schools to close as unrest spread from the countryside.

    Witnesses said at least one person was killed by hotel [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]security [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]guards[/FONT][/FONT] during a protest in the southern city of Les Cayes, where at least four people died last week in food riots and clashes with U.N. peacekeepers. Police said they were investigating.

    Thousands of people marched mostly peacefully past the National Palace in Port-au-Prince. "We're hungry," some called out. Others carried posters reading "Down with the expensive life!"

    Some protesters threw chairs against buildings and shouted for the U.N. troops to leave the country, blaming them for the high price of rice.

    A U.N. spokeswoman appealed for calm as peacekeepers defended government buildings.

    "We call on the population to reject the trap of violence. Violence will just make the cost of living worse," Sophie Boutaud de la Combe said.

    Haitians are particularly affected by food prices that are rising worldwide. Eighty percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day. The cost of staples such as rice, beans, [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]fruit[/FONT][/FONT] and condensed milk has gone up 50 percent in the past year.

    "Some can't take the hunger anymore," the Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste told The Associated Press. "As a priest, I encourage all government officials to do their best to find ways to solve the near-famine situation."

    The U.N. World Food Program made an urgent appeal for donations Monday to support its operations in Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned last week that the food crisis could threaten Haiti's already fragile security.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3 width="90%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>Quote:</TD></TR><TR><TD class=quote ZYrmq="0" PEzAm="8">Violence hits capital in protest of food prices
    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Protesters angered by high food prices flooded the streets of Haiti’s capital yesterday, and businesses and schools were closed as unrest spread from the countryside.

    Witnesses said that at least one person was killed by hotel security guards during a protest in the southern city of Les Cayes, where at least four people were killed last week in food riots and clashes with U.N. peacekeepers.

    Haitians are particularly affected by food prices that are rising worldwide. Eighty percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3 width="90%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>Quote:</TD></TR><TR><TD class=quote ZYrmq="0" PEzAm="166">ood Prices Soaring Worldwide
    March 24, 2008 - 1:51pm

    Associated Press Staff Writer

    MEXICO CITY (AP) - If you're seeing your grocery bill go up, you're not alone.

    From subsistence [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]farmers[/FONT][/FONT] eating rice in Ecuador to gourmets feasting on escargot in France, consumers worldwide face rising food prices in what analysts call a perfect storm of conditions. Freak weather is a factor. But so are dramatic changes in the [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]global [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]economy[/FONT][/FONT], including higher oil prices, lower food reserves and growing consumer demand in China and India.

    The world's poorest nations still harbor the greatest hunger risk. Clashes over bread in Egypt killed at least two people last week, and similar food riots broke out in Burkina Faso and Cameroon this month.

    But food protests now crop up even in Italy. And while the price of spaghetti has doubled in Haiti, the cost of [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]miso[/FONT][/FONT] is packing a hit in Japan.

    "It's not likely that prices will go back to as low as we're used to," said Abdolreza Abbassian, economist and secretary of the Intergovernmental Group for Grains for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. "Currently if you're in Haiti, unless the government is subsidizing consumers, consumers have no choice but to cut consumption. It's a very brutal scenario, but that's what it is."

    No one knows that better than Eugene Thermilon, 30, a Haitian day laborer who can no longer afford pasta to feed his wife and four children since the price nearly doubled to $0.57 a bag. Their only meal on a recent day was two cans of corn grits.

    "Their stomachs were not even full," Thermilon said, walking toward his pink [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]concrete[/FONT][/FONT] house on the precipice of a garbage-filled ravine. By noon the next day, he still had nothing to feed them for dinner.

    Their hunger has had a ripple effect. Haitian food vendor Fabiola Duran Estime, 31, has lost so many customers like Thermilon that she had to pull her daughter, Fyva, out of [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]kindergarten[/FONT][/FONT] because she can't afford the $20 monthly tuition.

    Fyva was just beginning to read.

    In the long term, prices are expected to stabilize. Farmers will grow more grain for both fuel and food and eventually bring prices down. Already this is happening with wheat, with more crops to be planted in the U.S., Canada and Europe in the coming year.

    However, consumers still face at least 10 years of more expensive food, according to preliminary FAO projections.

    Among the driving forces are [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]petroleum [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]prices[/FONT][/FONT], which increase the cost of everything from fertilizers to transport to food processing. Rising demand for meat and dairy in rapidly developing countries such as China and India is sending up the cost of grain, used for cattle feed, as is the demand for raw materials to make biofuels.

    What's rare is that the spikes are hitting all major foods in most countries at once. Food prices rose 4 percent in the U.S. last year, the highest rise since 1990, and are expected to climb as much again this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    As of December, 37 countries faced food crises, and 20 had imposed some sort of food-price controls.

    For many, it's a disaster. The U.N.'s World Food Program says it's facing a $500 million shortfall in funding this year to feed 89 million needy people. On Monday, it appealed to donor countries to step up contributions, saying its efforts otherwise have to be scaled back.

    In Egypt, where bread is up 35 percent and [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]cooking [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]oil[/FONT][/FONT] 26 percent, the government recently proposed ending food subsidies and replacing them with cash payouts to the needy. But the plan was put on hold after it sparked public uproar.

    "A revolution of the hungry is in the offing," said Mohammed el-Askalani of Citizens Against the High Cost of Living, a protest group established to lobby against ending the subsidies.

    In China, the price hikes are both a burden and a boon.

    Per capita meat consumption has increased 150 percent since 1980, so Zhou Jian decided six months ago to switch from selling auto parts to pork. The price of pork has jumped 58 percent in the past year, yet every morning housewives and domestics still crowd his Shanghai shop, and more customers order choice cuts.

    The 26-year-old now earns $4,200 a month, two to three times what he made [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]selling [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]car[/FONT][/FONT] parts. And it's not just pork. Beef is becoming a weekly indulgence.

    "The Chinese middle class is starting to change the traditional thought process of beef as a luxury," said Kevin Timberlake, who manages the U.S.-based Western Cattle Company feedlot in China's Inner Mongolia.

    At the same time, increased cost of food staples in China threatens to wreak havoc. Beijing has been selling grain from its reserves to hold down prices, said Jing Ulrich, chairwoman of China [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]equities[/FONT][/FONT] for JP Morgan.

    "But this is not really solving the root cause of the problem," Ulrich said. "The cause of the problem is a supply-demand imbalance. Demand is very strong. Supply is constrained. It is as simple as that."

    Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says fighting inflation from shortages of key foods is a top [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]economic[/FONT][/FONT] priority. Inflation reached 7.1 percent in January, the highest in 11 years, led by an 18.2 percent jump in food prices.

    Meanwhile, record oil prices have boosted the cost of fertilizer and freight for bulk commodities _ up 80 percent in 2007 over 2006. The oil spike has also turned up the pressure for countries to switch to biofuels, which the FAO says will drive up the cost of corn, sugar and soybeans "for many more years to come."

    In Japan, the [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]ethanol[/FONT][/FONT] boom is hitting the country in mayonnaise and miso, two important culinary ingredients, as biofuels production pushes up the price of cooking oil and soybeans.

    A two-pound bottle of mayonnaise his risen about 10 percent in two months to as much as 330 yen (nearly $3), said Daishi Inoue, a cook at a [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Chinese [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]restaurant[/FONT][/FONT].

    "It's not hurting us much now," he said. "But if prices keep going up, we have no choice but to raise our prices."

    Miso Bank, a restaurant in Tokyo's glitzy Ginza district, specializes in food cooked with miso, or soybean paste.

    "We expect prices to go up in April all at once," said Miso Bank manager Koichi Oritani. "The hikes would affect our menu. So we plan to order miso in bulk and make changes to the menu."

    Italians are feeling the pinch in pasta, with consumer groups staging a one-day strike in September against a food deeply intertwined with national identity. Italians eat an estimated 60 pounds of pasta per capita a year.

    The protest was symbolic because Italians typically [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]stock[/FONT][/FONT] up on pasta, buying multiple packages at a time. But in the next two months pasta consumption dropped 5 percent, said farm lobbyist Rolando Manfredini.

    "The situation has gotten even worse," he said.

    In decades past, farm subsidies and support programs allowed major grain exporting countries to hold large surpluses, which could be tapped during food shortages to keep prices down. But new trade policies have made agricultural production much more responsive to market demands _ putting global food reserves at their lowest in a quarter century.

    Without reserves, bad weather and poor harvests have a bigger impact on prices.

    "The market is extremely nervous. With the slightest news about bad weather, the market reacts," said [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]economist[/FONT][/FONT] Abbassian.

    That means that a drought in Australia and flooding in Argentina, two of the world's largest suppliers of industrial milk and butter, sent the price of butter in France soaring 37 percent from 2006 to 2007.

    Forty percent of [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]escargot[/FONT][/FONT], the snail dish, is butter.

    "You can do the calculation yourself," said Romain Chapron, president of Croque Bourgogne, which supplies escargot. "It had a considerable effect. It forced people in our profession to tighten their belts to the maximum."

    The same climate crises sparked a 21 percent rise in the cost of milk, which with butter makes another famous French food item _ the croissant. Panavi, a pastry and bread supplier, has raised retail prices of croissants and pain au [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]chocolat[/FONT][/FONT] by 6 to 15 percent.

    Already, there's a lot of suspicion among consumers.

    "They don't understand why prices have gone up like this," said Nicole Watelet, general secretary at the Federation of French Bakeries and Pastry Enterprises. "They think that someone is profiting from this. But it's not us. We're paying." Food costs worldwide spiked 23 percent from 2006 to 2007, according to the FAO. Grains went up 42 percent, oils 50 percent and dairy 80 percent.

    Economists say that for the short term, government bailouts will have to be part of the answer to keep unrest at a minimum. In recent weeks, rising food prices sparked riots in the West African nations of Burkina Faso, where mobs torched buildings, and Cameroon, where at least four people died.

    But attempts to control prices in one country often have dire effects elsewhere. China's restrictions on wheat flour exports resulted in a price spike in Indonesia this year, according to the FAO. Ukraine and Russia imposed export restrictions on wheat, causing tight supplies and higher prices for importing countries. Partly because of the cost of imported wheat, Peru's military has begun eating bread made from potato flour, a native crop.

    "We need a response on a large scale, either the regional or international level," said Brian Halweil of the environmental research organization Worldwatch Institute. "All countries are tied enough to the world food markets that this is a global crisis."

    Poorer countries can speed up the adjustment by [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]investing[/FONT][/FONT] in agriculture, experts say. If they do, farmers can turn high prices into an engine for growth.

    But in countries like Burkina Faso, the crisis is immediate.

    Days after the riots, Pascaline Ouedraogo wandered the market in the capital, Ouagadougou, looking to [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]buy [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]meat[/FONT][/FONT] and vegetables. She said a good meal cost 1,000 francs (about $2.35) not long ago. Now she needs twice that.

    "The more prices go up, the less there is to meet their needs," she said of her three children, all in secondary school. "You wonder if it's the government or the businesses that are behind the price hikes."

    Irene Belem, a 25-year-old with twins, struggles to buy milk, which has gone up 57 percent in recent weeks.

    "We knew we were poor before," she said, "but now it's worse than poverty."


    Katherine Corcoran is based in Mexico City. AP correspondents worldwide contributed to this report.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=3 width="90%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>Quote:</TD></TR><TR><TD class=quote ZYrmq="0" PEzAm="22">Thieves Target Va. Food Banks
    April 4, 2008 - 8:31am

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - Police in Alexandria are investigating the theft of more than 1,000 pounds of canned goods from a food bank [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]warehouse[/FONT][/FONT].
    The food was taken sometime in March from Alexandrians Involved Ecumenically, also known as ALIVE. The organization delivers food to about 12,000 needy people each year.

    ALIVE president Gerry Hebert wonders if it will be safe to store it at the warehouse.

    Meanwhile, someone stole about 250 pounds of food from the Central Virginia Foodbank in Richmond.

    Foodbank officials said this week that $420 worth of peanut butter, jelly and canned items apparently were taken from a drop-off donation box.

    Foodbank [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]CEO[/FONT][/FONT] Fay Lohr said Richmond police told them a man apparently had been breaking into the back of the box outside the offices where people leave food donations. She said no one noticed because each time he took food, he would leave some behind.

    Police discovered the missing food as part of another theft investigation. </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
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