tagged w/ Hunger
Can you figure out what it is? It's phosphorous, and according to research based on our wasteful practices we may reach peak phosphorous within two decades. We mine more than we consume, and we don't put enough of what we consume and excrete back into farmland. Industrial agriculture has stripped the old tried and true methods of growing food from us, and it is now becoming a crisis. So once again we are brought to the following solutions: sustainable agriculture, conservation, putting back into land what will replenish it rather than kill it, and basically coming back to a frame of mind where the Earth is not just used as a profit maker.
Humanure, anyone?Can you figure out what it is? It's phosphorous, and according to research based... more
We hear a lot about the importance of eating organic and eating local, but left out of the conversation are the growing methods of some of our staple foods, and how much forest land has been lost to grow (or raise) products like beef, rice, and palm oil—the latter of which is in more foods than you might realize.
When agricultural land becomes unproductive (usually after about three years), it is often cheaper to clear new land than to fertilize it or replenish nutrients that were drained from the soil. Monocrop agriculture is a major factor in how modern food production has become unsustainable, but coffee and banana production both serve as examples of smooth, successful transitions. They have been drivers of deforestation in the past, but more recently farmers have been using more intercropping and forest cover (ever heard of shade-grown coffee?), which helps to prevent deforestation and preserve biodiversity. This is surely due in no small part to activist campaigns waged in recent years to educate consumers and to generate change in the supply chains.
This is a quick look at common foods contributing the most to deforestation—and as a result, to climate change—around the world.
cont.We hear a lot about the importance of eating organic and eating local, but left out of... more
20+ African countries are selling or leasing land for intensive agriculture on a shocking scale in what may be the greatest change of ownership since the colonial era.20+ African countries are selling or leasing land for intensive agriculture on a... more
2 Inventions From The Full Belly Project and Jock Brandis that are Saving The World: The Universal Nut Sheller and The Rocking Water PumpMeet Jock Brandis, Founder of The Full Belly Project, Inventor of the Universal Nut Sheller and The Rocking Water Pump. Jock is a 2008 Purpose Prize Winner, Author of the book “The Ship’s Cat”, featured as a CNN Hero, written about in “The Wall Street Journal”, “The New York Times”, “The Atlantic”, and “Popular Mechanics” Magazines. Jock is a movie industry gaffer, a former Canadian Naval Officer, a McMaster University alumni, and a visiting speaker at the MIT D-Lab, Edgerton Center.
Jock has also worked with Oxfam and has traveled the world helping individuals and communities. He has seen, first hand, the physical and economic results of hunger and poverty worldwide. Two of his inventions are changing lives worldwide. The Universal Nut Sheller, just 1 machine can serve a village of 5,600 People or 731 Homes! The Rocking Water Pump, which is in Guyana, South America right now, they are using it to irrigate peanut crops.
The Full Belly Project
Designs and distributes agricultural devices that generate income for people in over 17 developing countries, including Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Mali, Malawi, and the Philippines.
Two of the Featured Inventions at the 8th Annual Feast Against Famine Fundraiser:
(1) The Universal Nut Sheller (UNS):
A hand-powered device made of concrete and simple metal parts, Jock designed the machine so anyone, anywhere, can make it. The UNS shells peanuts, plus it shells other crops: coffee beans, jatropha, neem, shea, and walnuts. The Full Belly Project produces the UNS machine mold kit, at a cost of about $700 dollars per kit, based on the price of materials at the time of production. Each kit includes 1 set of fiberglass molds and necessary metal parts for 3 machines. Reproduction in a developing country can range from $28-70 dollars per machine, based on the price of metals and concrete in their community. Kits are shipped in 2 boxes, each weighing less than 50 lbs and can easily travel on flights overseas as luggage. There is also a pedal powered version that is available, this requires some additional parts to be sent overseas. An unlimited number of the machines can be made from just 1 set of fiberglass molds! We encourage reproduction of these machines to give these communities unlimited potential for self-sustainability and the chance of financial freedom for the future. Former President Jimmy Carter Autographed one of our Shellers to show his support of our project.
(2) Rocking Water Pump:
Delivers water at a rate of 5 gallons per minute from Aquifers or Surface. Can also pump Muddy, Rocky, and Sandy water sources. Made of Concrete, Rubber, and Hose this cost only $70 to make in most countries!
Teaching Financial Self-Sustainability. Saving Lives! Make Our Mission, YOUR MISSION!
Become Our Fan on Facebook and visit Us at www.TheFullBellyProject.orgMeet Jock Brandis, Founder of The Full Belly Project, Inventor of the Universal Nut... more
Speech by Jock Brandis, Founder of The Full Belly Project. Designing and Distributing Agricultural Devices that Generate Income for People in Over 17 Developing Countries, including Guyana, Haiti, Malawi and the Philippines.
Two of the Featured Inventions:
(1) The Universal Nut Sheller: Shells Nuts and Coffee Beans by Hand or Pedal Power. One Sheller can serve 5,600 People or 731 Homes. Former President Jimmy Carter Autographed one of our Shellers to show his support.
(2) Rocking Water Pump: Delivers water at a rate of 5 gallons per minute from Aquifers or Surface. Can also pump Muddy, Rocky, and Sandy water sources. Made of Concrete, Rubber, and Hose to Cost Only $70!
Teaching Financial Self-Sustainability. Saving Lives!
Become Our Fan on Facebook and visit Us at www.TheFullBellyProject.orgSpeech by Jock Brandis, Founder of The Full Belly Project. Designing and Distributing... more
In 2009, Clint Borgen the President of The Borgen Project traveled with a small delegation to Ethiopia and Uganda. This footage, filmed with a camcorder, is his uncensored view of the issues facing Africa.In 2009, Clint Borgen the President of The Borgen Project traveled with a small... more
The Red Cross on Thursday said at least 2.17 million Zimbabweans need food aid and the figures are set to rise because of an expected poor harvest this year.
"In some parts of the country, the food situation is as bad as many of our volunteers and staff have ever seen it," said Emma Kundishora, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society.
"In Masvingo, for example, the rains didn't come in time and the crops have already died."
A report by aid agencies last month said at least 11 percent of the staple maize crop planted in the 2009/2010 season had been declared "a complete write-off" because of poor rains.
The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said people living with or affected by HIV were the worst affected by the food crisis.
"Hunger is an especially brutal experience for these people. In recent years, for example, we have seen many people default on their anti-retroviral treatment because the drugs are too toxic without food," Kundishora said.
Both organisations extended their emergency food operation from December 2009 until October this year appealing to donors for 38.4 million Swiss francs (33.2 million US dollars).
The Red Cross operation aims to feed 222,000 people and provide volunteers to work with communities to re-establish water points, and to help them better prepare for future planting seasons through training and the distribution of farming inputs.The Red Cross on Thursday said at least 2.17 million Zimbabweans need food aid and the... more
We plant but we can't produce or market. We plant but we have no food to eat. We want agriculture to improve so our country can live and so we peasants can live, too. - Rilo Petit-homme, peasant organizer from St. Marc, Haiti
What would it take to transform Haiti's economy such that its role in the global economy is no longer that of providing cheap labor for sweatshops? What would it take for hunger to no longer be the norm, for the country no longer to depend on imports and hand-outs, and for Port-au-Prince's slums no longer to contain 85% of the city's residents? What would it take for the hundreds of thousands left homeless by the earthquake to have a secure life, with income?
According to Haitian peasant organizations, at the core of the solutions is a commitment on the part of the government to support family agriculture, with policies to make the commitment a reality.
Haiti is the only country in the hemisphere which is still majority rural. Estimates of the percentage of Haiti's citizens who remain farmers span from 60.5% (UN, 2006) to 80% (the figure used by peasant groups).
Despite that, food imports currently constitute 57% of what Haitians consume (World Bank, 2008). It didn't used to be that way; policy choices made it so. In the 1980s, the U.S. and international financial institutions pressured Haiti to lower tariffs on food imports, leading to a flood of cheap food with which Haitian farmers could not compete. At the same time, U.S.A.I.D. and others pressured Haiti to orient its production toward export, leaving farmers vulnerable to shifting costs of sugar and coffee on the world market.
Because of the poor state of their production and marketing and the lack of basic services, 88% of the rural population lives in poverty, 67% in extreme poverty (UNDP, 2004). Things have grown worse for them since the 2008 hurricane season, when four storms battered Haiti in three weeks, destroying more than 70% of agriculture and most rural roads, bridges, and other infrastructure needed for production and marketing. At least during the earthquake, only one farming area, around Jacmel, was badly damaged.
There is a direct relationship between the state of agriculture and the earthquake's high toll in deaths, injuries, and homelessness. The quake was so destructive because more than three million people were jammed into a city meant for a 200,000 to 250,000, with most living in extremely precarious and overcrowded housing. This is partly due to the demise of peasant agriculture over the past three decades, which has forced small producers to move to the capitol to enter the ranks of the sweatshop and informal sectors. It is also due, in part, to the fact that government services effectively do not exist for those in the countryside. ID cards, universities, specialized health care, and much else is available exclusively, or almost exclusively, in what Haitians call the Republic of Port-au-Prince, forcing many to visit or live there to meet their needs.
cont.We plant but we can't produce or market. We plant but we have no food to eat. We... more
On Tuesday, as part of Michelle Obama’s anti-childhood-obesity campaign, Let’s Move!, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched an exciting new tool: the Food Environment Atlas. Developed by the USDA’s Economic Research Service in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control, the National Cancer Institute, the National Farm-to-School Network, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, the atlas allows anyone with an internet connection to create custom maps of their food environment. What’s more, it even makes the data sets embedded in the atlas available for download.
The Atlas currently maps ninety food environment indicators, divided into three broad categories. “Food Choices” includes both measurements of food access and consumption, from the number of supermarkets per 1000 people to restaurant expenditures per capita. “Health and Well-Being” tracks dietary outcomes, such as hunger, diabetes, and obesity. “Community Characteristics” adds an extra level of demographic data, including income levels and metro/non-metro status.
The idea, then, is that researchers, policy-makers, and individuals can compare counties across America, comparing and analysing the correlation between food choice, health outcomes, and population characteristics.
So, what do you see when you look at America using food as the metric?On Tuesday, as part of Michelle Obama’s anti-childhood-obesity campaign,... more
The campaign for a "Robin Hood Tax," launched on Wednesday 10th February 2010 was backed by charities such as Oxfam, as well as aid agencies, unions, green groups, financiers and economists and features actor Bill Nighy in its promotional film.
Robin Hood Tax http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYtNwmXKIvM
Robin Hood banking tax 'would raise billions' http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8506718.stm
The Greedy Eighteen http://www.britishblogs.co.uk/images/611566.jpgThe campaign for a "Robin Hood Tax," launched on Wednesday 10th February... more
As the post-V.D. doldrums start to take affect, worry not gentle reader. We've got new DVDs out today and the DVDo's and DVDont's for you.
-Black Dynamite is one of the funnier "we know we're kidding" exploitation films, but shockingly one of the most enjoyable in the recent years of faux-Grindhouses.
-Clint Eastwood: 35 Films in 35 Years at Warner Brothers is what you think it is. And has Every Which Way But Loose.
-Hunger is out on regular DVD and Blu-Ray for your Michael Fassbender needs.
-Ran is out on Blu-Ray.
-The Ladykillers is too.
-Law Abiding Citizen involves Gerard Butler proving he can do a new American accent depending on the genre of film.
-Coco Before Chanel is the perfect gift for chicks, man.
-Halo: Legends is what you should buy the person you don't like who likes video games. Except not on Blu-Ray.
-The Dirty Harry Collection on Blu-Ray is like really high quality AMC on Sunday afternoons.
As the post-V.D. doldrums start to take affect, worry not gentle reader. We've... more
Last November the World Summit on Food Security in Rome issued a declaration that the world is now hungrier than ever before. The root cause of this insecurity is the food system itself, which is controlled by a handful of global monopolies..... http://www.makeahistory.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=153:how-agri-food-corporations-make-the-world-hungry&catid=38:recentnews&Itemid=55Last November the World Summit on Food Security in Rome issued a declaration that the... more
Borgen Project is a campaign working to bring U.S. political attention to global poverty. The Borgen Project encourages people to contact their congressional leaders in support of poverty-reduction legislation. As The Borgen Project points out, simple phone calls can have a big impact for the world's poor.Borgen Project is a campaign working to bring U.S. political attention to global... more
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Relief workers began handing out women-only food coupons, launching a new phase of what they hope will be less cutthroat aid distribution to ensure that families and the weak get supplies following Haiti's devastating earthquake.
Young men often force their way to the front of aid delivery lines or steal from it from others, meaning aid doesn't reach the neediest at rough-and-tumble distribution centers, according to aid groups.
The World Food Program coupons can be turned in by women at 16 sites in the capital starting Sunday, and entitle each family to 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of rice.
U.N. officials say they are still far short of reaching all 2 million quake victims estimated to need food aid.
Meanwhile, federal agencies scrambled to explain the U.S. military's suspension of medical evacuations of critically ill Haitians to the United States in a dispute over where the victims should be treated.
"We have 100 critically ill patients who will die in the next day or two if we don't Medevac them," said Dr. Barth Green, chairman of the University of Miami's Global Institute for Community Health and Development. That included 5-year-old Betina Joseph, who developed tetanus from a small cut in her thigh. Doctors said Saturday that she had just 24 hours to live if not provided with respirator care.
White House officials said they were working to increase hospital capacity in Haiti and aboard the USNS Comfort hospital ship as well as in the United States. U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten said about 435 earthquake victims had been evacuated before the suspension, and that he was "sure the Department of Defense wants to do the right thing."
Relief officials were facing a growing sanitation crisis that could spread malaria, cholera and other deadly diseases throughout the chaotic camps.
Shortages of food, clean water, adequate shelter and latrines are creating a potential spawning ground for epidemics in a country with an estimated 1 million people made homeless by the Jan. 12 quake.
In one camp, a single portable toilet served about 2,000 people, forcing most to use a gutter that runs next to an area where vendors cook food and mothers struggle to bathe their children.
Survivors have erected flimsy shelters of cloth, cardboard or plastic in nearly every open space left in the capital.
Women wait until night to bathe out of buckets, shielding their bodies behind damaged cars and trucks. Water is recycled — used first for brushing teeth, then for washing food, then for bathing.
"My 1-year-old has had diarrhea for a week now, probably because of the water," said Bernadel Perkington, 40. "When the earthquake happened I had 500 gourdes (about 15 U.S. dollars), which I was using for clean water for her. The money for that ran out yesterday."
The crowding and puddles of filthy water that breed mosquitoes have begun to spread diseases such as dengue and malaria, which were already endemic in Haiti. Some hospitals report that half the children they treat have malaria, though the rainy season — the peak time for mosquitoes — won't start until April.
Tight quarters also expose people to cholera, dysentery, tetanus and other diseases.
The U.N., Oxfam and other aid organizations have started to dig latrines for 20,000 people, said Silvia Gaya, UNICEF's coordinator for water and sanitation, even if that's a small fraction of the 700,000 people that officials said were living in the camps last week.
"In some parks, there is no physical space" even to dig latrines, Gaya said.PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Relief workers began handing out women-only food... more
Sometime in the fall last year, I was at my local supermarket in San Francisco’s Mission District, picking through some melons when I heard the unmistakable sound of a body hit the floor behind me — hard. I turned to find a woman being handcuffed and led into an employees-only area, as she pleaded with the security guard: “I lost my job and need to feed my children.” It was nothing short of heartbreaking.
Later, as I waited to pay for my groceries at the register, I watched another woman set off an alarm as she ran out of the supermarket with bananas and baby food in her arms. She made it — and presumably was able to feed her child that night.
I thought of that desperate day again when I read an extensive report released today on the state of food hardship in America (pdf) by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). In it comes the striking news that one in five Americans went hungry at some point in 2009.
Food hardship was measured as those who responded affirmatively to the question, “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” By the end of last year, the national food hardship rate was 18.5 percent. For households with children, the rate was much higher, at 24.1 percent.
For the general population, food hardship, which is the most basic indicator of general socio-economic hardship, was higher in 2008 than in 2009, but let’s not pat ourselves on the back just yet — one in eight Americans are on food stamps today. Indeed, it appears that thanks to social programs like SNAP, food hardship did not continue to skyrocket throughout last year. With the recession, eligibility for food stamps was eased and benefits were increased. (Thank you, welfare state!)
Most of the report’s stats are dismal — and I could continue enumerating them to paint a more detailed picture of our hunger crisis, but I would rather hone in on the data that might hold some real political capital. You can speak about national hunger rates but hawking national data doesn’t hold reluctant or deluded politicians accountable — America is a large, amorphous entity for which everyone ought but often no one feels responsible or moved to act.
That’s why I am especially excited by the fact that the FRAC report gives us a highly localized look at hunger in America — and breaks it down by congressional district:
Of the 436 Congressional Districts (including the District of Columbia), 311 had a food hardship rate of 15 percent or higher. In 139 of them the rate was 20 percent or higher. Practically every Congressional District in the country had more than a tenth of respondents reporting food hardship.
Districts with the worst rates can be found in a whole range of states — California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Mississippi, New York — but, on the aggregate, hunger is most widespread in the South. These are districts represented in Washington, for the most part, by right-wingers and Democrats-only-in-name generally opposed to the expansion of welfare programs, even in the face of a massive recession.
This report could not have come at a better time. Just this morning came news that the Senate is planning a $80 billion job-creation bill that will cut Americans’ extended unemployment benefits (the House bill would not do this). This is the kind of boneheaded move that is predicated on the infallibility of the welfare-state-is-bad and/or anything-but-debt theses, and not in reality.
The battle worth fighting in 2010 is one that steers the government back to caring for the interests of regular Americans — and away from the corporations and financial institutions that have benefited most from governmental attention in this recession.
More at link:Sometime in the fall last year, I was at my local supermarket in San Francisco’s... more
UN troops fired tear gas at desperate Haitians crowding a food handout outside the wrecked presidential palace on Tuesday as delays in getting help to earthquake survivors persist two weeks after the catastrophe.
The Brazilian UN peacekeepers used pepper spray to control a frenzied crowd of thousands of Haitians seeking food at a makeshift camp on the grounds of the palace.
"They're not violent, just desperate. They just want to eat," Brazilian Army Colonel Fernando Soares said. "The problem is, there is not enough food for everyone."
The 7.0-magnitude quake killed up to 200,000 people and demolished swaths of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and other cities. A huge U.S.-led international relief operation is struggling to feed, house and care for hundreds of thousands of hungry, homeless survivors, many of them injured.
Facing persistent complaints by survivors that the huge amounts of aid flown in to Haiti is not reaching them on the ground, U.S. troops, UN peacekeepers and aid workers have widened and intensified the distribution of food and water.
Some of the food handouts in the capital have turned unruly.
At the presidential palace on Tuesday, UN troops with shotguns handed out sacks of rice with American flags on them. Armored trucks formed a cordon to control the crowd and people were searched as they entered the checkpoint.
"Yesterday they gave us rice, but there was not enough. There were too many people," said Wola Levolise, 47, who is living in the camp with her nine children.
The United States has dispatched more than 15,000 military personnel to Haiti. About 4,700 are deployed on the ground with the rest on ships off the coast.
The U.S. military said it could scale back its involvement within three to six months as other international organizations assume larger roles providing security and disaster relief. It does, however, plan to help build a 5,000-bed hospital to provide longer-term care to quake victims.
As the relief operation for Haiti turns from rescue to recovery, authorities are trying to relocate at least 400,000 survivors — now sheltering in more than 400 sprawling makeshift camps across Port-au-Prince — in temporary tent villages outside the wrecked city.
Health Minister Alex Larsen said 1 million Haitians had been displaced from their homes in the Port-au-Prince area. The government had tents for 400,000 to be used in the new, temporary settlements, but would need more.
Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive made an urgent appeal for an additional 200,000 tents at an international donors conference in Montreal, Canada, on Monday.
Almost daily aftershocks have shaken Port-au-Prince since the quake, raising the possibility the city might have to be rebuilt on a safer location, away from geological fault lines.
"In 30 seconds, Haiti lost 60 per cent of its GDP," Bellerive said in Montreal, referring to the concentration of commerce and people in the capital. "So we must decentralize."UN troops fired tear gas at desperate Haitians crowding a food handout outside the... more
When humans value machines and their stuff more than each other... Are you hungry today?
"One Quarter of US Grain Crops Fed to Cars - Not People, New Figures Show
New analysis of 2009 US Department of Agriculture figures suggests biofuel revolution is impacting on world food supplies
by John Vidal
One-quarter of all the maize and other grain crops grown in the US now ends up as biofuel in cars rather than being used to feed people, according to new analysis which suggests that the biofuel revolution launched by former President George Bush in 2007 is impacting on world food supplies.
The 2009 figures from the US Department of Agriculture shows ethanol production rising to record levels driven by farm subsidies and laws which require vehicles to use increasing amounts of biofuels.
Last year 107m tonnes of grain, mostly corn, was grown by US farmers to be blended with petrol. This was nearly twice as much as in 2007, when Bush challenged farmers to increase production by 500% by 2017 to save cut oil imports and reduce carbon emissions.
More than 80 new ethanol plants have been built since then, with more expected by 2015, by which time the US will need to produce a further 5bn gallons of ethanol if it is to meet its renewable fuel standard.
According to Brown, the growing demand for US ethanol derived from grains helped to push world grain prices to record highs between late 2006 and 2008. In 2008, the Guardian revealed a secret World Bank report that concluded that the drive for biofuels by American and European governments had pushed up food prices by 75%, in stark contrast to US claims that prices had risen only 2-3% as a result.
Since then, the number of hungry people in the world has increased to over 1 billion people, according to the UN's World Food programme.
"Continuing to divert more food to fuel, as is now mandated by the US federal government in its renewable fuel standard, will likely only reinforce the disturbing rise in world hunger. By subsidising the production of ethanol to the tune of some $6bn each year, US taxpayers are in effect subsidising rising food bills at home and around the world," said Brown.
"The worst economic crisis since the great depression has recently brought food prices down from their peak, but they still remain well above their long-term average levels."
The US is by far the world's leading grain exporter, exporting more than Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Russia combined. In 2008, the UN called for a comprehensive review of biofuel production from food crops.
"There is a direct link between biofuels and food prices. The needs of the hungry must come before the needs of cars," said Meredith Alexander, biofuels campaigner at ActionAid in London. As well as the effect on food, campaigners also argue that many scientists question whether biofuels made from food crops actually save any greenhouse gas emissions.
But ethanol producers deny that their record production means less food. "Continued innovation in ethanol production and agricultural technology means that we don't have to make a false choice between food and fuel. We can more than meet the demand for food and livestock feed while reducing our dependence on foreign oil through the production of homegrown renewable ethanol," said Tom Buis, the chief executive of industry group Growth Energy."When humans value machines and their stuff more than each other... Are you hungry... more
A good article about Stores that deliberately and wastefully destroy clothing and food before disposing of it to discourage dumpster diving. The practice is both environmentally and socially irresponsible...A good article about Stores that deliberately and wastefully destroy clothing and food... more