Rising food prices and a shortage of critical crops is fueling political instability in numerous regions worldwide. Food prices hit a record high in January, for the seventh consecutive month, the food price index was up 3.4% from December to the highest level since the UN started measuring food prices in 1990. In response some countries are stockpiling ("hoarding") making the problem worse. "If people don't have enough to eat they only have three options: they can revolt, they can migrate or they can die."
Slow Food Nation '08 was a four-day conference with a panel of food luminaries (Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Eric Schlosser, ..) to discuss the future of food in America. Sessions included The World Food Crisis (1:13), Climate Change and Food (1:20), Building a new food system (1:22), and more (streaming video, MP3 download, transcripts).
Exposed: The great GM crops myth. A new study shows some genetically engineered crops (soy, cotton) produce less than equvilent conventional crops. Meanwhile the IAASTD - sort of the IPCC of agriculture composed of 400 experts from around the world - has concluded in a major report that GM crops are not the answer to world hunger and there must be a "paradigm shift" (IAASTD report summary). They predict global demand for food will double in the next 25-50 years, but with the current food crises, some GM crops are already less taboo, but PETA is banking on vat grown meat.
Scotlands diet was healthier in 1405 (within a lifetime of the Black Death) than today, according to archaeologists. Might we see the "Medieval diet" replace the "Mediterranean diet"? Some traditional food practitioners think so.
Many common food plants contain noxious and toxic antinutrients designed to ward off predators, including humans. Tomatoes and Potatoes for example contain Glycoalkaloids which cause a Depressed central nervous system; kidney inflammation; carcinogenic; birth defects; reduced iron uptake. Can Genetically Engineered strains increase these naturally occuring antinutrients and toxins? (more inside)
Say goodbye to winter and welcome spring with a Russian-style Mardis Gras celebration of Maslenitsa-Pancake Day. Maslenitsa is an ancient pagan weeklong Slavic holiday held before the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. Pancakes, the traditional food eaten during this time, are round and hot, representing the sun. "Fat is the key word for Maslenitsa," said Valentina Bakhtina. It is a sort of Mardi Gras without the costumes and with a lot of butter. The central thing is to drink, be merry, and eat - pancakes and more pancakes.