Thursday, October 16, 2008

October 16=World Food Day, a global food crisis

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?


FranIAm said...

What a great post. Oh my. And I think that I am woefully unaware of a lot.

And I need to read that book.

Carol said...

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a good book that helped me to have a different relationship with food. It was very heartening for me in a number of ways.

Thanks for this post. I didn't know it was World Food Day. I will keep that in my awareness as I go about my day.

Dada said...

"Let them drink wine!"

The price of rice is a fine example of how the world (The Third One especially) is being hard hit by the recent soaring of prices for that commodity.

But their is some consolation to be had. As Australia has realized, rice production is very water intensive. Land formerly allocated for the production of rice has been converted to producing grapes which are far less demanding of the most treasured of all commodities (or soon to be for people outside Bangladesh, Galveston, Iowa and other floody places).

It's just a matter of converting folk's tastes in starving nations, like Haiti, from rice to wine and, after a few glasses each day, they won't notice (or should we say stress?) over their want for food.

Missy said...

Once again, well done. Thanks for raising our awareness.

DivaJood said...

I urge everyone to join Slow Food USA, which is devoted to good food, local food, and the environment. This is an important movement, people!

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I didn't know it was World Food Day either. There is some important information to think about in this post. Thank you.

afeatheradrift said...

Thanks for the heads up. I was unaware it was WFD today. I do try to avoid buying food out of season, but then I worry am I hurting the poor guy in Guatamala who is picking those peaches in January and trying to make a living? It gets very complicated and I get confused on what is the correct move.

Randal Graves said...

I was thinking of buying some Twinkies, um, some white bread with HFCS, non-organic peanut butter and jelly with (Smuckers has LOTS of HFCS), um, some Cheetohs and a case of Coke.

(snark aside, we actually try and buy local as much as we can but I won't lie, I love Totino's pizza rolls)

eProf2 said...

BE, I sent you in the wrong direction. It wasn't Salon but CNN. Here is the url:

Sorry about that.

Dada said...

now we all know what to ship Randal for Xmas. Anyone know a good supplier of dry ice?