Author Topic: Agriculture, Farming, Food Chain and Food Politics  (Read 38883 times)


Crafty_Dog

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Global Fish Prices leap to all-time high
« Reply #51 on: June 18, 2013, 12:09:39 PM »

Global fish prices leap to all-time high
By Emiko Terazono in London

Global fish prices have leapt to all-time highs as China’s growing appetite for high-end species from tuna to oysters runs up against lower catches.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s global fish price index, an industry benchmark that tracks the cost of wild and farmed seafood, hit a record high in May, up 15 per cent from a year ago and above the peak set in mid 2011.

“In the coming months, supply constraints for several important species are likely to keep world fish prices on the rise,” the Rome-based FAO has warned.

The changing Chinese diet has already boosted demand for grains and livestock feed. The same phenomenon is now under way in the seafood industry, where the total value of fish trade is expected to reach $130bn this year.

China is the world’s largest producer of farmed tilapia, but it is increasing imports of other types of fish such as salmon and shellfish.

The impact of this shift is important for more expensive shellfish products, for which China has become a leading market. The country’s oyster and mussel consumption is growing as much as 20 per cent a year, tightening the global market.

Oyster prices, which have more than doubled over the past three years, are expected to rise further in 2013 as supplies from France remain low due to a virus that has destroyed the country’s young stock.

Richard Haward, a seventh generation oysterman in Essex, northeast of London, said: “Demand from Hong Kong and China and a worldwide shortage of supplies has increased prices.”

Urbanisation and the advent of supermarkets is contributing to higher fish consumption in emerging markets.

Audun Lem, a fish expert at the FAO, said: “The product development, including ready meals and clean fillets really facilitates fish consumption.”

The jump in Asian demand has coincided with low supplies for several key species due to disease and high feeding costs in the aquaculture industry.

The cost of tuna, one of the most heavily traded fish species, has risen to a record high, up 12 per cent over the past year on strong sashimi and sushi demand, as well as from the canned tuna industry. This has coincided with smaller catches.

Shrimp, another heavily traded species, has seen prices up 22 per cent as supplies have been hit by a disease spreading in southeast Asia as well as by a fall in low wild harvests.

Salmon prices have surged 27 per cent over the past year, but are well below their record highs. The price of aquaculture production is expected to remain high as the industry battles with record feed costs. Fishmeal prices remain near a record high due to a sharp decline in supplies of anchovies, used to manufacture feed rations.

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WSJ: Miller: Organic Farming is not sustainable
« Reply #53 on: May 16, 2014, 05:59:36 PM »
Organic Farming Is Not Sustainable
More labor with lower yields is a luxury only rich populations can afford.
By Henry I. Miller
May 15, 2014 6:49 p.m. ET

You may have noticed that the organic section of your local supermarket is growing. Advocates tout organic-food production—in everything from milk and coffee to meat and vegetables—as a "sustainable" way to feed the planet's expanding population. The Worldwatch Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental group, goes so far as to say organic farming "has the potential to contribute to sustainable food security by improving nutrition intake and sustaining livelihoods in rural areas, while simultaneously reducing vulnerability to climate change and enhancing biodiversity." The evidence argues otherwise.

A study by the Institute for Water Research at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, published last year in the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, found that "intensive organic agriculture relying on solid organic matter, such as composted manure that is implemented in the soil prior to planting as the sole fertilizer, resulted in significant down-leaching of nitrate" into groundwater. With many of the world's most fertile farming regions in the throes of drought, increased nitrate in groundwater is hardly a hallmark of sustainability.

Moreover, as agricultural scientist Steve Savage has documented on the Sustainablog website, wide-scale composting generates significant amounts of greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide. Compost may also deposit pathogenic bacteria on or in food crops, which has led to more frequent occurrences of food poisoning in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Organic farming might work well for certain local environments on a small scale, but its farms produce far less food per unit of land and water than conventional ones. The low yields of organic agriculture—typically 20%-50% less than conventional agriculture—impose various stresses on farmland and especially on water consumption. A British meta-analysis published in the Journal of Environmental Management (2012) found that "ammonia emissions, nitrogen leaching and nitrous oxide emissions per product unit were higher from organic systems" than conventional farming systems, as were "land use, eutrophication potential and acidification potential per product unit."

Lower crop yields are inevitable given organic farming's systematic rejection of many advanced methods and technologies. If the scale of organic production were significantly increased, the lower yields would increase the pressure for the conversion of more land to farming and more water for irrigation, both of which are serious environmental issues.
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© Hero Images/Corbis

Another limitation of organic production is that it disfavors the best approach to enhancing soil quality—namely, the minimization of soil disturbances such as tilling, combined with the use of cover crops. Both approaches help to limit soil erosion and the runoff of fertilizers and pesticides. Organic growers do frequently plant cover crops, but in the absence of effective herbicides, often they rely on tillage (or even labor-intensive hand weeding) for weed control.

One prevalent myth is that organic agriculture does not employ pesticides. Organic farming does use insecticides and fungicides to prevent predation of its crops. More than 20 chemicals (mostly containing copper and sulfur) are commonly used in the growing and processing of organic crops and are acceptable under U.S. organic rules. They include nicotine sulfate, which is extremely toxic to warm-blooded animals, and rotenone, which is moderately toxic to most mammals but so toxic to fish that it's widely used for the mass poisoning of unwanted fish populations during restocking projects.

Perhaps the most illogical and least sustainable aspect of organic farming in the long term is the exclusion of "genetically modified organisms," but only those that were modified with the most precise and predictable techniques such as gene splicing. Except for wild berries and wild mushrooms, virtually all the fruits, vegetables and grains in our diet have been genetically improved by one technique or another, often through what are called wide crosses, which move genes from one species or genus to another in ways that do not occur in nature. Therefore, the exclusion from organic agriculture of organisms simply because they were crafted with modern, superior techniques makes no sense. It also denies consumers of organic goods nutritionally improved foods, such as oils with enhanced levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

In recent decades, we have seen advances in agriculture that have been more environmentally friendly and sustainable than ever before. But they have resulted from science-based research and technological ingenuity by farmers, plant breeders and agribusiness companies, not from social elites opposed to modern insecticides, herbicides, genetic engineering and "industrial agriculture."

Dr. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, was the founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology and is a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.


Crafty_Dog

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Hens unbound
« Reply #55 on: January 01, 2015, 09:12:23 AM »
I confess I am quite OK with this.


Hens, Unbound
DEC. 31, 2014
[Mark Bittman]

The most significant animal welfare law in recent history — California’s Prop 2 — takes effect today. The measure, which passed by a landslide vote in 2008, requires egg and some meat producers to confine their animals in far more humane conditions than they did before. No longer will baby calves (veal) or gestational pigs be kept in crates so small they cannot turn around and, perhaps more significantly, egg-laying hens may not be held in “battery” cages that prevent them from spreading their wings.

The regulations don’t affect only hens kept in California. In 2010, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that extended the protections of Prop 2 to out-of-state birds: You cannot sell an egg in California from a hen kept in extreme confinement anywhere. For an industry that has been able to do pretty much what it wants, this is a big deal: It bans some of the most egregious practices.


Does limiting confinement for hens mean the end of cages? Maybe. It might become impractical for growers to build bigger cages; that is, it might be easier simply to keep hens in groups that meet the new minimum area required per bird, and so keep the hens “cage free.” That’s not a panacea, but it is an improvement.

The new minimum is not specified in numbers, but the courts have said that it “establishes a clear test that any law enforcement officer can apply, and that test does not require the law enforcement officer to have the investigative acumen of Columbo to determine if an egg farmer is in violation.” Hens must be able to spread their wings without touching a cage or another bird.

There is, however, another new state regulation — the so-called shell egg food safety regulation, aimed at reducing salmonella — enacted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. This requires a minimum of 116 square inches per bird, compared with the current 67 square inches, which is less space than an 8-by-10 photo, and just a tad more than a standard iPad.

Prop 2 trumps this rule, and birds probably need more than 116 square inches to spread their wings. In fact, many experts think something closer to 200 square inches is more realistic. But some farmers may think they can get away with 116; law enforcement will determine whether they’re right, and noncompliance is a criminal offense.

The new regulations will probably raise the price of eggs. Surprisingly, as producers in California switch production systems to comply with the new law, eggs raised by so-called conventional means sometimes cost more than cage-free eggs. This belies the arguments that the conversion process is difficult or prohibitively expensive; it just shows that many producers failed to take advantage of the five years between the extension of the new housing standards to all birds, and its taking effect, to adequately prepare. What have they been doing instead? Predictably, filing lawsuits fighting Prop 2, all of which have failed.

That Prop 2 is supported by a majority of people in the country’s biggest ag state, and that its legitimacy has been supported by courts, shows the direction in which the raising of animals is headed. Gestation crates are on their way out, and battery cages will soon join them. With this measure, the table is set for similar action in states all over the country.
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“We’ve worked on passing anti-confinement laws in 10 states now,” says Paul Shapiro, a spokesperson at the Humane Society of the United States. At least three other states are to take up similar legislation in 2015.
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Recent Comments
Clem
false

All for it - but worried about higher-priced eggs too. If you want poor people to cook at home more, remember that eggs are the cheapest...
Alan Burnham
false

Now we need to protect the people who work to supply us with food and continue the march to treat animals (and plants) as fellow inhabitants...
Chris Brady
false

This is good news, and long overdue. Society has been beyond oblivious to the danger that modern animal farming has been posing for...

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The most important part of the new law may be that every whole egg sold in California must adhere to the standards set by Prop 2, regardless of where it’s from. And since California can’t raise all the eggs eaten by its citizens, millions of those eggs — perhaps as many as a third consumed in the state — will come from elsewhere. From Iowa, for example, where more than 14 billion eggs are produced each year. (Interesting: There are just over 3 million people in Iowa, and nearly 60 million laying hens.) There has been talk of shortages, but they would be short-lived.

So, in California, just as you had to meet higher emission standards than required by federal law if you wanted to sell cars, now you must meet higher welfare standards for hens if you want to sell eggs. Whether farmers comply, or disobey, or leave the business remains to be seen. But Prop 2 means a new norm; eventually it will be, well, normal.

Just how high are the standards set by Prop 2? “By itself, the law means that many millions of animals will no longer be held in cramped cages, and that’s huge,” says Mr. Shapiro. “But the message it sends to the factory farming industry is clear: Business as usual — that is, subjecting animals to torturous conditions for their entire lives — is no longer going to be acceptable.”


Crafty_Dog

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POTH: No till farming
« Reply #57 on: March 10, 2015, 02:31:04 AM »
FORT WORTH — Gabe Brown is in such demand as a speaker that for every invitation he accepts, he turns down 10 more. At conferences, like the one held here at a Best Western hotel recently, people line up to seek his advice.

“The greatest roadblock to solving a problem is the human mind,” he tells audiences.

Mr. Brown, a balding North Dakota farmer who favors baseball caps and red-striped polo shirts, is not talking about disruptive technology start-ups, political causes, or the latest self-help fad.

He is talking about farming, specifically soil-conservation farming, a movement that promotes leaving fields untilled, “green manures” and other soil-enhancing methods with an almost evangelistic fervor.

Such farming methods, which mimic the biology of virgin land, can revive degenerated earth, minimize erosion, encourage plant growth and increase farmers’ profits, their proponents say. And by using them, Mr. Brown told more than 250 farmers and ranchers who gathered at the hotel for the first Southern Soil Health Conference, he has produced crops that thrive on his 5,000-acre farm outside of Bismarck, N.D., even during droughts or flooding.
Photo
“My goal is to improve my soil so I can grow a better crop so I can make more money,” said Mr. McAlister, who farms 6,000 acres of drought-stricken cropland. Credit Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times

He no longer needs to use nitrogen fertilizer or fungicide, he said, and he produces yields that are above the county average with less labor and lower costs. “Nature can heal if we give her the chance,” Mr. Brown said.

Neatly tilled fields have long been a hallmark of American agriculture and its farmers, by and large traditionalists who often distrust practices that diverge from time-honored methods.

But soil-conservation farming is gaining converts as growers increasingly face extreme weather, high production costs, a shortage of labor and the threat of government regulation of agricultural pollution.

Farmers like Mr. Brown travel the country telling their stories, and organizations like No-Till on the Plains — a Kansas-based nonprofit devoted to educating growers about “agricultural production systems that model nature” — attract thousands.

“It’s a massive paradigm shift,” said Ray Archuleta, an agronomist at the Natural Resources Conservation Service, part of the federal Agriculture Department, which endorses the soil-conservation approach.

Government surveys suggest that the use of no-tillage farming has grown sharply over the last decade, accounting for about 35 percent of cropland in the United States.

For some crops, no-tillage acreage has nearly doubled in the last 15 years. For soybeans, for example, it rose to 30 million acres in 2012 from 16.5 million acres in 1996. The planting of cover crops — legumes and other species that are rotated with cash crops to blanket the soil year-round and act as green manure — has also risen in acreage about 30 percent a year, according to surveys, though the total remains small.

Farmers till the land to ready it for sowing and to churn weeds and crop residue back into the earth. Tilling also helps mix in fertilizers and manure and loosens the top layer of the soil.  But repeated plowing exacts a price. It degrades soil, killing off its biology, including beneficial fungi and earthworms, and leaving it, as Mr. Archuleta puts it, “naked, thirsty, hungry and running a fever.”

Degraded soil requires heavy applications of synthetic fertilizer to produce high yields. And because its structure has broken down, the soil washes away easily in heavy rain, taking nitrogen and other pollutants with it into rivers and streams.  Soil health proponents say that by leaving fields unplowed and using cover crops, which act as sinks for nitrogen and other nutrients, growers can increase the amount of organic matter in their soil, making it better able to absorb and retain water.

“Each 1 percent increase in soil organic matter helps soil hold 20,000 gallons more water per acre,” said Claire O’Connor, a staff lawyer and agriculture specialist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In turn, more absorbent soil is less vulnerable to runoff and more resistant to droughts and floods. Cover crops also help suppress weeds. Environmental groups like the Defense Council have long been fans of soil-conservation techniques because they help protect waterways and increase the ability of soil to store carbon dioxide, rather than releasing it into the air, where it contributes to climate change.

One recent study led by the Environmental Defense Fund suggested that the widespread use of cover crops and other soil-health practices could reduce nitrogen pollution in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River basins by 30 percent, helping to shrink the giant “dead zone” of oxygen-depleted water in the Gulf of Mexico. The Defense Council, Ms. O’Connor said, has proposed that the government offer a “good driver” discount on federal crop insurance for growers who incorporate the practices.

But the movement also has critics, who argue that no-tillage and other methods are impractical and too expensive for many growers. A farmer who wants to shift to no-tillage, for example, must purchase new equipment, like a no-till seeder.

Tony J. Vyn, a professor of agronomy at Purdue, said the reasons growers cite for preferring to fully till their fields vary depending on geography, the types of crops they grow and the conditions of their soil. But they include the perception that weed control is harder using no-tillage; that the method, which reduces water evaporation, places limits on how early in the year crops can be planted; and that the residue left by no-tilling is too difficult to deal with, especially when corn is the primary cash crop.

Even farmers who enthusiastically adopt no-till and other soil-conservation methods rarely do so for environmental reasons; their motivation is more pragmatic.

“My goal is to improve my soil so I can grow a better crop so I can make more money,” said Terry McAlister, who farms 6,000 acres of drought-stricken cropland in North Texas. “If I can help the environment in the process, fine, but that’s not my goal.”


For years, Mr. McAlister plowed his fields, working with his father, who began farming outside the town of Electra in the 1950s. But he began having doubts about the effects of constant tilling on the soil.

“We were farming cotton like the West Texas guys were, just plow, plow, plow,” he said. “And if you got a rain, it just washed it and eroded it. It made me sick. You’re asking yourself, ‘Is there not a better way?’ But at the time, we didn’t know.”

Mr. McAlister said that he switched to no-tillage in 2005, when an agricultural economist calculated that the method offered a $15-per-acre advantage over full tilling.  Now he is a convert. Standing in a field of winter wheat, he pointed proudly at the thick blanket of stubble sprinkled with decaying radishes and turnips.

“One of the toughest things about learning to do no-till is having to unlearn all the things that you thought were true,” he said.

Mr. McAlister grows cotton, wheat, hay, grain sorghum and some canola as cash crops, using a GPS-guided no-till seeder that drills through residue, allowing him to plant precisely and effectively.  He credits no-tillage for one of his biggest wheat crops, in 2012, when extreme drought left farmers throughout the region struggling to salvage any harvest. His healthier soil, he believes, made better use of the tiny amount of rain that fell than did the fully tilled fields of other farmers.  But few growers go as far as Mr. Brown in North Dakota, who produces grass-fed beef and has given up most agricultural chemicals. Mr. McAlister, for example, still uses nitrogen fertilizer. He plants seeds that are genetically modified for drought or herbicide resistance. And he depends on herbicides like Roundup to kill off his cover crops before sowing the crops he grows for cash.

The philanthropist Howard G. Buffett, a proponent of soil-conservation practices, said that the drought and flooding that have plagued much of the country in recent years have drawn more farmers to no-till.

“When you get into a drought, that gets everybody’s attention,” said Mr. Buffett, the middle son of Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor. “Farmers don’t really change their behavior until they see that they have to, which is pretty much human nature.”

The Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay under the Clean Water Act in 2010, Mr. Buffett said, should also be “a wake-up call that the E.P.A. is coming soon” and if farmers do not address fertilizer runoff, the government will do it for them.  Still, he said, reaping the benefits of no-tillage farming demands patience, given that it may take several years for deadened soil to recover. Some farmers try no-tilling for one season and then get discouraged. And there is no one-size-fits-all solution: Farmers must adapt what they have learned to their own land and crops.

Mr. McAlister and other no-till farmers said that perhaps the biggest barrier to the spread of no-till is the mind-set that farmers must do things the same way as earlier generations did them.

“We have a saying in our area: ‘You can’t no-till because you haven’t buried your father yet,’” Mr. McAlister said.

“You can’t take on an endeavor like this with someone leaning over your shoulder every day telling you you’re wrong and it’s not going to work,” he said.

Crafty_Dog

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POTH: A seismic shift
« Reply #58 on: November 08, 2015, 08:06:17 AM »
IT’S easy to make fun of people in big cities for their obsession with gluten, or chia seeds, or cleanses.
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But urbanites are not the only ones turning away from the products created by big food companies. Eating habits are changing across the country and food companies are struggling to keep up.

General Mills will drop all artificial colors and flavors from its cereals. Perdue, Tyson and Foster Farm have begun to limit the use of antibiotics in their chicken. Kraft declared it was dropping artificial dyes from its macaroni and cheese. Hershey’s will begin to move away from ingredients such as the emulsifier polyglycerol polyricinoleate to “simple and easy-to-understand ingredients” like “fresh milk from local farms, roasted California almonds, cocoa beans and sugar.”

Those announcements reflect a new reality: Consumers are walking away from America’s most iconic food brands. Big food manufacturers are reacting by cleaning up their ingredient labels, acquiring healthier brands and coming out with a prodigious array of new products. Last year, General Mills purchased the organic pasta maker Annie’s Homegrown for $820 million — a price that was over four times the company’s revenues, likening it to valuations more often seen in Silicon Valley. The company also introduced more than 200 new products, ranging from Cheerios Protein to Betty Crocker gluten-free cookie mix, to capitalize on the latest consumer fads.
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Food companies are moving in the right direction, but it won’t be enough to save them. If they are to survive changes in eating habits, they need a fundamental shift in their approach.

The food movement over the past couple of decades has substantially altered consumer behavior and reshaped the competitive landscape. Chains like Sweetgreen, a salad purveyor, are grabbing market share from traditional fast food companies. Brands such as Amy’s Kitchen, with its organic products, and Kind bars are taking some of the space on shelves once consumed by Nestlé’s Lean Cuisine and Mars.

For the large established food companies, this is having disastrous consequences. Per capita soda sales are down 25 percent since 1998, mostly replaced by water. Orange juice, a drink once seen as an important part of a healthy breakfast, has seen per capita consumption drop 45 percent in the same period. It is now more correctly considered a serious carrier of free sugar, stripped of its natural fibers. Sales of packaged cereals, also heavily sugar-laden, are down over 25 percent since 2000, with yogurt and granola taking their place. Frozen dinner sales are down nearly 12 percent from 2007 to 2013. Sales per outlet at McDonald’s have been on a downward spiral for nearly three years, with no end in sight.

To survive, the food industry will need more than its current bag of tricks. There is a consumer shift at play that calls into question the reason packaged foods exist. There was a time when consumers used to walk through every aisle of the grocery store, but today much of their time is being spent in the perimeter of the store with its vast collection of fresh products — raw produce, meats, bakery items and fresh prepared foods. Sales of fresh prepared foods have grown nearly 30 percent since 2009, while sales of center-of-store packaged goods have started to fall. Sales of raw fruits and vegetables are also growing — among children and young adults, per capita consumption of vegetables is up 10 percent over the past five years.

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The outlook for the center of the store is so glum that industry insiders have begun to refer to that space as the morgue. For consumers today, packaged goods conjure up the image of foods stripped of their nutrition and loaded with sugar. Also, decades of deceptive marketing, corporate-sponsored research and government lobbying have left large food companies with brands that are fast becoming liabilities. According to one recent survey, 42 percent of millennial consumers, ages 20 to 37, don’t trust large food companies, compared with 18 percent of non-millennial consumers who feel that way.

Food companies can’t merely tinker. Nor will acquisition-driven strategies prove sufficient, because most acquisitions are too small to shift fortunes quickly. Acquired brands such as Annie’s Homegrown, Happy Baby and Honest Tea account for 1 percent or less of their buyers’ revenues. Moreover, these brands, along with their missions and culture, tend to get quickly lost in the sales and marketing machine of big food companies. It is easy for them to get orphaned.

For legacy food companies to have any hope of survival, they will have to make bold changes in their core product offerings. Companies will have to drastically cut sugar; process less; go local and organic; use more fruits, vegetables and other whole foods; and develop fresh offerings. General Mills needs to do more than just drop the artificial ingredients from Trix. It needs to drop the sugar substantially, move to 100 percent whole grains, and increase ingredient diversity by expanding to other grains besides corn.

Instead of throwing good money after bad for its lagging frozen products, Nestlé, which is investing in a new $50 million frozen research and development facility, should introduce a range of healthy, fresh prepared meals for deli counters across the country.

McDonalds needs to do more than use antibiotic-free chicken. The back of the house for its 36,000 restaurants currently looks like a mini-factory serving fried frozen patties and french fries. It needs to look more like a kitchen serving freshly prepared meals with locally sourced vegetables and grains — and it still needs to taste great and be affordable.

These changes would require a complete overhaul of their supply chains, major organizational restructuring and billions of dollars of investment, but these corporations have the resources. It may be their last chance.

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Stratfor: The Future of Food
« Reply #61 on: September 23, 2017, 04:05:00 PM »
The Future of Food: How Tech Is Changing Our Food Systems
A man works at a plant factory in Tokyo.
(JUNKO KIMURA/Getty Images)
Partner Perspectives are a collection of high-quality analyses and commentary produced by organizations around the world. Though Stratfor does not necessarily endorse the views expressed here — and may even disagree with them — we respect the rigorous and innovative thought that their unique points of view inspire.
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By Jeff Desjardins for Visual Capitalist

The urban population is exploding around the globe, and yesterday's food systems will soon be sub-optimal for many of the megacities swelling with tens of millions of people.

Further, issues like wasted food, poor working conditions, polluted ecosystems, mistreated animals, and greenhouse gases are just some of the concerns that people have about our current supply chains.

Today's infographic from Futurism shows how food systems are evolving — and that the future of food depends on technologies that enable us to get more food out of fewer resources.
THE NEXT GEN OF FOOD SYSTEMS

Here are four technologies that may have a profound effect on how we eat in the future:

1. Automated Vertical Farms
It's already clear that vertical farming is incredibly effective. By stacking farms on top of another and using automation, vertical farms can produce 100x more effectively per acre than conventional agricultural techniques.

They grow crops at twice the speed as usual, while using 40% less power, having 80% less food waste, and using 99% less water than outdoor fields. However, the problem for vertical farms is still cost — and it is not clear when they will be viable on a commercial basis.

2. Aquaponics
Another technology that has promise for the future of food is a unique combination of fish farming (aquaculture) with hydroponics.

In short, fish convert their food into nutrients that plants can absorb, while the plants clean the water for the fish. Compared to conventional farming, this technology uses about half of the water, while increasing the yield of the crops grown. As a bonus, it also can raise a significant amount of fish.

3. In Vitro Meats
Meat is costly and extremely resource intensive to produce. As just one example, to produce one pound of beef, it takes 1,847 gallons of water.

In vitro meats are one way to solve this. These self-replicating muscle tissue cultures are grown and fed nutrients in a broth, and bypass the need for having living animals altogether. Interestingly enough, market demand seems to be there: one recent study found that 70.6% of consumers are interested in trying lab grown beef.

4. Artificial Animal Products
One other route to get artificial meat is to use machine learning to grasp the complex chemistry and textures behind these products, and to find ways to replicate them. This has already been done for mayonnaise — and it's in the works for eggs, milk, and cheese as well.
TASTING THE FUTURE OF FOOD

As these new technologies scale and hit markets, the future of food could change drastically. Many products will flop, but others will take a firm hold in our supply chains and become culturally acceptable and commercially viable. Certainly, food will be grown locally in massive skyscrapers, and there will be decent alternatives to be found for both meat or animal products in the market.

With the global population rising by more than a million people each week, finding and testing new solutions around food will be essential to make the most out of limited resources.



Crafty_Dog

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Eh tu oatmeal?
« Reply #64 on: September 03, 2018, 08:30:54 PM »
Oatmeal has been a staple for me, , ,  :-P

http://thenutritionwatchdog.com/glyphosate-in-your-cheerios/

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Re: Eh tu oatmeal?
« Reply #65 on: September 04, 2018, 06:57:38 AM »
Oatmeal has been a staple for me, , ,  :-P

http://thenutritionwatchdog.com/glyphosate-in-your-cheerios/

It will kill you ... if you are a weed.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2018, 07:07:43 AM by DougMacG »

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Agriculture, Farming, Food Chain and Food Politics
« Reply #66 on: September 04, 2018, 12:29:40 PM »
Or good flora in my gut?

G M

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Re: Agriculture, Farming, Food Chain and Food Politics
« Reply #67 on: September 04, 2018, 01:05:30 PM »
Or good flora in my gut?

You might get cancer, but your gut flora should be fine.


DougMacG

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Re: Erin Brockovich targets Monsanto's glyphosphate
« Reply #69 on: December 17, 2018, 10:05:37 AM »
Too bad that because of climate bs and other 'scientific' activism distorting so-called science I am skeptical of the studies and reporting.

"Almonds, carrots, quinoa, soy products, vegetable oil, corn and corn oil, canola seeds used in canola oil, beets and beet sugar, sweet potatoes – these are just some of the foodstuffs which typically contain high levels of glyphosate. Research released in August by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that Cheerios, Quaker Old Fashioned Oats and at least 29 other popular breakfast foods contained what the EWG considers unsafe quantities of the herbicide. The environmental group has been urging public action to get the EPA to revise its outdated standards, which currently fail to protect the public from glyphosate in foods. Levels of glyphosate in the bodies of people in some areas appear to have jumped over 1,300% in the past 20 years, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association."

Were we measuring it the same way 20 years ago?  I doubt it but they make the astronomical comparison nonetheless.  Nowhere in the article do they publish the levels, just that it has been deemed unsafe.  Some areas is how many?  What level is safe?  What benefits derived from these risks?  How much did the lawyers make of the $78 million per death?  Has it killed more people than dihydrogen monoxide?  Does "organic" also have the same contamination?  If not, people already have that choice.

I would love to get accurate information and make wise decisions based on it.  Any idea how we might do that?


Crafty_Dog

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GPF: Watching what we eat
« Reply #71 on: April 22, 2020, 09:55:56 PM »
Daily Memo: Watching What We Eat
By: GPF Staff

Watching what we eat. Earlier this week, the U.N. World Food Program released its annual report, which forecast that in 2020 some 123 million people would be in crisis or worse over food supplies and that an additional 183 million would be stressed and at risk of entering a crisis. The most affected regions were Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. (These numbers were calculated before the pandemic became as bad as it.) The report goes on to warn that the knock-on effects of less purchasing power, poorer harvests and disruptions in supply chain and deliveries will negatively affect food accessibility. Developed economies, which can normally afford to worry less about food supplies, remain on alert over logistics disruptions and harvests.
Governments the world over as well as their constituents are naturally beginning to worry. In France, thousands of citizens responded to calls from the Ministry of Agriculture to work the fields for harvest as travel bans prevent the normal seasonal laborers from carrying out the work. In Germany, Berlin brought in seasonal workers from Romania but said workers are now expressing concerns over work safety conditions and wages. In India, crops have been lost for a lack of workers. In Canada, officials say they remain vigilant as some food processing facilities have shut down but say they do not anticipate any shortages. In the United States, there are increased reports of farmers dumping or burying crops due to lack of buyers as a result of restaurant closures.

The United States has already issued a $19 billion relief package to farmers, which included $16 billion in direct payments to producers and $3 billion in mass purchases of meat, dairy, vegetables and other products. Relief packages will help mitigate financial losses today, which will help make the planting of future crops more financially viable for farmers.

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GPF: Global Food Crises
« Reply #72 on: May 01, 2020, 03:31:49 PM »
May 1, 2020   View On Website
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    Global Food Crises
By: GPF Staff
 
(click to enlarge)

Food security has increasingly become a concern across the globe in recent months. A report recently released by the U.N. World Food Programme estimates that approximately 135 million people will face crisis-level food insecurity this year. There are three main drivers of this crisis. The most significant driver is conflict; 77 million people suffering from acute hunger live in conflict-ridden countries, and half of them live in the Middle East and Asia. The second-biggest driver is extreme weather, which is the main cause of severe food insecurity for 34 million people. The third-largest driver is economic shocks, which have resulted in severe food insecurity for 24 million people, primarily in Latin America. The report also found that an additional 183 million people were in “stressed conditions,” meaning they have minimally adequate food consumption and are unable to afford some essential non-food expenditures.

Notably, these forecasts were made before the coronavirus pandemic and do not account for its impact on vulnerable populations. The two main ways COVID-19 may impact food security is by affecting food availability and access. Crops show promising yields this year, but travel restrictions have already started to interfere with farming, transportation of goods and food processing. Many countries, particularly developed ones, have taken measures to protect against supply chain disruptions, but households dependent on food production and related activities are still vulnerable to disruptions in agricultural supply chains. Meanwhile, access to food can be disrupted because of declining incomes. Unemployment has already risen globally, and while governments scramble to prop up their economies, the purchasing power of many consumers will soon be reduced, if it hasn’t been already. Access problems will likely be compounded by rising food prices resulting from travel restrictions, regulatory changes, currency value fluctuations and supply chain disruptions.   




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Meat production in the time of the Chi Com Cooties
« Reply #74 on: July 29, 2020, 05:38:35 AM »
Senators Get a Meaty Education
A CEO instructs critics on food production and safety in a pandemic.
By The WSJ Editorial Board
July 28, 2020 7:22 pm ET

Producing meat is tough going in a pandemic, especially when you’re getting slaughtered by politicians. Last month Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker denounced America’s four largest meat processors for allegedly putting profits over workers, and Smithfield Foods CEO Kenneth Sullivan’s unapologetic response deserves attention.

Meat-processing plants became virus hot spots this spring, and factory closures caused shortages of some meat products at grocery stores and led to the culling of hogs, chicken and cattle. But as Mr. Sullivan notes in a letter to the Senators co-signed by more than 3,500 employees, “processing plants were no more designed to operate in a pandemic than hospitals were designed to produce pork.”

Smithfield has adjusted its production lines and improved worker protections against the virus at considerable cost. The company has bought millions of masks and face shields to equip each employee, as well as tens of thousands of sanitizer stations. It has installed plexiglass on production floors and break rooms and implemented thermal temperature checks for employees entering plants.

“An oft-repeated demand is that the industry ‘slow line speeds for more social distancing,’” Mr. Sullivan writes. But “slowing line speeds by 50 percent, for example, means euthanizing half of our nation’s livestock, the collapse of farm prices (law of supply and demand), burying food in the ground, food insecurity and higher food prices for everyone including, most importantly, those that can least afford it.”

Smithfield says it has also hired private health-care providers for every processing facility to provide free on-demand testing. Workers over age 60 or with underlying conditions have been offered paid leave. In addition, 11,000 who were quarantined but did not test positive were guaranteed pay. Workers have also received hazard pay averaging $4 per hour.

“Do these sound like the actions of a company that does not care about employee health and safety or is putting profits ahead of its team members?” Mr. Sullivan writes. “We have no desire to stand alone in the breach between the American people and food shortages, particularly with Monday morning quarterbacks everywhere.”

Running a business isn’t as easy as being a Senator, especially in a pandemic. Nearly all corporate leaders are doing their best to protect workers while continuing to serve customers, and it’s refreshing to see a CEO aggressively rebut political attacks that suggest otherwise.

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Food supply fragility
« Reply #77 on: July 30, 2021, 07:48:35 PM »

    
The Volatile Global Food Supply
The pandemic has aggravated an already alarming situation.
By: Geopolitical Futures
Stocks and Price Fluctuations in Global Food Trade
(click to enlarge)

The pandemic has aggravated an already alarming situation regarding the cost and accessibility of food worldwide, as the director general of the Food and Agricultural Organization recently explained. Rising prices mean rising political and social instability, threatening the stability of governments and societies and potentially igniting conflict. In developing countries, where in some cases the socio-economic situation was precarious even before the pandemic, food price inflation could mean malnutrition or starvation. This also threatens to make an already uneven recovery from COVID-19 even more unequal.