Producers in Norway, the world’s top supplier of farmed salmon, are pushing up to four million people in West Africa into food insecurity and depriving them of critical nutrients, according to a new report. Published by food and farming campaign group Feedback Global, the research states that major farmed fish and aquafeed producers – including European transnational companies Mowi, BioMar, Cargill, and Skretting – are between them extracting nearly two million tonnes of whole, wild fish annually from the world’s oceans, according to 2020 data. The majority of these small, highly nutritious fish are being turned into fish oil, a key ingredient in salmon aquaculture feed, as well as fishmeal.
The World Food Programme (WFP) announced on Tuesday, December 5 that it is suspending its food distribution program in areas controlled by the government in Yemen’s capital Sana’a due to lack of funds and lack of agreement with the authorities. The government in Sanaa is backed by the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group which also controls most of northern Yemen. “This difficult decision, made in consultation with donors, comes after nearly a year of negotiations, during which no agreement was reached to reduce the number of people served from 9.5 million to 6.5 million,” the WFP statement read.
On Thursday Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva presented an ambitious plan to take the South American country off of the world hunger map. “The problem is not a lack of food, it is not a lack of crops, the problem is that the people do not have enough to buy food,” Lula said in a public event in the city of Teresina. In his speech he reminded that his program to fight poverty has as a connecting axis to address the structural causes of hunger that it is not limited to just economic aid but also must have an articulated policy. For this reason, he stressed that the Bolsa Familia program is not enough and does not represent a definitive solution, but a necessary step to ensure that the wealth produced in the country is distributed more equitably.
For years, the Rev. Donald Perryman wondered why the formerly thriving Black downtown of Toledo, Ohio, couldn’t get a grocery store. His suspicions were confirmed after a city study found in 2020 that the opening of new Dollar General stores drove other companies out of business, deterring potential grocers from investing there. He, along with a group of ministers, knew that in order to get a supermarket, they had to stop new chain dollar stores from plaguing their communities. They made great strides when the Toledo City Council passed a moratorium the same year that required new small-box retail stores to apply for a special-use permit.
Three years ago this month, the City University of New York (CUNY) pivoted to remote operations during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. When the university began to gradually reopen in-person operations after vaccines were widely available, dining services on many campuses — which students rely on for affordable meals — remained closed. At the same time, wages have not kept up with inflation, and budget cuts from the city and the state are gutting many of CUNY’s other services. Not only are affordable campus dining options important, but students and workers are struggling more than ever to afford basic needs.
My long-dead father used to say, “Every human being deserves to taste a piece of cake.” Though at the time his words meant little to me, as I grew older I realized both what they meant, symbolically speaking, and the grim reality they disguised so charmingly. That saying of his arose from a basic reality of our lives then — the eternal scarcity of food in our household, just as in so many other homes in New York City’s South Bronx where I grew up. This was during the 1940s and 1950s, but hunger still haunts millions of American households more than three-quarters of a century later.
Reno, Nevada - On a recent sunny morning in Reno, Nevada, volunteers worked diligently to harvest fresh vegetables from plots of rich soil, collecting tomatoes, eggplants, and cucumbers while a few farm goats bleated behind them. The freshly harvested produce would be washed, sorted, and stored in a solar-powered refrigerator until ending up on the dinner plates of local families. But this is no typical farm. The five-acre plot of land is situated in the middle of a busy suburban neighborhood, juxtaposed near a Reno intersection where cars almost constantly whiz by. Dubbed the “Park Farm,” the operation is run by the non-profit Reno Food Systems (RFS) as a demonstration farm to train others in organic farming practices and as a means to provide local restaurants and community groups with fresh organic produce.
In 2018, 48% of U.S.-based churches had their own food-distribution ministry or supported efforts run by other churches or organizations such as food pantries or food banks. These faith-based ministries, unlike government programs, provide immediate help to hungry people with no requirements. And more than two million people volunteer at a food pantry, soup kitchen, emergency shelter or after-school programs in the U.S., working more than 100 million volunteer hours a year—according to Hunger in America 2014, a study conducted by Feeding America. This wave of charity recognizes a serious problem in the United States: Despite being a wealthy nation, food insecurity remains high.
After 20 years of war in Afghanistan, Peace Action welcomed the withdrawal of troops from the country and an end to the war. Yet when the United States military pulled out of Afghanistan, the Biden administration also responded by choking off assets to Afghan banks and the economy by freezing the reserves of the Afghan Central Bank held in the U.S. They also imposed sanctions on those doing business with Afghanistan and cut aid. Jobs and income disappeared, people cannot afford to buy food and mass starvation is now occurring. The Afghan people are suffering now more than ever. Hunger could kill more now than in two decades of war.
Economic sanctions have, in recent years, become one of the most important tools of U.S. foreign policy. There are currently more than 20 countries subjected to various sanctions from the U.S. government. But if more Americans knew how many innocent civilians actually die as a result of these sanctions, would the worst of them be permitted? We may be about to find out in Afghanistan. Sanctions currently imposed on the country are on track to take the lives of more civilians in the coming year than have been killed by 20 years of warfare. There’s no hiding it any more. Projections through the winter estimate that 22.8 million people will face “high levels of acute food insecurity.”
Washington – Already dealing with the economic fallout from a protracted pandemic, the rapidly rising prices of food and other key commodities have many fearing that unprecedented political and social instability could be just around the corner next year. With the clock ticking on student loan and rent debts, the price of a standard cart of food has jumped 6.4% in the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the cost of eating out in a restaurant similarly spiking, by 5.8% since November 2020. The most notable change has been in the price of meat, with beef costing 26.2% more than it did last year, pork 19.2% more and chicken 14.8% more. Bacon prices have reached historic levels, and are now 36% higher than in 1980, even after adjusting for inflation.
As the COVID pandemic upended the economy in the spring and summer of 2020, tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs and became ever more vulnerable to hunger. In consequence, the country’s network of food banks saw a sudden spike in usage. Just prior to, and at the start of the pandemic, food banks distributed 1.1 billion pounds of food in the first quarter of 2020. By the fall of that year, they were handing out 1.7 billion pounds. Since then, that dizzying increase has leveled off or fallen somewhat in many places, but that doesn’t mean the country’s no longer suffering an epidemic of food insecurity. To the contrary: Large food banks around the country are still reporting far higher levels of need — and of food distribution to attempt to meet that need — than was the case prior to COVID.
The pandemic has created extraordinary need for millions of people across the U.S. This is particularly acute, though often hidden, on college campuses, where students are sometimes left to choose between paying rent and having enough to eat. During their college careers, far too many students lack reliable access to nutritious food, hampering their efforts to advance their education and skills. Even before the pandemic, 43 percent of students at two- and four-year colleges reported facing food insecurity — defined as limited or uncertain access to adequate food — in the previous month, the nonprofit Hope Center found. Black, Latino and Native American students were at even greater risk. This inequality compounds systemic economic disparities.
New Paltz, NY - Every Wednesday, a mix of New Paltz college students and locals congregate in a small workspace just outside of town. It may look like they’re just cooking and packing food to deliver to needy families, but it’s really more than that. “Like when people say, ‘serving the community,’ well, we want to build a community,” said Katari Sisa, a volunteer for Food Not Bombs New Paltz. Sisa, a recent graduate of SUNY New Paltz, has been involved at the organization for the last four years now. Sisa says that giving back is necessary right now, with a pandemic raging and, according to data collected by the University of Southern California, nearly 37% of Americans are dealing with food insecurity.