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Researchers Develop New Tool to Track Affordability and Availability of Nutritious Foods in Africa

Via Food Tank
Via Food Tank

When the headlines talk about food prices rising, which foods are they actually talking about? Too often, they represent basic staple grains or a basket of foods unrelated to nutritional needs. A project called Indicators of Affordability of Nutritious Diets in Africa (IANDA) is working to change that. Researchers at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition, University of Ghana, Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are developing a new set of metrics on the availability and affordability of nutritious, diverse foods. They are working in Ghana and Tanzania to implement these new metrics in 2017.

Read on at Food Tank.

How To Feed Low-Income Children During the Summer

USDA/Flickr, via The Salt
USDA/Flickr, via The Salt

It’s a challenge making sure that low-income children who get free- and reduced-priced meals during the school year continue to get fed during the summer months.

Government meal programs served 3.8 million children on an average summer day last year — far fewer than the 22 million children who got subsidized meals during the school year.

Now, the Obama administration wants to change that. The president will propose in his 2017 budget next month that families who qualify for subsidized school meals be given a special electronic benefits card that will allow them to buy an additional $45 in groceries per child each month when school is out.

Read the rest on The Salt.

What About Restaurant Employees Buying Ingredients Through The Restaurant?

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Rodale, via The Plate
Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Rodale, via The Plate

At egg restaurant in Brooklyn, Hanczor allows all 25 employees to buy virtually any ingredient the restaurant purchases, virtually at cost. (He adds 5 percent or less to save in a fund to keep the program sustainable as it grows.) Every server and line cook has a daily, low-priced farmers market at work where the fine ingredients are literally the same as those served at an acclaimed New York City restaurant.

At a time when the definition of a “sustainable restaurant” is growing to include fair treatment of workers, as well as of the environment, Hanczor is promoting better nutrition security for his workers.

Read the rest on The Plate.

Powder Old Food, Be Humanitarian

via Grist.
via Grist.

The newest trend: Some creative grad students in Sweden’s Lund University Food Innovation and Product Design program have found another way to avoid dumping expiring fruits and veggies into the compost bin — by powdering it.

FoPo Food Powders, funded through Kickstarter this year, partners with farmers and food retailers to give their expiring fruits and veggies a new life. The company freeze-dries, pulverizes, and packages them into produce powders, which are like the nutritious distant relatives of PixyStix. The students want their non-perishable powders to go where they’re most needed: to relief efforts and areas with low food access.

Read the rest on Grist.

West African Food Security Post-Ebola

CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture, via Food Tank
CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture, via Food Tank

As the West African countries heaviest hit by the Ebola outbreak look to rebuild, food security and nutrition will be key to combatting the lingering effects of the disease. In Liberia and Sierra Leone, agriculture makes up roughly half of each country’s GDP. In Guinea, agriculture makes up at least a quarter of the country’s GDP, and the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has had disastrous effects on food security in the region.

As the death toll of EVD rose, West African countries began to experience labor shortages, and many fields of crops went unharvested, according to U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). As part of the measures to prevent the spread of EVD, many West African governments established quarantine zones and restricted the movements of people. Unable to increase food production and with little to no goods moving into these countries, the price of food skyrocketed and led to food shortages. Additionally, the banning of bushmeat like chimpanzee, antelope, and buffalo to prevent further infection deprived many households of a vital source of protein.

Now as the virus recedes, West African countries and the international community are ramping up efforts to combat the next killer: hunger. The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that as many as 1.4 million people will be food-insecure because of Ebola.

Read the rest on Food Tank.

Women Feeding the World In The Face of Climate Change

Shutterstock, via Food Tank
Shutterstock, via Food Tank

On Wednesday morning a diverse group of experts, decision makers, and students came together for the Planet Forward salon, “Women and Girls: Nourishing the Planet in the Face of Climate Change.”  The two-hour conversation touched on a multitude of issues facing the planet and the women, particularly in developing countries, who are working to feed the world as the population grows and the climate changes. The Salon opened with presentations by Molly Brown, a research scientist at NASA, and Tjada McKenna, the Deputy Coordinator for Development for Feed the Future. The opening remarks oriented the discussion to tell compelling stories about women around the world backed by facts. One of the major takeaways from the Salon was not only about how to address the challenges faced women in agriculture but also about how to share their stories with a wider audience.

Read the rest on Food Tank.

Climate Change Will Make Us Hungrier

PHOTOGRAPH BY BOB NICHOLS/U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
PHOTOGRAPH BY BOB NICHOLS/U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Earlier this week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—a multinational expert group chartered by the United Nations, known as the IPCC—issued its latest report, and its predictions for how changing climate will affect food production are dismaying.

The panel made its Synthesis Report available now because a new international treaty on climate will be attempted next year. (The report is here and a very short summary is here.) It is a “synthesis” report because it sums up several previous reports, but the language in this new one may be more stark than any of the publications that have come before. Among its warnings: The impact of warming is already being observed around the world. Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are higher than they have been at any time in 800,000 years. Burning fossil fuels without attempting to limit their carbon impact must end by 2050 or damage to climate will be irreversible.

Read the rest on The Plate.

At The Intersection of Monkey Meat and Ebola

At the end of the Vice News video “Monkey Meat and the Ebola Outbreak in Liberia,” the soundtrack turns to a song titled “Ebola in Town,” a tune by Liberian artists Shadow and D12 that has gone viral in West Africa. While it is a catchy dance song, one of the repetitive lyrics, “no eating something dangerous,” reflects a very real public health concern. In a powerful documentation, the Vice video covers the relationship between people and monkeys in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, and the effect that relationship has on public health now and could potentially have in the future.

According the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ebola virus is transmitted to humans from wild animals, and is then spread between humans. Vice chronicles how Ebola may have jumped from animals, particularly monkeys, to humans. In Liberia, monkeys are kept as pets as well as providing a primary source of food along with other kinds of bush meat such as antelope and bats. Living in the deep forest in parts of West Africa makes it very difficult to raise animals, and people have relied on hunting bush meat for protein.

Read the rest of the analysis on Food Tank.