Saturday, January 19, 2008

Food riots. What does it take...

...for the world to start caring about our food system? The NY Times has started a new series called The Food Chain, the High Cost of Food. Check out the first article: An Oil Quandary: Costly Fuel Means Costly Calories.

The part that took my breath away: "In some poor countries, desperation is taking hold. Just in the last week, protests have erupted in Pakistan over wheat shortages, and in Indonesia over soybean shortages. Egypt has banned rice exports to keep food at home, and China has put price controls on cooking oil, grain, meat, milk and eggs. According to the F.A.O., food riots have erupted in recent months in Guinea, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Senegal, Uzbekistan and Yemen"

The issues driving this unravelling of our food system are so huge--globalization, climate change, international trade laws, federal farm policy--that it doesn't seem as if we, as individuals can do anything. But we can...

Make informed food choices--ask questions about where your food is coming from. Go to your local farmers market--get to know the farmer behind the mountains of produce, you'll get to know your food better and learn so much. Grow your own food--even if that means just planting a basil plant in your windowsill. Ask your favorite restaurant where they get their vegetables, if your rib-eye steak is hormone free and if that grilled fish was harvested sustainably--they may not know the answer the first time you ask, but just keep asking. Learn more about these issues here:
Sustainable Table
World Hunger Year
Find out where local foods are in your hood: Food Routes

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