Date palm trees abound in the Niyamgiri hills of the Indian state of Odisha. The fruits contain antioxidants and Vitamin A, and the sap is collected and fermented to produce liquor. (Photo: Manipadma Jena/IPS)
Rayagada, India - Scattered across 240 sq km on the remote Niyamgiri hill range in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, an ancient tribal group known as the Dongria Kondh have earned themselves a reputation as trailblazers.
Having fought – and won – a decade-long battle with a British mining giant that invested close to a billion dollars in a bauxite extraction operation in this mineral-rich area, the Dongria Kondh set an example in 2013 to millions of tribal people around the world that David versus Goliath-style confrontations can still be won by the underdog.
Now, the indigenous group is once again at the forefront of a global problem – the twin issues of hunger and deforestation – as they continue to nurture an ancient way of life despite a wave of destructive development that is threatening ...
ROME (AP) — The number of hungry people around the world has dropped to 795 million from over a billion a quarter-century ago despite natural disasters, ongoing conflicts and poverty, the three U.N. food agencies said Wednesday.
Countries in East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean showed the most progress in reducing hunger, thanks in part to economic growth that didn't exclude the poor, investments in agriculture and political stability, the agencies said in their annual State of Food Insecurity report.
The report found that a majority of the countries monitored — 72 out of 129 — have met the U.N.'s ambitious Millennium Development Goals to halve undernourishment by 2015.
"The near-achievement of the MDG hunger targets shows us that we can indeed eliminate the scourge of hunger in our lifetime," said U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's chief, Jose Graziano da Silva.
The agencies said the reduction in hunger and undernourishment came despite natural disasters, political instability and conflict ...
On May 8 2015 I awoke to discover that not only were we not looking forward to a new coalition government in the UK, but that the overall collapse of the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party had given the Conservative government a mandate. At an individual level I'm likely to see some benefits from the strong neo-liberalism that underpins this government's ideology, but I'm concerned about a further deepening of the division between those who have and those who have not.
This will mean the continued exponential growth in the numbers of people requiring emergency food assistance and increased numbers of children and elderly with inadequate food supply. This will also translate into higher rates of obesity, diet-related illness and malnutrition.
The Most Vulnerable
In the United Kingdom there are nearly 5m people today living as food insecure . Wendy Wills, an expert in food and public health, defines this as those who are unable to acquire or consume an adequate quality or sufficient quantity of food ...
How we have landed ourselves with a global food system that generates hunger alongside of obesity, and what can we do about it? The universal EXPO 2015 that opened in Milan on May 1 with the theme of "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life" is placing its bets on "best technologies" and "free trade" to do the job. The US Pavilion's sponsors include technology vendors like Dow and 3M and proponents of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) like the U.S. Dairy Export Council, which is seeking to lower EU barriers to antibiotic-plumped U.S. products.
But the problem really lies elsewhere: over the past three decades, public responsibility for food security has been sold out to markets and corporations while the frontline actors—families, communities and small-scale food producers—have been disempowered. Unprotected by governments, smallholder family farmers are being driven off their land and out of their markets with the allegation that they are inefficient and archaic. Yet, it is they who ...
(Image: Empty cart via Shutterstock)
Republicans may like to rail against big government. But here in Wisconsin — where conservative lawmakers just introduced a bill to dramatically restrict what people can buy with their own food stamps — Republicans want to cook up a new kind of nanny state.
This isn’t a new idea altogether.
Recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) already can’t buy prepared foods or booze with their benefits. More recently, some conservative politicians and policy wonks have suggested restricting food stamp recipients from using government aid to buy soda or junk food .
But now, Wisconsin Republicans want to bar people from using their food stamps to buy shrimp, lobster, and other shellfish, and require them to use at least two-thirds of their SNAP benefits on items found on a specific and arbitrary list of products.
If the bill were to pass, bulk dry beans — a very affordable and nutritious choice — would be out, but canned beans would be in. That is, unless ...
Lorca Henley of Bowling Green, Ohio, said her family's dinners on different nights this week included taco salads, tuna casserole with mashed potatoes, spaghetti with meat sauce and hamburgers they fried on the stove because they were out of propane.
Steak, lobster and crab legs were not on the menu, even though such fare figures prominently in political debates over what food people buy with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Henley, 42, said she's received SNAP benefits since October, when she lost her job as a registered nurse with a dialysis company. She said she gets $342 per month for herself, her husband and their three young kids. They buy lots of eggs, bread, apples and carrots, she added.
"I’ve never had crab legs in my life," Henley said. "I’ve never had lobster –- I haven’t had a steak in like four years."
Stories of SNAP recipients using benefits to buy shellfish and junk food abound.
"I have seen people purchasing filet mignons and crab legs with their EBT cards," Rick ...
WASHINGTON -- Food stamp enrollment has dipped beneath 46 million for the first time since 2011, according to the latest numbers from the federal government.
In February, 45.6 million Americans received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the program . That's the lowest monthly enrollment figure since 45.8 million received benefits in August 2011.
The number of Americans receiving benefits shot up from 27 million in 2007 to 47 million in 2012 thanks largely to a bad economy making more people eligible for the program. Another reason for the enrollment surge was states signing up a greater percentage of the eligible population .
Enrollment has been slowly declining since 2013 as the economy improves, thereby making fewer Americans poor enough to qualify for benefits. Many states have also begun tightening restrictions on SNAP benefits for unemployed able-bodied adults without dependents, which the liberal Center on Budget and ...
Last year, Tanzania had exciting news: a bumper harvest of corn. But even as farmers were celebrating — corn is a staple eaten at almost every meal — much of the crop had already been spoiled, having grown moldy or been infested by insects and rodents.
The problem was that farmers lacked the capacity to store food safely. Even the government’s national reserve system had run out of space to hold the overflow.
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Forests and forestry are essential to achieve global food security as the limits of boosting agricultural production are becoming increasingly clear, a new study published today reveals. The findings are included in the most comprehensive scientific analysis to date on the relationship among forests, food and nutrition launched today in New York at a side event of the United Nations Forum on Forests.
(Photo: Dave Brenner/U-M SNRE )The USDA is putting $31 million behind a program that helps low-income families take home twice the veggies, and local farmers make twice the money.
Vicki Zilke is a farmer in Ypsilanti, Mich., population 20,000, where more than a quarter of residents live below the poverty line. Every week, she sells her vegetables at Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers Market, one of two in the city. Nearly 40 percent of the shoppers at both hubs are on some form of food assistance funding from the government.
The two farmers markets first started accepting payment through food assistance programs back in 2006. But that year, they only received $378 from the program.
But in 2010, an incentive program called Double Up Food Bucks expanded from Detroit to Ypsilanti. The program matches SNAP money (formerly known as “food stamps”) dollar-for-dollar when people spend it at farmers markets. That means shoppers can double up to $20 in spending on fruits and veggies. By 2014 customers spent more than ...
Three immigrant women who say they were punished for joining a hunger strike in a Texas family detention center on Thursday sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and GEO Group, the company that operates the facility.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court against ICE Director Sarah Saldaña and personnel at the Karnes County Residential Center, seeks to prohibit ICE and GEO from putting women and their children in isolation as punishment for protesting, and from threatening to separate mothers from their children.
“All we’re asking is that under the First Amendment, for ICE officials and GEO officials to stop retaliating against the women and allow them to peacefully protest,” said Ranjana Natarajan, an attorney with the University of Texas Civil Rights Clinic, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the women.
The women were part of a wave of some 68,000 family units that crossed illegally into the United States last year and presented themselves to border authorities asking for asylum. A roughly equal ...
Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) doesn't want poor people to buy junk food with food stamps, and his administration has endorsed an effort to stop it.
A bill with bipartisan support in the Maine State Legislature would prevent beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program from using their government debit cards to buy candy and soda.
"Multiple Red Bulls in one purchase, Rock Star energy drinks, 1-pound bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and 3 gallons of Hershey's Ice Cream in one purchase," Bethany Hamm, an official with the state Department of Health and Human Services, said during a hearing on Thursday, MPBN News reported .
"We have all seen these types of purchases occur -- and it's unacceptable," Hamm said.
Ever since Ronald Reagan complained about "strapping young bucks" using food stamps to buy T-bone steaks in 1976, lamenting the purchases of people on welfare has been a political tradition. In recent years, many lawmakers, mostly Republicans, have sought to restrict what people purchase ...
Pennsylvanians applying for nutrition assistance will no longer have to tell the government whether they own burial plots, thanks to a move by Gov. Tom Wolf (D) that will take effect on Monday.
Wolf's predecessor, former Gov. Tom Corbett (R), imposed an asset test on food stamp applicants in 2012 to cut down on "waste, fraud and abuse." The test limits food stamps to people who have less than $5,500 in assets, except for some personal property, including a house and one car. The state's application form asks about bonds, boats and burial agreements with banks or funeral homes. The asset questions come on top of standard queries about income and expenses.
During his campaign for governor last year, Wolf had promised to undo the asset test , calling it "another example of how [Corbett] has embraced policies intended to hurt our most vulnerable residents."
Republicans in many states have tinkered with safety net programs since 2010, seeking to add new eligibility requirements for people who want benefits ...
CHICAGO (AP) — President Barack Obama's health care law has had a surprising side effect: In some states, it appears to be enticing more Americans to apply for food stamps, even as the economy improves.
New, streamlined application systems built for the health care overhaul are making it easier for people to enroll in government benefit programs, including insurance coverage and food stamps.
In most affected states, the enrollment increases were not huge, ranging from 1 percent to 6 percent over two years, according to an Associated Press analysis. The sole exception was Nevada, where enrollment shot up 14 percent.
The enrollment is climbing as Republicans try to cut the costs of the food program and at a time when food-stamp usage would normally be expected to decline. Eligibility rules have not changed.
West Virginia's food-stamp enrollment increased 4 percent after a Medicaid expansion that was part of the health care changes. Enrollment jumped because people were "more engaged with our systems and ...