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The National Food and Health Book (Classic Reprint)

The National Food and Health Book (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The National Food and Health Book

Herbert C. Hoover, head of Belgium Relief, after being expelled from Belgium by the Germans, spent several weeks studying the food situation in England, France and Italy. Before sailing to be President Wilson's food adviser he cabled to the American people on April twenty-first, 1917, the biggest piece of news that has come across the Atlantic since the war began. Here is what he said:

"I feel it my duty to emphasize that the food situation is one of the utmost gravity, which, unless it is solved, may possibly result in the collapse of every thing we hold dear in civilization.

"The total stock of food to-day available in the allied world i? simply not sufficient to last till September if America continues its present rate of consumption. We are now face to face with the result of last year's poor harvest, the diversion of man power from agriculture all over the world, the unavailing efforts of the European women to plant available fields fully, the isolation of Russia, the sinking of food ships and many other causes.

"England, France and Italy are reducing consumption by drastic steps, but even with all this reduction they must have from us during the next three months more than twice as much food as we should have exported normally or than we can send if we consume as usual.

Eat Less - Plant More.

"The only hope of providing the deficiency is by the elimination of waste, and actual and rigorous self-sacrifice on the part of the American people. To carry the Allies over until the next harvest we must reduce our wheat consumption thirty percent. This means that every man, woman and child must forego at least one loaf of wheat bread per week and eat something else or less generously.

"More than seventy percent of American homes already are places of thrift, economy and a clean plate. In the remaining thirty percent no one can deny that there is profligate extravagance and waste. Temperance in entertainment, food and drink is likely to become no longer an ethical question among this class, but a grim imposition of war.

"We must also plant everything and everywhere it will grow, or this time next year the food problem will be absolutely unsolvable and the world will face absolute starvation."

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