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Photograph by Curtis & Miller
HOW THE WORLD IS FED
muscles of meats, the casein of milk, the only the most fertile third of the world's gluten of four, and the nitrogenous fats. potential food - producing acreage is It
inay also happen that as a result of under cultivation today—but the crops the war will come the utilization of other themselves are being constantly improved plant products than those now entering and their natural per-acre yield increased. into direct use as human food. There It is a far cry from the little old are approximately half a million species knotted and gnarled apples of a few cenof plants in the world, and yet only a few turies ago to the magnificent Stayman thousand of them are used at all for food, winesaps, York imperials, and Albemarle while only a few hundred of these are pippins of today; and it is also a far cry used to any important extent. Some of from the unimproved, small and hard the plants which we now grow are ex peach of the olden days to the big, luspensive food - producers, some produce cious Alberta of the present; nor is the food that is difficult to digest, and some change that has come over the potato give a small yield per acre.
since Burbank begun his experiments any
less noted. Both in the animal and in the DEVELOPING NEW FOODS
vegetable world a marked improvement We are constantly developing new is constantly taking place. Whether there foods. It is only little more than half a will be further improvements as a result century since the tomato was a curiosity of the war in Europe remains to be seen. of the South, known as the "love apple, and used to scare the slaves, who thought
WILIT OF THE FUTURE ? it poisonous. Corn came to us from the Many men are inclined to sound a pesIndians, and has become one of the lead simistic note as to the adequacy of the ing cereal crops of the world. It is less world's food supply for future generathan a century ago that the lima bean tions, and, like Malthus a hundred years came to us from South America, and the ago, are inclined to predict that the day potato was unknown to civilization be has at last come when the human race fore the white man went to Peru and must cease to expand its numbers, or else Colombia (see page 42).
face inevitable hunger. Today representatives of all of the And when we consider how many leading nations are scouring the remote mouthis there are in this world to feed, places of the earth for crops which prom and how much food it takes to satisfy ise to increase the world's total yield of them, little room is there to wonder at food, as well as its per-acre production. this note of pessimism. In our own Department of Agriculture The earth's population today reaches a we have a division which has brought grand total of about 1,700,000,000 souls. perhaps 40,000 different kinds of plants If they were all set down at a banquet it into the United States, many of them to would require sixteen tables reaching be placed on trial as food-producers. around the globe to seat them. For every
The Mission Fathers of our Southwest ounce of food they ate, the dinner-giver who brought the olive and the date from would have to provide 53,000 tons of prothe Mediterranean region, gave to Cali visions, and if the dinner were no more fornia some of the richest olive and date than a democratic dollar-a-plate affair, it orchards in the world, while a woman would cost, in the aggregate, as much as missionary, traveling in Brazil, sent us it costs to run the United States governcuttings from which the great orange ment a year and a half. growing industry of our country has Expressed in terms of annual conbeen developed (see page 71).
sumption, the world's market basket is
one that defies portrayal in weight and FRUITS AND VEGETABLES HAVE BEEN
size. One is forced to cast around for WONDERFULLY IMPROVED
new units of measurement to give a Not only is mankind gradually increas proper idea of its proportions. Assuming the possible acreage for the growing ing that the average inhabitant of the of foodstuffs—and statistics indicate that earth uses two pounds of provisions a
It is only a generation since the tomato was first accepted by civilization, and yet today millions of people reward it as an almost indispensable part of the kitchen vegetable supply. New Jersey is our leading tomato and asparagus producing State; New York leads in cabbage, onions, and sweet corn; Florida holds first place in the production of green beans, cucumbers, egg plant and lettuce; California produces more cantaloupes and muskmelons than any other State, and Texas makes its bid for vegetable-producing fame by leading the procession as a producer of watermelons.
Photograplı from Rev. B. H. Johns A DAY'S RATIONS FOR 43 BOYS : TIENTSIN, NORTH CHINA The food for one day (two meals) is, beginning at the left: bag of wheat flour for bread, 32 pounds; bottle of sesame seed oil; little basket of sea salt; two pounds of bean curd (in wicker ladle); large stone bowl of rice, 33 pounds, and several heads of Chinese cabbage. The bundle of dried grass at the right is the fuel for preparing it.
day, the total for the year would amount $6,000,000,000 is added to the world's to a billion and a quarter tons. It would annual market-basket expense. require a string of cars, carrying thirty
STARVATION STILL REMOTE tons to the car and reaching eight times around the earth, to haul this material. But when one considers the possibili
ties of future food production, it is diffiTHE AVERAGE RATION
cult to have much faith in the prophecies The fact, however, is that the average of pessimism of these twentieth-century inhabitant of the earth probably uses successors of Malthus (see also page 91). more than two pounds of provisions a For instance, in the United States we day. The steerage passengers on Eng- have 935,000,000 acres of arable land, lish ships are allowed 21/2 pounds each a only 400,000,000 of which are under culday. Even the prisoner in the average
tivation. Yet, with less than half of our jail gets more than 2 pounds; the Rus- available land utilized, the United States sian conscript 4 pounds; and the Aus- produces one-sixth of the world's wheat, trian common soldier 2/2 pounds a day. four-ninths of its corn, one-fourth of its
Still another way to get an idea of the oats, one-eighth of its cattle, one-third of size of the world's food problem is to as its hogs, and one-twelfth of its sheep. sume that the average individual con Even with the land now under cultivasumes ten cents' worth of food daily. tion, if we produced as much wheat per On this basis it would require the entire acre as England and Germany, we could national wealth of the United States, the supply the world with two-thirds of its richest nation of all history, to pay the flour. If we produced as much corn to world's food bill for twenty-six months. the acre as they do, we could double the For every cent per day per capita that world's supply of that product. the cost of living increases, more than Today the United States has a total
“Taking the world's supply of sheep, cattle, and hogs, and making proper allowances for less improved methods of stock-raising on other parts of the globe as compared with those of the United States, it appears that mankind at large uses in the neighborhood of 47,000,000,000 pounds of meat a year,” which is about 49 pounds per capita, as compared with America's 172 pounds (see text, page 12).