The accelerating rise in the prices of essential goods over the last three years, especially in the grain sector, has skyrocketed this year. Agricultural markets have often experienced phenomena of increase or decrease in the prices of their products. The current situation, however, presents some new characteristics with respect to the past: the increase in prices, which affects almost all the main food products, is occurring in many countries at the same time and lasting for a considerable length of time.
"...look at rice, for example, where the price has gone, in a brief period of time, from $250 to $350 a ton to $1,200 a ton. You have the price beginning to rise because of rising demand and the drought, and some countries react by introducing export bans which takes rice off the international market causing the price to go up further. The market becomes a mixture of gridlock and panic."
Shaun Ferris, CRS senior technical advisor on agriculture and the environment.
Last week I bumped into an Iowa farm activist I had not seen in quite a long time. She referenced the "food crisis" as it affected Iowa: "If the borders of the state would be sealed and nothing could pass in or out, there is enough food to last only two days."
Noting my puzzled expression, she continued: "Yes, that is how much food we have on the shelves in the stores...two days' worth."
...and this is Iowa, the breadbasket of the world? the heart of the corn belt?
"Buying fresh, buying local" in her family means not purchasing, for instance, pineapples. My family has some improving to do toward practicing justice in the grocery department.
Have you read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver? It is on my to-do list.
"This is the story of a year in which we made every attempt to feed ourselves animals and vegetables whose provenance we really knew . . . and of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air."
Today's motto: Think globally, eat locally.
Will you commemorate World Food Day? How much awareness of the global food crisis exists?