Poll: Rising food prices

Are you spending more money on food?

Food prices are soaring around the globe. Have you felt the pinch? Take our poll and tell us. You can vote below the fold. And read recent Grist content on the topic: • Why Michael Pollan and Alice Waters should quit celebrating food-price hikes• How expensive is food, really?• Higher food prices mean crappier cafeteria fare for kids

U.S. health agency says ubiquitous chemical may harm kiddos

A U.S. federal agency has declared that there is “some concern” that chemical bisphenol A can harm the development of children’s brains and reproductive systems. …

School-lunch crunch

Higher food prices mean crappier cafeteria fare for kids

As food prices rise, who gets hit first and hardest? Clearly, urban dwellers in the global south, where people spend upwards of half of their …

Health Canada primed to declare bisphenol A toxic

Canada’s health department is expected to become the first regulatory body ever to declare chemical bisphenol A a toxic substance that humans should reduce their …

That '70s show

Thirty years ago, high crop prices caused environmental destruction, too

Last week, I wrote about high crop prices that were inspiring people to make all manner of dubious land-use decisions, like plowing up environmentally sensitive …

Putting your money where your mouth is

How expensive is food, really?

There is no doubt whatsoever that rising food costs are hurting people all over the world. More than half of the world's population spends 50 percent of their income or more on food, and the massive rise in staple prices threatens to increase famine rates drastically. We are already seeing the early signs of this in Haiti and in other poor nations. It is also undoubtedly true that rising food prices are digging into the budgets of average people, including me. And I've got it easy. The 35 million Americans who are food insecure (that is, they may or may not go hungry in any given month, but they aren't sure there's going to be food) are increasingly stretched. Supportive resources like food pantries are increasingly tapped. And regular folks are finding that food and energy inflation are cutting into their budgets substantially. The rises in food and energy prices alone have eroded real wages by 1.2 percent. The USDA chief economist has announced that overall food prices will probably rise by another 3 to 4 percent this year, and grain products will rise considerably more. But there's another side to this coin. Rising food prices are, to some extent, good for farmers. Certainly, large grain farmers in the U.S., Canada, and many other rich nations have been experiencing a well deserved boom. And there are plenty of people, myself included, who have been arguing for years that we don't pay enough of the true costs of our food. Who is right? How do you balance the merits and demerits of food prices?

Crunch time for the farm bill

The legislation isn’t perfect, but it’s far better than extending the 2002 bill

With the new farm bill languishing in the last stages of negotiations, many are bemoaning its lack of sweeping reform, suggesting that we have gained very little from months and years of work. But if the new bill is not to be the visionary document that many hoped and advocated for, what, if anything, do we stand to lose if the new bill is vetoed or negotiations reach an impasse and the 2002 farm bill is extended for two years? There are several small but important gains that we are poised to win if the new farm bill gets passed, making it an improvement over the underlying bill from 2002. These improvements include provisions that support local and regional food systems, organic production and research, beginning farmers, nutrition, and the environment, and they are the reason why Congress should pass a new farm bill. These bright spots in an otherwise murky and massive bill are not likely to induce a major change to our broken-down food system, but they are seeds we must plant for greater reform and broader transformation in the years to come.

Coke: Still 'it' with the kids

Coca-Cola and McD’s top brands among teens, study says

Photo: Taneli Mielikäinen There has been a lot of great work in the last decade to wake kids up to alternatives to industrial food. Here …

Meat of the future may be grown in a lab

Problem: Large-scale meat production has environmental problems out the wazoo, but Homo sapiens shows much reluctance to giving up meat. Possible solution: Test-tube sausage! The …