Letter: Lentils will be the answer to COVID-19 food challenges

It will take about two sea container loads to cover the needed 2,200 cals a day for 43 days

To the Expositor:

The time will soon arrive when the grocery store will be empty and restocking will be sporadic or non-existent.

The difference between civil society and anarchy is nine meals.

Most people live paycheque to paycheque, so are unable to stock up.  By the time they focus their family priorities, the food and supplies will be long gone, and no longer available for purchase.

The COVID-19 pandemic will last at least six months, likely longer.

Assuming that 2,084 people of Central Manitoulin need to be fed a minimal, subsistence diet of 2,200 kCal per day for six months, lentils are likely the cheapest and most nutritious option, providing both protein and carbohydrates.

This would be a soup kitchen, with other vegetables and/or meat added as it is available.

Remember the classic Christmas story of the beggar and the stone soup (or button soup), and the townspeople who had nothing to give, but the stone soup kept getting better tasting as each person contributed something to the soup pot.

A half-cup 100 gram serving size of lentils provides 150 kCal.

The cheapest and easiest way to buy lentils is from Manitoba or Saskatchewan farmers in a 20 foot sea container modified to be a bulk grain bin, holding 26 metric tonnes.

Twenty-six metric tonnes equals 260,000 Health Canada-sized servings which equals 86,666 person-days of servings at three servings per day.

For 2,000 people, those 26 metric tonnes in one sea container would feed everybody for 43 days, assuming lentils are just a side dish to the main meal (undefined source of main meal).

If only lentils are available and people need 2,000 kCal/day, each person needs 13.33 serving/day of lentils which equals 1.333 kg/person/day. In this case, 26 metric tonnes will feed 2,000 people for 9.75 days.

To have enough for all of Central Manitoulin for six months we would need a total of 19 sea containers.

A standard chassis truck can haul two containers of 20 feet each, so I recommend immediate purchase of 20 sea containers, 520 metric tonnes of lentils.

I also suggest purchase of 20 cloth bulk bags that can be filled with 1 tonne of grain, then transported to a community centre or other feeding kitchen, then re-filled as necessary from the sea container.

If the emergency is less than feared, the lentils can be re-sold at a significant profit.

If the municipality doesn’t move immediately on implementation, there will soon be no bulk food supplies left available (ie. purchased by others), and you are nine meals away from anarchy caused by the municipality’s procrastination.

Glenn Black

Providence Bay