A massive locust infestation has migrated from Somalia and Ethiopia into Kenya, reports AP News. The insects are devouring crops in a country already afflicted by widespread hunger. The United Nations warns that coming rains could increase the locust populations by a factor of 500. The most effective way to stave of the infestation is through aerial pesticide spraying, which comes with a $70 million price. "Even a small swarm of the insects can consume enough food for 35,000 people in a single day, said Jens Laerke of the U.N. humanitarian office in Geneva," says the article.
(Image: Niv Singer, CC-BY) Read the rest
If you have any unpaid parking fines at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus, and you have a loaf of bread and some peanut butter and jelly, you can now reduce or cover the cost of your tickets by making a PB&J sandwich. Read the rest
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service approved the growing of a new kind of cotton plant that's been genetically modified to be edible. The toxic chemical gossypol in the plant usually makes the cotton dangerous for humans to eat. Texas A&M biotechnologist Keerti Rathore and colleagues genetically stopped the production of gossypol in the cottonseed while not interfering with it elsewhere in the plant where it acts as a natural insecticide. From Reuters:
“To me, personally, it tastes somewhat like chickpea and it could easily be used to make a tasty hummus,” Rathore said of gossypol-free cottonseed.
After cottonseed oil, which can be used for cooking, is extracted, the remaining high-protein meal from the new cotton plant can find many uses, Rathore said.
It can be turned into flour for use in breads, tortillas and other baked goods and used in protein bars, while whole cottonseed kernels, roasted and salted, can be consumed as a snack or to create a peanut butter type of paste, Rathore added.
(via Daily Grail)
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People's Pantry Cincy in Cincinnati, Ohio commissioned artists to convert old newspaper boxes into miniature food pantries for neighborhood residents to donate or take food items.
“As a dietitian, I’ve always believed that no one should go hungry,” project designer Lisa Andrews said. “We have an abundance of food, yet so many people are suffering from food insecurity, especially in Cincinnati.”
From the Cincinnati Business Courier:
The organization is requesting non-perishable food items and toiletries that donors place in any of the boxes. Project goals are to reduce hunger, increase access to food and toiletries and encourage communities to “nourish their neighborhood.”
"Neighborhood mini-food pantries take bite out of hunger in Cincinnati" (Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)
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The nonprofit Urban Institute's new study, Impossible Choices: Teens and Food Insecurity in America used paired, single-gender focus groups in 10 urban communities to learn about the hunger and food strategies of children aged 10 to 17 whose families received food assistance (the total sample size was 193). Read the rest
People are "food insecure" if they lack access to "enough food for an active, healthy life." There are 48 million Americans who live in food insecurity, thanks to a combination of nearly all the economic benefits of the post-2008 recovery going to the wealthy; and the sustained attacks on America's social safety net, led by state-level Tea Party governments. Read the rest
Alabama governor Robert Bentley left his wallet in Tuscaloosa when he headed off for his beach house. So his aides sent a state police helicopter to fetch it, at a public cost of about $4000.
"I requested they deliver my wallet, I didn't know how they were going to do it," the governor told AL.com. "I did not request that a helicopter was used. You have to have your wallet for security reasons. I'm the governor. And I had to have money. I had to buy something to eat. You have to have identification."
Bentley's about to be impeached, but over an unrelated a sex scandal. Read the rest
On April 1, 22 states will roll back their food stamps rules to pre-crisis levels, so adults without dependents or disabilities will only be entitled to "three months of food stamps in any three-year period—unless they work at least 80 hours a month, or meet education and training or volunteer benchmarks." Read the rest
Lexie Kahanovitz and her colleagues made a two-minute, hand-drawn Schoolhouse Rock-style PSA about "what to do if your student debt has your food budget at zero. It's funny, and it aims to remove the guilt out of needing help, while also outlining steps to getting assistance."
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According to Feeding America's 2014 Hunger in America Report, 10% of its 46.5 million adult clients are currently students. That's almost 5 million students without food security.
Richard Perry/The New York Times
A worthy and overlooked story in the NYT by Elizabeth Rosenthal about a new economic riptide hitting Central America, a result of America's changing corn policy. The US is now using 40% of our own corn crop to produce biofuel, and tortilla prices have doubled in Guatemala, which now imports about half of its corn.
"Recent laws in the United States and Europe that mandate the increasing use of biofuel in cars have had far-flung ripple effects, economists say, as land once devoted to growing food for humans is now sometimes more profitably used for churning out vehicle fuel."
Read the rest, and check out Richard Perry's photo slideshow. Read the rest