Tag Archives | Food

The Future of the World Food Supply is Logical, Well Known and Wrong

USMC-110804-M-IX060-108Jonathan Foley, Director of the Institute on the Environment, is looking to change the dominant narrative on the global food supply. He writes for ensia:

There’s a powerful narrative being told about the world’s food system — in classrooms, boardrooms, foundations and the halls of government around the world. It’s everywhere. And it makes complete sense when you listen to it. The problem is, it’s mostly based on flawed assumptions.

You’ve probably heard it many times. While the exact phrasing varies, it usually goes something like this: The world’s population will grow to 9 billion by mid-century, putting substantial demands on the planet’s food supply. To meet these growing demands, we will need to grow almost twice as much food by 2050 as we do today. And that means we’ll need to use genetically modified crops and other advanced technologies to produce this additional food. It’s a race to feed the world, and we had better get started.

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The Rise of Big Chocolate

“The Rise of Big Chocolate” certainly sounds like a lascivious porno movie, but if there is any movie that comes to mind in this article, it’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a wonderful and memorable family movie with catchy songs coating a rather bitter and dark enterprise involving vulture legal contracts, unsafe working conditions (why, oh why, is there never a barrier around the chocolate river?), worker exploitation, and even corporate espionage (remember Slugsworth), a movie that unfortunately mirrors the present due to monopolization of confectionery companies by Cargill and Barry Callebaut.

VIA Foreign Policy

Small and mid-size confectioners have traditionally been able to request specific blends and recipe mixtures from cocoa processors. But as the number of sellers has thinned, chocolatiers struggle to procure these specialties. “When it comes to Belgian chocolate, there is not that much variety anymore,” says Van Riet. He explains that his customers “are very nervous” as the consolidation in the industry continues.

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Super Soylent Me

VICE, being VICE, decided to send Brian Merchant to Oakland to meet Rob Rhinehart, the inventor of food substitute Soylent, and start a thirty-day diet of nothing but Soylent. Here’s his story at Motherboard:

It was my second day on Soylent and my stomach felt like a coil of knotty old rope, slowly tightening. I wasn’t hungry, but something was off. I was tired, light-headed, low-energy, but my heart was racing. My eyes glazed over as I stared out the window of our rental SUV as we drove over the fog-shrouded Bay Bridge to Oakland. Some of this was nerves, sure. I had twenty-eight days left of my month-long all-Soylent diet—I was attempting to live on the full food replacement longer than anyone besides its inventor—and I felt woozy already.

We were en route to Soylent HQ, where the 25-year-old Rob Rhinehart and his crew were whipping up the internet famous hacker meal—the macro-nutritious shake they think will soon replace the bulk of our meals.

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Global Food Supplies Threatened By Climate Change

Песня жаворонка(3264-2448)Will the Greedy Lying Bastards deny that this is a problem? A leaked draft of a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that food production is likely to go down by two percent (2%) each decade due to global warming. From the New York Times:

Climate change will pose sharp risks to the world’s food supply in coming decades, potentially undermining crop production and driving up prices at a time when the demand for food is expected to soar, scientists have found.

In a departure from an earlier assessment, the scientists concluded that rising temperatures will have some beneficial effects on crops in some places, but that globally they will make it harder for crops to thrive — perhaps reducing production over all by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century, compared with what it would be without climate change.

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Neanderthals Ate Stomach Contents Of Dead Animals (Tastes Like Cream Cheese)

Reconstruction of Neanderthal man. Hermann Schaaffhausen (1888).

Reconstruction of Neanderthal man. Hermann Schaaffhausen (1888).

Apparently the stomach contents of dead animals tastes like cream cheese. I may have to seek something else to spread on my bagels from now on… Robin McKie reports on the real diet of Neanderthals for The Observer:

It was the tell-tale tartar on the teeth that told the truth. Or at least, that is what it appeared to do. Researchers – after studying calcified plaque on Neanderthal fossil teeth found in El Sidrón cave in Spain – last year concluded that members of this extinct human species cooked vegetables and consumed bitter-tasting medicinal plants such as chamomile and yarrow.

These were not brainless carnivores, in other words. These were smart and sensitive people capable of providing themselves with balanced diets and of treating themselves with health-restoring herbs, concluded the researchers, led by Karen Hardy at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies in Barcelona.

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The Case Against Microwaves

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADid the Russians ban microwave ovens following extensive research into their health hazards? Read about that and a host of other reasons why you might want to stop nuking your food at Live Free Live Natural (challenge to disinfonauts: can you find corroborative sources? According to The International Microwave Power Institute it ain’t so.):

The Nazis are credited with inventing the first microwave-cooking device to provide mobile food support to their troops during their invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II. These first microwave ovens were experimental. After the war, the US War Department was assigned the task of researching the safety of microwave ovens.

But it was the Russians who really took the bull by the horns.

After the war, the Russians had retrieved some of these microwave ovens and conducted thorough research on their biological effects. Alarmed by what they learned, the Russians banned microwave ovens in 1976, later lifting the ban during Perestroika.

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Eating Bacon Lowers Men’s Sperm Count (So Eat Fish!)

Sorry gents, but if you want lots of healthy sperm, cut out the bacon and start eating fish. The Age reports:

Just one rasher of bacon a day can damage a man’s fertility, while eating a portion of white fish such as cod or halibut every other day can improve it, researchers have suggested.640px-NCI_bacon
The study by Harvard University on 156 men in couples suffering problems conceiving examined their diet and the size and shape of their sperm.

Researchers found that men who regularly ate processed meat had significantly lower amounts of normal sperm, compared with those who limited the amount of foods like bacon, sausages, hamburgers, ham and mince.
On average, those who ate the equivalent of less than a rasher of bacon a day had 30 per cent more normal sperm than those who ate higher quantities of processed meats.

Meanwhile, those who ate a portion of white fish every other day had a similar edge over those who ate foods such as cod more rarely.

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Peak Soil: Why Nutrition Is Disappearing From Our Food

Nitrogen cycle-caThe secret to good health may start with dirt says Monica Nickelsburg, writing for The Week:

The fountain of youth may be made of dirt.

So supposes Steve Solomon in The Intelligent Gardner: Growing Nutrient-Dense FoodHe asserts that most people could “live past age 100, die with all their original teeth, up to their final weeks, and this could all happen if only we fertilize all our food crops differently.” It’s a bold statement, but mounting evidence suggests that remineralization could be the definitive solution to our nutrient-light diet.

Concerns about the quality of our food tend to focus on the many evils of modern industrial farming, but 10,000 years of agriculture have created a more insidious problem. The minerals and phytonutrients historically derived from rich soil are diminishing in our produce and meat. It takes 500 years for nature to build two centimeters of living soil and only seconds for us to destroy it.

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The Myth of Choice: How Junk-Food Marketers Target Our Kids

Anna Lappé & Food MythBusters have a great new video series combating the processed food industry’s marketing onslaught:

Big Food spends close to $2 billion every year telling kids and teens what’s cool to eat through advertising, promotions, and sponsorships. Meanwhile, across the country, fast-food chains are crowding out grocery stores and supermarkets, narrowing the healthy food choices available.

Scary? It sure is, but together, we can work to curb this predatory marketing and stand up for real food.

We believe that marketing targeting to children and teenagers is a public health crisis. Watch our movies and dig into this page to understand why.

Protect our kids. Tell McDonald’s to end its predatory marketing to children and shut down happymeal.com. Visit http://www.foodmyths.org to take action!

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Food Waste: The Next Food Revolution

Household food trash NYJesse Hirsch and Reyhan Harmanci have a tremendous article about food waste in the new Modern Farmer, which tells us that “Half the food in the last year was thrown out. One billion people are hungry. The next food revolution is about what you’re not eating”:

How are we going to feed 9 billion people by 2050? The answer to this question — or the lack thereof — is one of the biggest issues in agriculture today. Experts estimate that we need to grow 60 percent more food than we currently produce. And as a result, there is a push to constantly create more. More miracle crops. More monocultures. More monocrops. More seeds. More food.

But are we missing the point? Currently, in the U.S., almost half of our food — 40 percent of what we grow— ends up in the garbage. Globally, food waste is rising to 50 percent as developing nations struggle with spoilage and Western nations simply toss edible food away.

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