by Marion Nestle
Jan 20 2008

The end of cheap food?

Today’s Observer (London) lays out the causes and consequences of what’s happening to global food prices. Not pretty. The bleak forecast: price increases of 10% to 50% leading to “a war between the 850 million chronically hungry of the world and the 800 million motorists – all fighting for the same food crop.”

  • Sheila

    I don’t understand enough about the details of the science behind making biofuels, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could use the food parts of the plant for food and make biofuels only out of the plant parts that typically are discarded? In this part of the country, the farmers burn the fields every fall making a huge mess. I have often wondered why we can’t recycle that unwanted plant leftover material after the food or cotton is taken off.
    Or, how about recycling the tons of food waste generated by school cafeterias and commercial businesses using the unwanted food products for fuels? I don’t understand why we have supported the development of a fuel built upon taking food out of the world’s dinner basket.

  • and the escalation of GMO crops? (They purport to cost less, but we know they really cost more.)

  • Fentry

    This may be a blessing in disguise for the world’s poor: if it makes local growing of food cost competitive, nations will grow their own food rather than grow “cash crops.”

    After all, it’s not the the majority of the world’s hungry live in countries without agriculture, it’s that their agricultural sector can’t compete with subsidized U.S. grain prices. So they turn to non-food or marginal food crops.

    The view that the world needs our export market is rather convenient, I think.