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Food

Billions Of Humans Depend On 50,000 Wild Species For Food, Fuel And Income

A new report from the The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) – which is often described as the “IPCC for biodiversity” – found that billions of people depend on 50,000 wild species for food, medicine, fuel and income from activities like tourism. “70% of the world’s poor are directly dependent on wild species. One in five people rely on wild plants, algae and fungi for their food and income; 2.4 billion rely on fuel wood for cooking and about 90% of the 120 million people working in capture fisheries are supported by small-scale fishing,” assessment co-chair Dr. Marla R. Emery said in a press release.

Dutch Farmer Protests Inspire More Actions Amid Food Shortages

Dutch farmers are blocking roads, airports and food distribution centers in an effort to shut their country down. These actions are in response to climate laws designed to lower nitrogen levels that will result in putting farms out of business and underscore why addressing the climate crisis requires a just transition for displaced workers. Farmers want the government to know that without farmers, there won't be food. The protests are now spreading to more countries. They are occurring as inflation hit double digits in June, especially for food and fuel, and food shortages are expected this fall.

We Need To Build The Architecture Of Our Future

In April 2022, the United Nations established the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy, and Finance. This group is tracking the three major crises of food inflation, fuel inflation, and financial distress. Their second briefing, released on 8 June 2022, noted that, after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic: the world economy has been left in a fragile state. Today, 60 per cent of workers have lower real incomes than before the pandemic; 60 per cent of the poorest countries are in debt distress or at high risk of it; developing countries miss $1.2 trillion per year to fill the social protection gap; and $4.3 trillion is needed per year – more money than ever before – to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is a perfectly reasonable description of the distressing global situation, and things are likely to get worse.

Reflections On The Sri Lankan Economic Crisis

So much has been written on the Sri Lankan economic crisis that the facts are by now quite well-known (see for instance C P Chandrasekhar, Frontline April 22): the massive build-up of external debt; the huge Value Added Tax concessions that pushed up the fiscal deficit and made the government borrow abroad even to spend domestically; the decline in foreign exchange earnings because of the pandemic that particularly hit tourist inflows; the downward pressure on the exchange rate which made many Sri Lankan workers choose the unofficial route to send their earnings home rather than the official route; the precipitous decline in foreign exchange reserves; the directive of the government to cut down on the use of chemical fertilizers to save foreign exchange that actually hit foodgrain output; and so on.

Brooklyn’s Maison Jar Is One Of Many New Zero-Waste Grocery Stores

New York City, New York - At Maison Jar – a new grocery store located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in New York City – silos of dry goods line one wall. Dried beans, grains, pasta, nuts, and coffee are beside bins of cooking staples like flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar. A refrigerator on the wall opposite holds industrial-sized jars of olives, racks of eggs, and metal trays of fresh produce, and a freezer is stocked with plastic bins of frozen fruit and vegetables. Prepared snacks like dried mangos, wasabi peas, gummy bears, and chocolate-covered nuts fill glass jugs on the center tables. The back of the store has shelves of metal dispensers filled with oil and liquid condiments – like soy sauce and vinegar – glass jars of loose spices, and a table of multi-gallon pump bottles of laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner, body lotion, and other personal care products.

The Energy/Food Crisis Is Far Worse Than Most Americans Realize

Everyone who owns a gasoline-burning car has noticed that fuel prices have shot up in recent weeks. And most of us have read headlines about high energy prices driving inflation. But very few Americans have any inkling just how profound the current energy crisis already is, and is about to become. This lack of awareness is partly due to economists, and those who depend on economists’ readings of the tea leaves of daily data (a group that, sadly, includes nearly all politicians and news purveyors). Recently I heard an NPR staff commentator confidently state: “The only way to get gasoline prices under control is to get inflation under control.” Anyone who understands recent events and how economies work will immediately realize that the statement is ass backwards.

How Native Americans Are Keeping The Bees Alive

Honeybees are a declining population. Indeed, between October 2018 and April 2019, commercial beekeepers reported a loss of 37.7% of the managed honeybee population.  There are a plethora of reasons that can explain the rapid decline of the honeybee numbers, such as the varroa mite entering hives and spreading diseases, loss of habitat, pesticide exposure, and poor management practices. That being said, the good news is that Native American tribes are joining the government to turn the situation around. Also, there’s a lot you can do to help save the most important pollinators in the world and the billion-dollar crops they aid every year. Yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg of this complex topic that is paramount for humans, flora, and fauna. Read on to learn more about how Native Americans are doing their part to keep the bees alive.

The Radical Roots Of Community Supported Agriculture

Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) is one of those rare ideas which combine transformative potential with an elegant simplicity. The CSA model of funding and sustaining locally-rooted agriculture has grown exponentially around the globe over the past four decades. Since the first formal CSA at Robyn Van En’s Indian Line Farm in South Egremont, Massachusetts in the early 1980s, CSAs have become a household fixture across the US and elsewhere; the most recent estimate by the USDA (2012) counted approximately 13,000 CSA farms in the US alone. The success of community-supported farming has coincided with rising demand for organic food since the late 1970s. But the model’s popularization has meant that, sometimes, CSAs can be misreprented as ‘just another way’ for consumers to purchase fresh, seasonal food.

The World’s First Ohlone Restaurant Is Opening Soon At UC Berkeley

Dolores Lameira Galvan, 91, remembers hearing from her mother, aunts and uncles about their time working as housekeepers and laborers at Phoebe Apperson Hearst’s opulent mansion in what is now Pleasanton. She still prefers not to speak of the time her Ohlone family spent as servants on what had been the Indigenous people’s own land, says her nephew, Vincent Medina. For the Ohlone, it represents just one painful chapter in hundreds of years’ worth of trauma and loss in the East Bay and beyond. But decades later, Medina is working to reclaim his tribe’s history by opening the world’s first Ohlone restaurant in a space that carries the Hearst name. Cafe Ohlone, which he started as a pop-up with partner Louis Trevino in 2018, will debut in June at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley.

Green Haven Project Is Nurturing Underserved Communities One Garden At A Time

Three years ago, Jorge Palacios, David Roper and Josh Placeres came together with a shared vision to make a better world for communities of color in Miami. They wanted to create a space where Black and Brown families can access fresh produce and learn how to live a healthy lifestyle. Borne of their own social justice and community activism, the trio cultivated a food movement by transforming an empty land lot into a lush community garden in the heart of the historically Black Overtown neighborhood. Carrots, eggplant, garlic chive, kale, cranberry hibiscus, papaya, Thai basil, and moringa are in abundance for a community that has limited fresh produce options.   The three launched the Green Haven Project in 2019, to expand their efforts.

The Labor Disputes At Amy’s Kitchen, Explained

“We’re now proudly B Corp certified!” chirps a green banner on the homepage of Amy’s Kitchen, the organic packaged and prepared-foods giant. It’s positioned above an image of the company’s founders, the Berliner family — Andy, who is currently the CEO of Amy’s Kitchen, with his wife Rachel and their daughter, Amy, after whom the company is named — dressed in down vests and worn-in scarves, smiling and windswept in front of a blue sky. “B Corp certification is awarded to businesses that use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: Positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment,” Amy’s explains in a blog post from March 2021. “The B Corp community works toward reducing inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose.”

Know Thy Farmer

Their names are Ben and Karah. And they grow my food. I shake hands with and hug them on most Sundays when I visit the farmer’s market in my town. Sometimes I drive out to see Ben and Karah on their farm just outside of town where I pre-order and pick up my food for the week. I walk the farm. I take it in. The pastures, bull calves grazing in the distance, Ben and Karah’s children running down the lane. I duck into a hightunnel greenhouse to see the purple kale variety bursting through the soil in the middle of January (yes, with the right farming practices, you can grow fresh green vegetables in the dead of winter in the soil in Pennsylvania). The same kale that I will sauté for dinner that evening. This is my spiritual practice.

US-EU Sanctions Hit Latin America’s Banana Growers

Russia is a large consumer of the Latin American banana—but western sanctions have dealt a devastating blow to farmers who can no longer get their products to market. For Ecuador, the world’s largest exporter of bananas, the setback has been disastrous. Around 25% of Ecuador’s banana exports go to Russia and 90% of all bananas consumed in Russia come from Ecuador. However, commercial ships carrying the bananas can no longer reach the port of St. Petersburg due to sanctions imposed by the US and EU. The sudden drop in demand has left producers with excess supply. Prices have collapsed as a result. Richard Salazar, Director of Arcobanec (exporters association) said that Ecuador usually exports bananas for up to $US 5.50 per box.

Students Launch Campaign For Fresher Food, More Options, Better Pay

Calling attention to the lack of fresh food in their lunches at Milwaukee Public Schools, student leaders have launched a "school lunch justice" campaign outside the district's central offices. The students are part of Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES), the multiracial youth arm of Voces de La Frontera, an advocacy organization for the rights of immigrants and workers. "Our lunches are cooked in a central location and distributed to the schools to be reheated, resulting in undercooked food and of substandard quality," said YES leader Katherine Villanueva, a senior at Milwaukee School of Languages. "This is not acceptable." Villanueva said YES surveyed more than 1,000 MPS students and found that the quality of school lunch was the "most pressing issue" with the school environment.

What Does A Just Food Future Look Like?

During a recent event at SXSW organized by Food Tank, Huston-Tillotson University, Oatly, and others, food system scholars and activists discussed the intersection of food, culture, and economics. Cortlin Harrison, a barista at the first unionized Starbucks in Buffalo, New York and a member of Starbucks Workers United highlighted some of the deep inequities perpetuated by food corporations. “We were seeing partners who can’t afford their rent, partners struggling with food insecurity,” Harrison says. “Meanwhile we’re seeing the corporate elite make billions of dollars in profit,” Panelists also pointed to many challenges on the farm. Sue Beckwith, Executive Director of the Texas Center for Local Food notes, “Black farmers and ranchers are losing heritage land to predatory developers every single day.”
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