Monday, December 20, 2010

Emergency Pie Vault

One of the funnier, if slightly dark, things in the comic FreeFall is the emergency pie vault. FreeFall takes place on a terraformed extrasolar planet, and one precaution taken when the planet was terraformed was an emergency food supply in case local agriculture failed. The emergency food supply takes the form of several jillion varieties of pie. FreeFall being what it is, you learn about it when some of the main characters get into a massive irrational pie fight using a tiny portion of its pies.
However, an emergency food supply strikes me as an excellent preparation. One can make a large amount of food in times of plenty, and have it immediately ready in case of disaster. South Korea recently had a major disaster in which heavy rains wiped out the local cabbage crop. Cabbage is the main ingredient in the national dish, Kimchi. Accordingly, the price of Kimchi skyrocketed, and all hell promptly broke loose. The difference has been made up with American cabbage, resulting in some slightly bizarre kimchi. If South Korea had a vault full of kimchi (which is fairly easy to pull off, kimchi is pickled and has a long shelf life), then this wouldn't have happened -- kimchi would be extracted from the vault and replenished next time to much cabbage was farmed.
This would have a secondary benefit of stabilizing crop prices, to the relief of farmers everywhere. In times that the crop is plenty, farmers sell their surplus to the vault. In times of famine, the vault is drawn upon, keeping consumers from starving. Everyone wins. Especially if the vault is in space that wouldn't otherwise be useful, like the bottom of an abandoned mine.
The stored food should be of high nutritional value and have a very long shelf life. Pie fails the first criteria.

1 comment:

TCG said...

I believe you are talking about graneries. That building people made in the game civilisation 1+2 to protect against famine.

It makes sense in a holistic human view. However it makes less sense in a twisted oligopoly system we have. I.e. rather than store the food! In the EU we burn it, or we pay farmers to not grow food, thus creating shortages! Thus keeping prices high.

Or even worse dumping! Whereby we send excess food to Africa whereby their farming methods cannot compete with mega industrialised farming of western nations. Bankrupting their farmers. Then next year jacking prices up when they have no choice!

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