Thursday, November 4, 2010

Big Bag of Food Politics and research

The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria is asking the government to freeze rice imports as more than 75% of production had remained unsold as of two weeks ago. A Dutch NGO, a Kenyan NGO, and the Kenyan Ministry of Livestock are working together to teach pastoralists about storing hay so they can keep their animals alive longer during the expected upcoming drought. The local food movement in Senegal.

Florida tomato workers' representatives won them a 1 penny per pound raise. "The raise will bring most workers annual salary from 10,000 to 17,000 dollars." NPR's report is pretty shocking, including successfully prosecuted episodes of slavery. In FLORIDA. The growers' association is putting pressure on growers to not provide workers the pay raise.

Cornell researchers Wansink, Just, and McKendry on kids' food choices and school lunch lines. "Children and teenagers resist heavy-handed nutritional policies — and the food that is associated with the heavy hand. No food is nutritious, after all, until it is actually eaten. ... When cafeteria workers asked each child, 'Do you want a salad?' salad sales increased by a third." Other behavioral nudges included placing of healthy foods, making kids pay cash for cookies, and adjusting the size of food containers.

On the bad combination of alcohol and caffeine. "As for caffeine, its effects when combined with alcohol are considered serious enough to merit creation of a new journal, the Journal of Caffeine Research: The International Multidisciplinary Journal of Caffeine Science. The journal will be devoting much attention to the role of caffeine in alcohol energy drinks." Michigan has banned the drinks. takes issue (surprise surprise) with a new factory farm livestock operations in Oswego (a 72k cow farm) claiming they are environmentally sustainable. The companies are touting their recycling, production of biofuels from waste, and "closed-loop, integrated technology platform." Velez worries this will lead to increased cattle infections both on the farm and on others, the increased grain consumption, and resident anger. I'm a little confused from his writing whether the company is applying for permits or for subsidies.

Powell on optimal systems:
There’s good farmers and bad farmers, whatever system they’re using, and I’m more interested in making sure people don’t barf, whatever kind of food they choose. There are endless scientific reports about which system is better, but they don’t say much. A new report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that organically grown onions, carrots, and potatoes generally do not have higher levels of healthful antioxidants and related substances than vegetables grown with traditional fertilizers and pesticides.

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