Posts tagged food

Posted 3 years ago
There are lots of useful things we can do to rearrange daily life in the USA that would put people to work, but they would tend to defy the status quo. We could recognize that peak oil means that we have to grow our food differently and make local agriculture a more up-front piece of the economy. We could rebuild the railroads so that people don’t have to drive everywhere. We could rebuild our inland ports to move more bulk freight on boats. Notice these are very straightforward activities, unlike the manipulation of financial paper and markets. We’re not interested in focusing on agriculture and transport reform. Business and political interests are arrayed against changing anything. Something’s got to give.
Posted 3 years ago

Banks Are to Blame for Rising Food Costs

mediafreakgodicon:

What’s behind the spiraling cost of food? It’s not just oil and the burgeoning appetites of Americans.

As Frederick Kaufman, the author of A Short History of the American Stomach explains in an article in this month’s Foreign Policy, titled “How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis”:

Since the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000, there has been a 50-fold increase in dollars invested in commodity index funds. To put the phenomenon in real terms: In 2003, the commodities futures market still totaled a sleepy $13 billion. But when the global financial crisis sent investors running scared in early 2008, and as dollars, pounds, and euros evaded investor confidence, commodities—including food—seemed like the last, best place for hedge, pension, and sovereign wealth funds to park their cash. “You had people who had no clue what commodities were all about suddenly buying commodities,” an analyst from the United States Department of Agriculture told me. In the first 55 days of 2008, speculators poured $55 billion into commodity markets, and by July, $318 billion was roiling the markets. Food inflation has remained steady since.

While rampant speculation by bankers in commodity index funds might sound lands away from your next meal, Kaufman writes in an earlier article for Harper’s (subscription req’d):

The worldwide price of food had risen by 80 percent between 2005 and 2008, and unlike other food catastrophes of the past half century or so, the United States was not insulated from this one, as 49 million Americans found themselves unable to put a full meal on the table. Across the country demand for food stamps reached an all-time high, and one in five kids came to depend on food kitchens. In Los Angeles nearly a million people went hungry.

And it’s inevitably going to get worse as the world reaches 10 billion. Time for bankers face the hard truth to their complicity.

Illustration: Tim Bower/Harper’s

Posted 3 years ago

The City that Ended Hunger

nosex:

To begin to conceive of the possibility of a culture of empowered citizens making democracy work for them, real-life stories help—not models to adopt wholesale, but examples that capture key lessons. For me, the story of Brazil’s fourth largest city, Belo Horizonte, is a rich trove of such lessons. Belo, a city of 2.5 million people, once had 11 percent of its population living in absolute poverty, and almost 20 percent of its children going hungry. Then in 1993, a newly elected administration declared food a right of citizenship. The officials said, in effect: If you are too poor to buy food in the market—you are no less a citizen. I am still accountable to you.

“I knew we had so much hunger in the world. But what is so upsetting, what I didn’t know when I started this, is it’s so easy. It’s so easy to end it.”

services include: three large people’s restaurants that indiscriminately serve fifty-cent, high-quality meals, developing public spaces for subsidized and intelligently regulated local and fresh food markets, extensive school lunch programs, food and nutrition education, community gardens, consumer protection databases and leaflets, etc.

the cost: about $10 million annually, less than 2% of the city’s budget representing about a penny per day per belo residents.

Behind this dramatic, life-saving change is what Adriana calls a “new social mentality”—the realization that “everyone in our city benefits if all of us have access to good food, so—like health care or education—quality food for all is a public good.”

Posted 3 years ago
gregleding:

From Slate: Food Deserts in America:
A 2009 study by the Department of Agriculture found that 2.3 million households do not have access to a car and live more than a mile from a supermarket. Much of the public health debate over rising obesity rates has turned to these “food deserts,” where convenience store fare is more accessible—and more expensive—than healthier options farther away. This map colors each county in America by the percentage of households in food deserts, according to the USDA’s definition. Data is not available for Alaska and Hawaii.

gregleding:

From Slate: Food Deserts in America:

2009 study by the Department of Agriculture found that 2.3 million households do not have access to a car and live more than a mile from a supermarket. Much of the public health debate over rising obesity rates has turned to these “food deserts,” where convenience store fare is more accessible—and more expensive—than healthier options farther away. This map colors each county in America by the percentage of households in food deserts, according to the USDA’s definition. Data is not available for Alaska and Hawaii.

Posted 3 years ago

The Rich Get Richer, the Poor Go Hungry

utnereader:

What is the most common cause of hunger in the world? Is it drought? Flood? Locusts? Crop diseases? Nope. Most hunger in the world has absolutely nothing to do with food shortages. Most people who go to bed hungry, both in rich and in poor countries, do so in places where markets are filled with food that they cannot have.

Posted 3 years ago

The Cove, directed by Louie Psihoyos, 2009

Posted 3 years ago

Food Fight: Michael Pollan on the fractured "food movement"

utnereader:

One of the most interesting social movements to emerge in the past few years is the “food movement,” or perhaps I should say “movements,” … It’s a big, lumpy tent, and sometimes the various factions beneath it work at cross-purposes.

Posted 4 years ago

Raj Patel - Mozambique's food riots – the true face of global warming

The violence in Maputo is just the latest manifestation of the crippling shortcomings of the global economy

It has been a summer of record temperatures – Japan had its hottest summer on record, as did South Florida and New York. Meanwhile, Pakistan and Niger are flooded and the eastern US is mopping up after hurricane Earl. None of these individual events can definitively be attributed to global warming. But to see how climate change will play out in the 21st century, you needn’t look to the Met Office. Look, instead, to the deaths and burning tyres in Mozambique's “food riots” to see what happens when extreme natural phenomena interact with our unjust economic systems.

The immediate causes of the protests in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, and Chimoio about 500 miles north, are a 30% price increase for bread, compounding a recent double-digit increase for water and energy. When nearly three-quarters of the household budget is spent on food, that’s a hike few Mozambicans can afford.

Deeper reasons for Mozambique’s price hike can be found a continent away. Wheat prices have soared on global markets over the summer in large part because Russia, the world’s third largest exporter, has suffered catastrophic fires in its main production areas. These blazes, in turn, find their origin both in poor firefighting infrastructure and Russia’s worst heatwave in over a century. On Thursday, Vladimir Putin extended an export ban in response to a new wave of wildfires in its grain belt, sending further signals to the markets that Russian wheat wouldn’t be available outside the country. With Mozambique importing over 60% of the wheat its people needs, the country has been held hostage by international markets.

Posted 4 years ago
Food libel laws, also known as food disparagement laws and informally as veggie libel laws, are laws passed in 13 U.S. states that make it easier for food producers to sue their critics for libel. These 13 states include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas. Many of the food-disparagement laws establish a lower standard for civil liability and allow for punitive damages and attorney’s fees for plaintiffs alone, regardless of the case’s outcome.

Food libel laws

A mother whose child died from e-coli contaminated meat declined to speak about simply how the experience caused her to change her diet after being sued in the past under food libel laws for simply talking about her diet.

Oprah was sued by the meat industry after talking about her fears of eating hamburgers after learning about the practices of meat product producers.

See also chilling effect

(via soupsoup)

Posted 4 years ago

texturism:

We all can agree that fresh fruits and vegetables are an essential part of good health. Yet access to fresh produce remains an enormous challenge. For people on food stamps, it’s an especially difficult one as there are few supermarkets in low income neighborhoods with sufficient offerings. Even thought more farmers’ markets are springing up across the country—and more than 750 farmers’ markets nationwide accept food stamps—other challenges remain.

Foodstamps, of course, are no longer physical stamps but “electronic benefit transfer” cards (or EBTs). This has helped remove the stigma for recipients of aid—and makes shopping at supermarkets easier—but has left farmers’ markets in a tough spot: without a battery-powered wireless card reader, food-stamp recipients can’t use their EBT cards. The lack of this simple machine is keeping people from buying fresh food. Many farmers are unable to afford the cost of the equipment (about $1,100 per reader) required to accept the debit cards; others feel the paperwork and record keeping is onerous. [ cont via good.is ]