food crisis

Food Price Crisis Worse Than 2008 Predicted

See the chart at http://necsi.edu/research/social/foodprices/updatejuly2012/
Chart showing predicted skyrocketing food prices, from New England Complex Systems Institute.

The advocacy group Stop Gambling on Hunger reports world food prices are predicted to rise sharply in the coming months, due partly to speculation:

"The New England Complex Systems Institute, [which has] developed a quantitative model able to very closely predicted the FAO’s food price index, released a new report predicting sharply higher food prices due in part to excessive speculation.

"Their model, originally released in September 2011 matched the FAO’s index from 2004 to 2011. Since then it has continued to closely follow the real world numbers.

"Unfortunately, the model now predicts, 'another speculative bubble starting by the end of 2012 and causing food prices to rise even higher than recent peaks.'

"While the researchers acknowledge that the drought in the Midwest U.S. will cause prices to rise, their model shows that excessive speculative activity will have an even larger effect. Though some key financial reforms passed in 2010 may finally begin to be implemented in early 2013, that may be too late to avoid the coming price bubble."

Read the rest of the article here.

Food for Life

THE DOCUMENTARY film Forks Over Knives is saddled with the worst title I’ve seen in decades. It also suffers from a severe case of moderation and reasonableness in a culture in which ignorant extremism usually carries the day. This is too bad, because the movie happens to tell a story that holds at least half the answer to America’s health-care crisis.

The makers of Forks Over Knives are here to tell us that many of our most common, and expensive, diseases—diabetes, heart disease, even some cancers—are the result of a bad diet. The film follows several individual patients, including the director, Lee Fulkerson, who suffer from multiple chronic ailments. They come under the care of a doctor who prescribes a radically low-fat, plant-based regimen of whole grains, legumes, fresh produce, and exercise. Within months all of the patients, director included, have shed dozens of pounds, cancelled their many costly prescriptions, and rendered redundant the army of medical specialists, technicians, and health insurance bureaucrats they had formerly employed.

Forks Over Knives is based on research by Cornell University professor T. Colin Campbell and Cleveland Clinic physician Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. Campbell was one of the lead researchers for the China-Cornell-Oxford Project, a study of diet and health that tracked 6,500 people over two decades and found hundreds of statistically significant associations between the consumption of animal protein and the occurrence of heart disease and cancer. Meanwhile, at the Cleveland Clinic, Esselstyn, an endocrinologist by training, was working with a group of heart patients whom the clinic’s cardiologists had essentially given up for dead. He placed them on a low-fat, all-plant diet, with astounding results.

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Washing Down the Food Crisis with Corporate-Trade Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid ManIt's clear that one cause of the current food crisis is that poorer countries have been pressured into dismantling their food policies, leaving peasant farmers and eaters alike to bear all the risks of the extremely volatile world market. This has left corporations free to ship factory-farmed food to those countries, peasants free to migrate to urban slums, and corporately-dominated economic [...]

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