There is progress but big challenges remain as we “Foodies” work to keep ourselves fed. Natural food sources are often in short supply. The people who grow our food sometimes need help to stay in business, particularly as they compete with the large industrial farmers and growers. In much of the world water and energy are in such short supply that people go hungry. Sometimes people even go hungry on purpose. Meanwhile we Americans continue to waste food. Following are a few pertinent news items you may find interesting.
Salmon runs are being restored. In the wilderness of Washington state’s Olympic National Park, hydraulic hammers chip away at the Glines Canyon Dam in the largest dam-removal project in U.S. history. According to a recent Reuters article,
. . . slowly removing the once-imposing 210-foot-tall (64-metre) structure, whose construction in 1927 on the Elwha River blocked one of the world’s most prolific salmon runs.
Nine miles downstream, workers last month removed the 108-foot-tall (33-metre) Elwha Dam, built in 1913, allowing the river channel there to flow freely for the first time in nearly a century.
The two dams . . . blocked migratory routes of salmon and steelhead trout to some 70 miles of tributary habitat, in the process robbing Native Americans of income by halting a treaty-guaranteed reservation fishery.
. . . Supporters of the dam’s destruction say the benefits to the environment of tearing it down outweigh the loss of its aging power-generating station.
The removal of the two dams – ordered by a 1992 law signed by then-President George H.W. Bush – is aimed at restoring the natural habitat of more than 300,000 salmon.
Earlier this year the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided much needed help to local food producers. In February, the USDA awarded $40 million in grants to boost local farm/food projects. Reuters reported that,
Recipients included Living Water Farms, a 3-year old family company located in Strawn, Illinois, two hours south of Chicago, which produces hydroponic greens for restaurants and grocers; Agriberry, a family-owned berry and fresh fruit operation near Mechanicsville, Virginia; and Green Mountain Organic Creamery of North Ferrisburgh, Vt., which markets certified organic, bottled pasteurized milk, butter, ice cream and other dairy products.
In 30 years the world will have to support 9 billion people. Last week scientists from 15 countries were calling for a better political response to the provision of water and energy to meet the challenge of feeding all those people in the future. According to a May 10 Reuters article,
For the first time, the scientists argue that looming shortages in water and energy supplies should be treated as a single issue.
“Major stresses on availability of energy and water are already being felt in many countries and regions and more are foreseeable,” the joint statement said.
. . . “Without considering water and energy together, inefficiencies will occur, increasing shortages of both,” the statement warns. Politicians should pursue policies that integrate the two and emphasize the need for conservation, efficiency and cooperation across national borders.
Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike are making a difference. To quote Al Jazeera,
An agreement that would end the hunger strike of some 2,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails has been reached in Cairo, pending approval by a strikers’ committee, a senior Palestinian official told Al Jazeera.
. . . Israel’s prisons service says that 1,550 Palestinian prisoners are currently refusing food. Palestinian activists however say that as many as 2,500 of the 4,600 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons are currently on hunger strike.
The inmates launched their hunger strike on April 17 to demand improved conditions in Israeli custody. They have also challenged Israel’s policy of administrative detention.
In the meantime we Americans are wasting far too much food. In “Wasted Food No More,” David Biello reports for Scientific American that methane is a big contributor to an over abundance of greenhouse gasses. But we also know that it can also be utilized as a source of power. To quote,
Massachusetts may ban big institutions from discarding food in the trash in a bid to cut down on the methane from landfills. . . And Americans are . . . , wasting some 222 million metric tons of food a year. That’s a quarter of our food.
For Foodies in the classic sense of the word, here’s a great website to visit: Not Your Ordinary Recipes. Enjoy!