“WASHINGTON, May 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The nation’s leading hunger-relief charities and religious advocates expressed outrage in response to the severe cuts to anti-hunger programs included in the farm bill considered today by the House Agriculture Committee. The bill includes $21 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program. Bread for the World, Catholic Charities USA, Feeding America, and United Way Worldwide called on Congress to reverse course and restore cuts to SNAP as the farm bill moves forward.
“A vote for this level of cuts is shameless,” said David Beckmann , president of Bread for the World. “Millions of people will lose food assistance and hundreds of thousands of households will see their benefits cut dramatically at a time when families across the country are struggling with long-term unemployment or reduced wages. Hungry and poor people do not deserve to bear the brunt of our deficit-reduction efforts.”“
See full article at title link
Insects for food and feed security
The FAO released a new document “Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security” which is getting plenty of news coverage. (See for example the Guardian’s story)
The full report is downloadable here:
The report argues that insects can be both a source of direct and indirect food. In terms of direct food, the paper addresses where insects have traditionally be consumed and why they haven’t been elsewhere.
There is of course the ‘yuck’ factor, but this does not adequately explain it. Insects are traditionally eaten in the tropics because the bugs are bigger (therefore greater reward per gathering) and they tend to congregate. It just hasn’t been worth the effort in the West.
More interesting is the work on the use of insects as feed for animals. This has been trialled at Stellenbosch by a team driven by Jason Drew (link, link), who are predominantly using abattoir waste to feed maggots to make an alternative to existing fishmeal and soy-based protein feed for chickens.
In some ways this seems address a number of problems in the existing food system. It would reduce the health risk associated with the potentially toxic food waste stream. It would allow less land to be used for the production of grains for livestock feed. It would stop out chicken tasting like fish (and our fish like chicken - link). It could potentially release small scale producers from being tied into big agra for feed. It could enhance food security.
However, can this be rolled out safely and affordably for small scale producers? And is this just another technofix that fails to address the real problem of our commitment to over-consumption?
If grandmothers around the world had a rallying cry, it would probably sound something like “You need to eat!”
Photographer Gabriele Galimberti’s grandmother said something similar to him before one of his many globetrotting work trips. To ensure he had at least one good meal, she prepared for him a dish of ravioli before he departed on one of his adventures.
“In that occasion I said to my grandma ‘You know, Grandma, there are many other grandmas around the world and most of them are really good cooks,” Galimberti wrote via email. “I’m going to meet them and ask them to cook for me so I can show you that you don’t have to be worried for me and the food that I will eat!’ This is the way my project was born!”
The project, “Delicatessen With Love”, took Galimberti to 58 countries where he photographed grandmothers with both the ingredients and finished signature dishes.
He acted as photographer and stylist during each shoot with the grandmothers, taking a portrait of both the women and the food they made for him.
From top to bottom:
Inara Runtule, 68, Kekava, Latvia. Silke (herring with potatoes and cottage cheese).
Grace Estibero, 82, Mumbai, India. Chicken vindaloo.
Susann Soresen, 81, Homer, Alaska. Moose steak.
Serette Charles, 63, Saint-Jean du Sud, Haiti. Lambi in creole sauce.
The photographer’s grandmother Marisa Batini, 80, Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy. Swiss chard and ricotta Ravioli with meat sauce.
Normita Sambu Arap, 65, Oltepessi (Masaai Mara), Kenya. Mboga and orgali (white corn polenta with vegetables and goat).
Julia Enaigua, 71, La Paz, Bolivia. Queso Humacha (vegetables and fresh cheese soup).
Fifi Makhmer, 62, Cairo, Egypt. Kuoshry (pasta, rice and legumes pie).
Isolina Perez De Vargas, 83, Mendoza, Argentina. Asado criollo (mixed meats barbecue).
Bisrat Melake, 60, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Enjera with curry and vegetables.
Love this so much.
What was it Michael Pollan said about eating only foods your grandmother would recognize as food?
Food shortages in Joburg hospital denied.
If we view food as part of our constitutional right, for the reason that it enables the pursuit of health, then this is a worrying story carried by the IOL (link)
“ the non-payment of outstanding accounts.
Zwane said this was not true.
“There is no food supply company that is owed. I was in discussion with (hospital) management this morning (Friday) and last night. Patients are receiving hot meals.”
Section27 and the TAC said it received “disturbing” reports on Thursday about the food shortages.
“… Over the last few days, the hospital department responsible for food services has rationed food, providing patients with (a) small portion of plain soup with no bread, as a substitute for certain meals,” the two groups said in the statement.
“… No mention was made of breakfast or tea… we are… informed that some patients received no breakfast this morning (Friday) and that food stocks are likely to be exhausted soon.”
The two organisations said they were “extremely concerned” about human rights violations at the hospital.
“The situation is unacceptable and must be addressed… as a matter of extreme urgency. We will continue to monitor the situation.””
And there you have it…
Burger King has arrived.
Peter Hain writes back in response to the British government’s decision to cut aid funding to South Africa (link.) He helpfully reminds us that economic growth and improvements in the quality of life for the poor are not the same thing.
“Now, with similar high-handed arrogance and contempt for those millions still suffering from the apartheid legacy originally bequeathed by Britain, the government is chopping its £19m aid programme to South Africa – itself a figure that has halved since it peaked at £40m under Labour. (By the way I checked, and South Africa was not consulted, simply informed. When asked why the rush, Justine Greening, the Conservative international development secretary, indicated on Tuesday to Pravin Gordhan, the South African finance minister on a visit to London, that she had to tell the electorate in advance of Thursday’s local elections).
Yet three-quarters of the world’s poor now live in “middle income” countries like South Africa – where, according to the World Bank, 7 million people are living on under $1.25 a day, and 15 million on under $2 a day. The United Nations reports that more than half of South Africa’s children still live in poverty. South Africa may be defined as middle income, but apartheid’s legacy is a population still divided between a wealthy – sometimes extremely wealthy – minority and a vast poor majority.
Greening blithely ignores this destitution – deepened by chronic rates of HIV/Aids and TB – in claiming that South Africa has made “enormous progress over the past two decades”. It is true that Mandela’s African National Congress has delivered electricity, water and sanitation to millions, built more than 3 million new houses, doubled the number at school and is spending more per head on education than almost any other country in the world – some schools financed by British aid.
Nevertheless horrendous levels of black unemployment remain, worsened by apartheid’s deliberate policy of ensuring that black people had no skills. A growing population, swelled by some 3 million migrantsfrom Mali to Zimbabwe, means the demand for basic services seems insatiable.
But let’s leave aside Britain’s historic responsibility for all this. Let’s ignore the view that insulting the South African government is small beer compared with its value as a dog whistle, on the eve of the local elections, to Tory voters the party fears are haemorrhaging to Ukip.
Let’s leave aside also the raids on Britain’s aid budget for defence and other purposes. And how even in the government’s own increasingly hard-nosed terms aid is once again becoming a tool of trade rather than an agency for tackling world poverty.
Purely out of self-interest this decision is catastrophic for Britain. South Africa, a key strategic partner, is the sole African member of the important Brics alliance, and is already turning to those countries, away from its traditional European trading links. In turn this threatens the gateway the country provides to vast African markets – where it has close ties of friendship and mutually beneficial trade and investment agreements. It offers a solid base from which companies, including Britain’s, can develop their operations across Africa.
And the continent is awakening, with huge growth rates especially compared with sclerotic Europe. Soon seven out of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies will be in Africa. If Britain wants to be part of that future, then being a respected partner of South Africa is key, accounting as it does for fully a fifth of total GDP for Africa – despite having a population of just 50 million in a continent of one billion.
Sadly it seems that the era when Britain under Labour could proudly lead the world in cancelling debt, conquering world poverty and establishing a funding mechanism for the millennium development goals, is now over.”
University of Cape Town