Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Cost of Food and the Holidays

During this holiday season, I often think about how fortunate my family and I are to be able to afford food and share a holiday dinner together. Because a lot of my research and work involves thinking about food security, it is sometimes hard for me to relax, eat, and celebrate without sharing some food facts with relatives, especially over the holiday. This Christmas, I hope to talk a little about our global food crisis and social responsibility. Timing is important, a little bit of humor helps, and using any advantage you have is also useful. Often I get asked to say grace. I will seize the moment to bring attention to the high food prices and its affects on people around the world. A good resource for quick information on this topic is World Vision (Canada) website. Some alarming facts posted on the site include the rising cost of grain since 2007 (wheat has risen by more that 100%), people in developing countries are spending as much as 75% of their income on food leading to food riots in countries like Haiti, and most importantly the site gives reasons for why this is happening listing the rise in the cost of grain, low grain reserves, rise in the price of oil, and the demand of ethanol. Though my family and I are not struggling to buy food, we (and all Americans) are being affected by the food crisis. If we are not buying are produce from local farmers, the quality of our fruits and vegetables is questionable. If meat is a big part of our diet we have to wonder where it comes from (just think of chickens in feedlots). If we aren’t supporting sustainable agriculture practices, we are supporting to the use of oil and ethanol to produce food. I think what I want to express most to my family is the need for them to be more involved in understanding food policies and how to advocate for ones that ensure the growing, production, transportation, and exportation of high quality affordable food around the world because the economic issues that affects one country soon affects all. I will enjoy this Christmas with my family, be grateful for our holiday dinner, say grace with information on food security, and spend a lot of time with my younger cousins who are curious about the world and why things happen.

1 comment:

  1. I find difficult the massive amount of food (often wasted) at Christmas. It seems so far away from the simplicity of the story of Jesus' birth. But as you say, it can be tricky finding the right moment to raise concerns about what we eat in the middle of the festivities. Thanks for the post!