Notes from Windward: #67


An Ominous Sign

     Windward started out in southern Nevada, and when we made the decision to relocate, we wanted to settle somewhere that produced a lot of food--my study of history tells me that when folks run out of food, things can get quite nasty. As a result, we picked an area which produces a lot of food. For example, our small rural county produced more than a million bushels of wheat in 2006, and about one and a half million the year before. Mostly the soft winter variety of wheat, that adds up to a lot of biscuits, pancakes and noodles.

     When we arrived in Klickitat County, the grain silos were filled to overflowing to the point where they'd set up a circus tent behind the silos to cover up the extra wheat. Since then we've regularly stopped off at the silo to pick up hundred pound sacks of grain to supply our kitchen and feed our animals, and there's always been huge piles of burlap sacked grain stacked inside the bagging shed.

     Last week I stopped at the silo to pick up a few hundred weight of wheat, and I was shocked to learn that there would be no more wheat available until this year's crop was harvested. That's a hassle in part because it means that we'll have to pay higher prices to feed retailers than we're used to paying the silo, but it was also chilling in a way that had nothing to do with economics.

     For many years our country has had plenty of food; I've heard stories of hunger and privation from older people, but few people today have a clear concept of how their plentiful food supply gets to them. I know that it comes from the fields and is stored in the silos, and that this summer--for the first time in a very long time--the silos are empty.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 67