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The Day's food in war and peace
([ca.1918])

Lesson I: [Food and the war],   pp. 7-18 PDF (3.4 MB)


Page 10

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restricted until our own new ships are available to help. Beyond this, again,
much food is lost at sea-perhaps 10 per cent of the actual shipments-and
America offers the nearest and safest route. 
Of no less concern than the inaccessibility of markets, and the losses at
sea, 
is the decrease of production among the Allies. If 40,000,000 men are taken
out 
of productive labor and put into war and war work, there can only be one
result-that is, diminution in the -production of food. Another cause of this
diminution is the lessening in the amount of fertilizer which is available,
through shortage of shipping and losses at sea, and the consequent reduction
in the productivity of the soil itself. In France the enemy has occupied
over 
3,000,000 acres of agricultural land. In 1917 the decrease in production
stood 
out in more vivid silhouette than ever before. 
Add to this the present necessity of increasing the daily ration of other
millions of men turned from sedentary occupations into those of strenuous
physical labor, resulting in a marked increase of consumption, and this defi-
ciency between the food needs and the food production of the Allies becomes
greater than ever, with consequent large increase in the food quantities
impera- 
tively needed from the United States if the allied armies are to be able
to 
"carry on." North America is thus called upon, by both allies and
neutrals, 
for quantities of food far beyond its usual exports. 
How great the burden upon the United States is may be made clear by a few
figures: During the last three-year period before the war we averaged an
an- 
jual export of 120,000,000 bushels of grain and 500,000,000 pounds of animal
products and fats. From July, 1916, to July, 1917, we exported over 400,000,000
.bushels of grain and 1,500,000,000 pounds of animal products and fats, and
from July, 1917, to March, 1918, the amount was 224,000,000 bushels of grain
and 926,500,000 pounds of animal products and fats. 
As the causes of Europe's shortage grow in intensity our load will become
of still greater weight. 
Our wheat situation is to-day ' the. most serious situation in the food supply
of the whole allied world. We have had a stock taking in the early (lays
of 
March, and we find that our harvest was less than it was estimated. There
is also another and more bitter difficulty in the delays of shipping, in
the 
growing scarcity of ships, which has thrown a larger burden upon the Ameri-
can people in feeding the Allies than we had expected. We had all expected
that the Argentine supply would be available in Europe before this time.
Those supplies will not arrive in quantity for another two months, and even
then will be less than we had hoped. The consequence is that the supply of
breadstuffs in Europe is at its lowest ebb. There is but one source of replenish-
ment, and that is the United States. 
The Allies are making every possible effort to reduce consumption and elim-
inate waste. Most of the principal staples are dealt out to the public under
restriction of one kind or another. Fines and even imprisonment are levied
on persons who throw away stale bread. But despite all these efforts, there
is not such a reduction in national consumption as one might expect. Besides
the men In the trenches and the men working 10 to 11 hours daily in the 
shops, millions of women have been drawn into physical labor, and all of
these 
require more food than they required under normal conditions in pre-war times.
There is one feature of all the efforts toward conservation in Europe that
stands out vividly-the non-working population is In large part composed of
the old, the women, and the children; they are the class upon which the 
'March 30, 1918. 


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