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Monday, May 19, 2008

Despite rising costs, still the land of plenty

Pot Luck or Humble PieFood has been in the news quite a bit recently. Rising prices of corn and rice have sparked unrest in countries in which they are staple foods, and residents of the United States are having to deal with shortages of certain commodities, such as rye. The reduced salmon population in California, Oregon and Washington is expected to push the prices of wild Alaskan salmon to as much as $40 per pound (we'll find out just exactly how much when Copper River salmon gets to our area later this week or next). And the political support for ethanol subsidies is slipping as corn prices rise.

News stories about dollar-stretching and belt-tightening abound, so it was a bit of an eye opener to read a story in The New York Times that says Americans throw away 27 percent of their available food, or about a pound a day per person. This isn't a purely American phenomenon: Brits throw away a third of their food, and Swedes up to a quarter.

And while 30 million tons of food is deposited annually into U.S. landfills, Second Harvest reports that contributions to food banks has declined by nine percent. It's a complex problem (complicated, as many things are, by the specter of liability lawsuits); follow the link and read the whole thing.

In the meantime, remember what your mother said: Eat everything on your plate; and waste not, want not.
J. Silverheels Gray, 9:49 AM


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