Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The hunger problem

UN Chronicle:

"The dramatic rise in global food prices over the past twelve months, coupled with diminishing food stocks and escalating fuel costs, has gravely jeopardized global food and nutrition security, and has re-emphasized the critical actions needed to realize the right to adequate food. Hunger and under-nutrition are the greatest threats to public health, killing more people than hiv/aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Each day, 25,000 people, including more than 10,000 children, die from hunger and related causes. Some 854 million people worldwide are estimated to be undernourished, and high food prices may drive another 100 million into poverty and hunger. The risks are particularly acute among those who must spend at least 60 per cent of their income on food: the urban poor and displaced populations, the rural landless, pastoralists and the majority of smallholder farmers."

Read more.

Food security in Indonesia

The Jakarta Post (April 28):
"The number of poor people is growing. Most of these people are small scale farmers (petani gurem) with less than 0.25 ha of land, or agricultural-wage laborers. In accordance with the World Food Programme (WFP, 2005), poor and malnourished people in Indonesia will almost certainly not be able to escape poverty unless drastic changes are made to policies."

Read more.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Farming Detroit

Detroit Free Press (April 2)
"With an estimated 40 square miles of vacant parcels, Detroit offers many sites where, in theory, a big farm operation might work. Hantz, a resident of Detroit's Indian Village district, is tentatively looking at a blighted area near Eastern Market, but exact boundaries would depend on whether he wins the city's cooperation."
Read more.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

More land to be grabbed

Bloomberg (April3)
"South Korea, Asia’s second-biggest grain importer, will lend money and give technology to companies to develop farms overseas to ensure the nation’s food security after prices surged last year."
Read more.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Maple sugaring in New Hampshire

The HippoPress (March 26)
"Maple sugaring season has arrived once again in New Hampshire. And the state’s maple producers have their trees tapped and their evaporators fired up, ready to welcome visitors for this year’s Maple Weekend, Saturday, March 28, and Sunday, March 29.
For a complete list, plus more information on maple syrup, check out the New Hampshire Maple Producers Web site, www.nhmapleproducers.com."
Read more.

American food history

The Philadelphia Inquirer (March 15)
"Mark Kurlansky, who wrote a masterful little book titled Cod, has compiled those lost files in a new book due out this spring, The Food of a Younger Land. It is billed as "A portrait of American food before the national highway system - before chain restaurants, and before frozen food, when the nation's food was seasonal, regional, and traditional." And so it is, and a tasty stew at that."
Read more.

Arctic metldown and food

New Scientist (March 25)
"The bigger picture has got much less attention: a warmer Arctic will change the entire planet, and some of the potential consequences are nothing short of catastrophic. Changes in ocean currents, for instance, could disrupt the Asian monsoon, and nearly two billion people rely on those rains to grow their food."
Read more.

GM food imports in the US

"‘the USDA has no controls in place that would identify… undeclared transgenic plants unknown to the US regulatory system’."
Read more.

Food security discourse in Kenya

AllAfrica (March 25)
"In Kenya how farming communities are formed has its roots in colonial vestiges whereby some ethnic communities such as the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin who once used to till European farms in the Kenyan Rift Valley have remained dominant in farming. A system of cheap manual labour was inculcated into the farming system and by the mid 1920s almost all European farms in the Kenya Rift Valley were growing cash crops which were being farmed by able-bodied men from the Kikuyu tribe. Until independence and some time after that, the transition from colonial to neo-colonial farming took into consideration the general fabric of commercial cheap labour farming and made concessions whereby the British way of farming would continue but under a new regime: the Africans."
Read more.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Low Carbon Diet

"The Bon Appétit Management Company Low Carbon Diet Calculator is designed to allow you to compare the relative carbon impacts of your food choices."

Calculate the carbon emissions created by your meals here.

Read more.

GM food in Kenya

Business Daily (March 26):
"Genetically modified foods will eventually provide answers to the food security situation in Kenya, according to agribusiness leaders. Kenya Government has strongly supported GM foods and made into law the Biosafety Bill 2008 last month. The basis of the support is that it will increase food production.
Read more.

Kansas City CSAs

Kansas City Star (March 24)
"CSAs feed the locavore movement — people who strive to eat food grown within 100 miles of their dinner table — but they’re also fostering a common-sense approach to eating."
"When the expo was organized 11 years ago, only a dozen farmers participated. Now that number has grown to 50. Last year 1,600 local consumers attended the expo to learn more about CSAs."
Read more.

Eat your winter season in New England

The Boston Globe (Feb. 11)
"In the winter, however, even the most committed New Englander could be forgiven for falling off that wagon. People cite deeply felt reasons for becoming locavores, or those who choose to eat food grown and produced in the region where they live.
Not necessarily, say many who eat predominantly local food throughout the winter.

With a little planning, it's surprisingly easy to be a locavore in the winter. Even in New England."
Read more.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Eating local food in Occupied Palestine

An excellent post from the blog Mapping the Margins: Edible Palestine
"The colonization of Palestinian land has led to a colonization on Palestinian tastes and expectations towards food."
Read more.

New York food deserts

Gotham Gazette (March 2009)
"Currently, an estimated 3 million New Yorkers live in "high-need neighborhoods," defined by a lack of supermarkets and a prevalence of diet-related health problems. These areas lack food security, meaning that people who live in them have difficulty getting "nutritious and affordable food." An estimated 750,000 city residents live in "food deserts" -- areas more than five blocks from a supermarket. Often food deserts are located in low-income and minority communities with a prevalence of diet-related disease, such as obesity and diabetes."
Read more.

Food desert in West Oakland, California

City on a Hill Press (Jan. 15)
"Roach asked her why she was feeding her child candy instead of nutritional food. She replied, “Mr. Roach, where can I find any good food around here?"

"The lack of food security, or having physical and economic access to sufficient and healthy food, pervades the places that are most in need — inner cities with low-income populations. Other “food deserts” across the nation include East Harlem, Detroit, South Los Angeles, and the South Side of Chicago. The California Food and Justice Coalition, a food advocacy group, extends the meaning of food security to include safe, culturally acceptable food acquired through sustainable means."

Read more.

Careless sea-foodie-ism

Gristmill (March 23)

"Until that happens, there's an urgent need to educate the public about the dismal state of the oceans. The effort starts with food journalists -- people who have a direct impact on the public imagination about fish.

It seems to me that food journalists have generally failed at this task. I see examples all the time of foodie articles blithely extolling the culinary virtues of this or that fish species, without considering the impact of consuming them.

The oceans have become too fragile for careless foodie-ism."

Read more.

Hungry Namibia

IPS (March 24)
"Don't talk about food prices in Namibia. Wedged between costly imports from South Africa and failing projects to achieve food security, Namibians are upset, and hungry"

"Fifty Namibian dollars - five U.S. dollars - for a 10 kg sack of mealie meal... in a country where the UNDP's latest survey found 60 percent live on less than two U.S. dollars a day, and the inhabitants of Havana squatter camp are more likely to be in the 35 percent that survive on less than a dollar.
Read more.