Invest in the big ‘O’ (or why onions make us cry)

A warning at the very outset – this is a serious piece. It is hard to take a humorous approach when there is a slight chance of onions costing more than gold!

Just read a newspaper article that says the world is on the brink of social unrest over food prices. That is a scary thought. And it hits closer home as compared to a headline that reads that the world is fighting over land or oil. That is distant. But food prices easily translate into breakfast, lunch and dinner. And rising food prices easily translates into our increasing inability to feed our families the way we want to. And I, like every other mum on earth, don’t like that.

The warning signs have been there for some time. But the recent disturbing increase in the prices of onions just brought the issue home real hard. Imagine a future where onions cost more than a gallon of petrol, and vegetable and fruit shop vouchers would be given to newlyweds as wedding gifts!

Just yesterday as I was walking towards the car at the IKEA car park, I mentioned to my sister-in-law, that it is amazing how much easier life has been made by modern amenities. We then spoke about how, while life is easier, it has also made us softer. Case in point – how many of us know anything about electrical wiring or how to saw wood or treat a sore throat with a home remedy? It is so much easier to pick up the mobile and dial the electrician or carpenter or plumber’ number or just head to the pharmacy. I remember my father connecting wires during rainy October nights and making sure that the power comes back. My husband and I would opt to light candles and wait for the electrician. Maybe things are more complicated now and I am guilty of romanticizing the past, but the increasing food prices crisis makes me strongly aware of the fact that as an individual I am not capable of fending for my family if the system fails. And that is a crazy scary thought.

Maybe city dwellers should get together and start their own organic co-operatives. Get together, buy a plot and grow veggies and fruits (yes, that would mean educating and arming ourselves with some basic information, skills and tools). Learn to cherish the soil. Literally return to our roots.

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