The food riots is a common term for a wave of civil unrest and protests that swept across the United States of America as a reaction to decreasing food supply and strict rationing instituted by the federal government during wartime. As the economy worsened in response to the drawn-out conflict, so did the intensity of the protests, eventually resulting in violence. Riots steadily grew in intensity as hungry, frustrated Americans had to put up with meager rations and increasingly oppressive domestic policies.
The food riots are intimately tied to the Sino-American War, which began in 2066. As resource rationing began, coinciding with food shortages in Mexico and midwestern United States, the food supply greatly decreased, eventually culminating in the food riots.
By January 2077, the federal government had begun deploying front line divisions equipped with power armor to quell domestic unrest. Desertions began as veterans of China and Alaska found themselves fighting fellow Americans. The White House belittled those protesting, claiming that the president was suffering too, having to substitute cube steak for prime rib, while relying on the "detestable" Chateau Montrose 2043 wine. The protesters were ignored, and those who took to the streets were labeled communists.
The combination of these factors only further exacerbated the problems. In just one incident in Roxbury, Boston, four were killed and eight others injured when the hungry crowd stormed a food bank and soldiers guarding the depot opened fire into the unarmed crowd. What made the situation particularly noticeable was the fact that soldiers were allegedly picking out targets in the crowd in advance, and laughing as they did so.
The food crisis was an opportunity that Vault-Tec attempted to cease a solution to, erecting facilities such as the Vault-Tec Agricultural Research Center to test automation of the agricultural center (worsening an already tense relationship between human job growth and robotic automation) and turning Vault 22 into a research center for creating experimental fertilizer and genetically modifying plant organisms.
- Citadel terminal entries; Capital Post Top Stories -- January 11, 2077, Food Riots Rile Feds
- Boston Bugle building terminals; Boston Bugle article terminal, Article 3
- Denver design document, page 6: "When the war with China started, resource rationing occurred and suddenly the construction workers didn't have anything to build with and weren't getting paid. Union riots and strikes occurred because the city couldn't pay and the federal government wouldn't step in to help. When Mexico and the Midwest started to suffer food shortages [...], Denver was hit hard because of its high population. Food rationing began. Food riots started because of the rationing, and some buildings were set on fire."
- Fallout Bible 0: "2077 January 22 The first domestic use of Power Armor within the United States for crowd and quarantine control. Units originally serving in China and the Anchorage Front Line find themselves fighting Americans at home. Food riots increase, and many civilians are killed. Several soldiers defect from the military both in Canada and the United States. They are captured, and are sent to military prisons."
- Vault 22 sign: "Under the heart of the Mojave desert, Vault 22 provides a fertile laboratory for experimentation on staple crops to maximize their potential. Within the Vault, scientists and horticulturalists continue to innovate our understanding of agricultural possibilities in the fight against the global hunger crisis. The scientists who developed a miracle fertilizer within have made a profound impact on your ordinary life. So take a second to reflect on the hard work of Vault-Tec scientists in improving crop production in arid biomes like the Mojave, and for increasing crops' resistance to insects, drought, and disease."