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Food & agriculture - Nov 12

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


Prices for oil, grains fall — but not for food

Jeff McDonald, The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon)
You won’t see relief at the supermarket until next year at least, analysts predict
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While crude oil and grain prices have fallen considerably in recent weeks, food prices have not.

That’s because some of the decreases in crude oil and grain prices — the rise of which contributed to the jump in food prices that began early this year — have not yet filtered through the food-supply system, industry analysts say.
(9 November 2008)



Fast Food: Just Another Name for Corn

Brandon Keim, Wired
That the $100-billion fast food industry rests on a foundation of corn has been known more through inference and observation than hard scientific fact - until now.

Chemical analysis from restaurants across the United States shows that nearly every cow or chicken used in fast food is raised on a diet of corn, prompting fresh criticism of the government's role in subsidizing poor eating habits.

"People had talked about what they observed or found out about, as individual journalists or individual consumers," said University of Hawaii geobiologist and study co-author A. Hope Jahren. But anecdotes do not add up to scientific proof, she said. "We got national data on how this food is being produced. It's very objective."

Corn is central to agriculture in the United States, where it is grown in greater volumes and receives more government subsidies than any other crop. Between 1995 and 2006 corn growers received $56 billion in federal subsidies, and the annual figure may soon hit $10 billion.
(11 November 2008)



Saving the nation's seed supply
(slideshow, audio)
Kinna Ohman, The Environment Report
Multinational corporations started taking control of seeds around thirty years ago. Now, ten corporations own over half the world’s commodity seed supply.

Some small gardening businesses are noticing more customers want organic and heirloom seeds. Experts think that trend might be important for the world. Kinna Ohman reports they believe those seeds might be the hope of future food supplies:
(10 November 2008)

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