Food Security

The Isle of Man has arable land. It has farmers. It has crops. It has livestock. It has a slaughterhouse. It has a dairy. It has the potential to feed itself.

However, because of the crazy world we find ourselves in, economies of scale mean that Isle of Man milk and cheese can cost more than imported products. The same is true of meat. This means that many people choose to buy the cheapest food products, which don’t help to sustain our farming industry.

A few weeks ago, I had cause to visit that well known large (UK owned) supermarket in Douglas. At the time, the weather had been very stormy and several boat sailings had been cancelled. So what was the result?

Empty shelves. Scarcity of food.

This got me thinking. If people continue to buy the cheapest possible food rather than locally sourced food, we could be in a situation where we are entirely dependent on imported food for our survival.

What if the boats and planes were cancelled for a week or two? What would happen? This could be due to a freak weather event, but it could equally be caused by the global economy faltering to such an extent that the companies that run the transport links collapse. International disputes could cut off the supply of fuel for the boats and planes. The IT infrastructure of the air-traffic control system could fail. Godzilla could rise from the Irish Sea… (OK, maybe that *is* a bit far fetched!)

You get the picture though. We either live on an island that could cope without imported food, or we starve. Which would you prefer?

The simple answer is to maintain our farming industry. If you are able, please consider always buying local produce. A few pence more at the checkout is a small price to pay for an insurance policy that maintains our supply of food in a crisis.