Food & agriculture - Oct 1
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Food shortage catastrophe creeping up on the world
Paul Higgins and Sandy Teagle, The Age (Australia)
WHILE the world has quite rightly been consumed by the issues on credit markets, an insidious problem is creeping up on us that could affect the world for decades.
There could be ongoing food shortages that go well beyond current concerns on food security, and which will result in regional unrest and conflict.
...This leads us to the main problem. The world food supply chain is a less than perfect market where signals and responses are separated in time due to the biological nature of the system and significant impacts of climatic conditions.
The future food supply chain we see is analogous to the world metals market, where supply increases over time and there are big variations in price, depending on supply.
Where the analogy breaks down is that the food supply chain is exposed to climatic risk in a way the metals market is not. In the past 25 years we have had three years where world cereal production has been between 69 million tonnes and 104 million tonnes less than the previous year.
If global supply and demand remain very close over the long term and climate change increases climatic variability, it is highly likely we will get several years in the next 25 years where there will be a catastrophic tightness in world cereal stocks. The tightness in global stocks will be exacerbated by trade restrictions and hoarding by countries with surplus cereals. Many countries with cereal or rice deficits are in the Middle East or in other politically fragile regions. The implications for global security and a range of companies
Paul Higgins and Sandy Teagle are futurists with Emergent Futures.
(26 September 2008)
Dr. Abby Gold on Local Foods and Food Deserts in North Dakota and Minnesota (audio)
Peak Moment, Global Public Media
Dr. Abby Gold is the Nutrition and Wellness Extension Specialist at North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota. Today she talks with Brian Magee of Global Public Media about the "food deserts" that occur in rural food-producing areas, nutrition, and promoting local foods in colder places. She also covers food safety, CSAs, high tunnels, local v. organic, seasonal foods, backyard gardening, and the expense of local foods.
(22 September 2008)
A School Garden Brings Learning to Life (video and audio)
Peak Moment via Global Public Media
Come along on a tour with team-teachers Glenda Berliner and Jeralyn Wilson, as they show us their elementary school garden bearing many fruits. It’s an important part of the curriculum: children make mason bee boxes, grow colonial medicinal plants, learn of other cultures, and put science to work. It builds community: parents work together, students form a bucket brigade to transport wood chips. It’s a site for celebrations like a pumpkin harvest or a play. Whether it’s the flower and vegetable beds, or the restful Zen garden, the garden is a favorite place to be, and to grow from. (www.vashonsd.wednet.edu/chautauqua/index.cfm).
(24 September 2008)