Federal leadership, stemming the coming food crisis?

Articles
October 17, 2008

Federal leadership, stemming the coming food crisis?

Our domestic financial crisis is grabbing all the headlines, but the coming U.S. food crisis could soon become an equally riveting story—even if the wolf isn’t at the door yet. World Food Day was yesterday, and World Hunger Year, Food First and other collaborative groups used the occasion to sound a loud alarm. The world is heading for a food crisis—and the United States in particular is at risk because of its deregulated food system and recent economic crash. In a New York City event last night, which featured seven prominent global food experts, the warning came through loud and clear. Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food Planet, said: “The Wall Street bailout has come fast and large. But who’s bailing out the hungriest, the people who will be first to lose their jobs in the economic downturn, the first to skip meals so their children can eat? The next President will face a world with increased hunger and poverty. So far, neither camp has shared any thoughts about how they’d tackle the the crisis."

Our domestic financial crisis is grabbing all the headlines, but the coming U.S. food crisis could soon become an equally riveting story—even if the wolf isn’t at the door yet.

World Food Day was yesterday, and World Hunger Year, Food First and other collaborative groups used the occasion to sound a loud alarm.  The world is heading for a food crisis—and the United States in particular is at risk because of its deregulated food system and recent economic crash.

In a New York City event last night, which featured seven prominent global food experts, the warning came through loud and clear. Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food Planet, said: “The Wall Street bailout has come fast and large. But who’s bailing out the hungriest, the people who will be first to lose their jobs in the economic downturn, the first to skip meals so their children can eat? The next President will face a world with increased hunger and poverty. So far, neither camp has shared any thoughts about how they’d tackle the crisis.”

Added Frances Moore Lappe, author of Diet for a Small Planet and co-founder of Small Planet Institute, was equally urgent: “We’re facing an historic human rights crisis—a rapid surge in hunger even amid record world harvests. By the beginning of the year, rising food prices had pushed 75 million more people into hunger, and as many more could join them by year’s end. A billion people going hungry—that’s more than 40 years ago….”

The coalition of groups (www.usfoodcrisigroup.org) issued a Call to Action for “people across the United States to use our political power and actions to fight for food system changes that:  stabilize prices for farmers and consumers globally; rebalance power in the food system; make agriculture environmentally sustainable; and guarantee the right to healthy food by building local and regional food systems and fostering social, ecological and economic justice.”

A separate 22-page policy brief from the Food First Institute for Food and Development Policy, written by Eric Holt-Gimenez, Ph.D., detailed root causes of the world food crisis and what could be done to solve it.