Trade News: From Farm to Food to Foolishness to Food-less-ness

From USDA/ERS:   State Export Data: Annual estimates of U.S. exports by State and commodity groups based on each state’s share of U.S. agricultural production.  Good link to dozens of Excel tables providing an overview of state exports and agricultural trade.

Also from ERS: Why Have Food Commodity Prices Risen Again?  A report that describes the factors that have contributed to the large and rapid increase in agricultural prices during the past year. The report focuses particularly on food commodity prices which have risen 60 percent since June 2010.  Download the entire report.

Geographic Differences in the Relative Price of Healthy Foods. Although healthy foods can be affordable, if less healthy foods are cheaper, individuals may have an economic incentive to consume a less healthful diet.  Using a Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database, researchers explore whether a select set of healthy foods (whole grains, dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, whole fruit, skim and 1% milk, fruit juice, and bottled water) are more expensive than less healthy alternatives. They also find considerable geographic variation in the relative price of healthy foods.

The Effect of Food and Beverage Prices on Children’s Weights.  One factor that may be important in explaining rising childhood obesity is food prices. This report explores the effect of food prices on children’s Body Mass Index (BMI).  On average, higher prices for soda, 100 percent juices, starchy vegetables, and sweet snacks are associated with lower BMIs among children. In addition, lower prices for dark green vegetables and lowfat milk are associated with reduced BMI.  Download the entire report.

FOOD INC: This 2010 Oscar-nominated film lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that’s been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Below is the video trailer for this highly acclaimed film.  An in-depth review and additional information may be found at this PBS link.  

Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.  We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli — the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

IMHO. Among the essential, inalienable rights bestowed upon humankind, purely because they exist should be the right to eat nutritionally viable foodstuffs.  

For those interested in the state of foodlessness in the world and some organizations that help, here are a couple of links to check out:

WFP | United Nations World Food Programme – Fighting Hunger Worldwide

World Hunger Facts World Vision  Stop Hunger Now  Bread for the World

I’ve worked with the U.N. and World Vision. They’re doing good work, as are many.

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