Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

25 posts from June 2010

Top Hunger News: Algae Examined as Cheap Solution to Malnutrition


Highly Nutritious Green Cakes Could Save Lives. Donors hope spirulina, a blue-green, protein-packed algae labeled a "wonderful future food source" 45 years ago by the International Association of Microbiology, will deliver on its promise by the time a US $1.7 million cultivation project in Chad, funded by the European Union (EU), ends in December 2010. [IRIN]

[Video] Haiti: The Aid Dilemma. In the aftermath of January's devastating earthquake in Haiti, post-disaster relief is creating a new kind of problem for businesses there. The massive influx of food aid has altered the price of rice, throwing the delicate balance in Haiti's food supply chain out of whack and threatening to collapse the country's rice market. [Frontline]

West Bank Poverty ‘Worse than Gaza.’ Children living in the poorest parts of the West Bank face significantly worse conditions than their counterparts in Gaza, a study conducted by an international youth charity has found. [Aljazeera.net]

Chad: Hungry Season Sets in Early. The poorest households in Chad will find themselves with no food reserves in the coming weeks, according to the U.S. Famine Early Warning System network, FEWSNET. [IRIN].


FBN Shopping Cart Prices Take Biggest Jump in 21 Months. Led again by increases in prices for meat and dairy products, the overall cost of items in the FOX Business shopping cart rose sharply in May -- the seventh time the food basket prices have increased in the last eight months. [FOX Business]

Photo Exhibit Shows Face, Airs Stories of Hunger. A North Texas Food Bank photo exhibit puts a face on a widespread problem that often goes unseen. [The Dallas Morning News]

With Federal Stimulus Funds Running Out, Economic Worries Grow. Much of the $787 billion stimulus has been spent, creating jobs and extending jobless benefits. But with lawmakers reluctant to approve more funding, concerns are rising about staving off another recession. [Los Angeles Times]

Climate Change/Environment

G-20 Backs Funding for Climate, Food as Protesters Rage Outside. More funding to address climate change and food security will be available through the Multilateral Development Banks, said the G-20 group of the world's largest economies in a declaration at the conclusion of its annual meeting here Sunday. [Environment News Service]

Top Hunger News: "Just Give Money to Poor People" Idea Gains Popularity


A Revolution in Global Aid to the Poor. Here's a radical idea to tackle world poverty – give money straight to the poor. [The Guardian]

Balancing the Weights of Poverty and Population. As the economic crisis unfolds and the outlook darkens, the world will have to intensify its poverty reduction effort. [Treehugger]

Design of Millennium Development Goals Faulted By Experts. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are giving policy makers sleepless nights, considering that the 2015 deadline is around the corner. [Business Daily]

Niger: Acute Child Malnutrition Increases by 42%. Nearly 17 percent of Niger’s children younger than five suffer acute malnutrition, a 42 percent increase over the same period last year, according to a national survey released by the government. [IRIN}

Yemen: Child Care Scheme Helps Refugee Women Become Breadwinners. The child care centre, in the home of Saida Ahmed Omar, hosts between 30-40 children of working mothers, and is one of 15 in Basateen, a slum area of Aden, home to about 40,000 Somalis and Yemenis with Somali ties. [IRIN]


Grocery Closings Leave Rural Residents Few Options. Craig Chancellor tried everything he could, but last November he finally closed the Turkey General Store, leaving the small Texas Panhandle town without a grocery. [StarTribune]

[Blog] Panera Bread’s “Pay What You Wish” Store is Pretty Awesome. If there’s one thing I would like for us to be remembered for in the 21st century, it’d be that we stopped worrying about squeezing a profit out of everything we do in the world of business and started using our resources to make the world a better place. [Market Musings]

Mid-Atlantic Wholesale Produce Company Feeds Hometown Hungry. Four Seasons Produce, Inc., a wholesale distributor of produce and its subsidiaries, is proud to announce a fundraising partnership with Feeding America. [PR Newswire]


OECD’s Focus on the Global Future May Have an Effect on the Farm Bill Conversation. In a move with implications for the 2012 farm bill debate in the United States, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is shifting its agricultural focus from reforming agricultural subsidies in developed countries toward helping those governments address climate change, renewable fuels, and global food security.  [AGWeek]

Climate Change to Impact Heavily on Food Security. Millions of Zimbabweans are likely to face more shortages of food and water as weather patterns change, resulting in delayed rainy seasons. [The Zimbabwean]

A Bread Member's Legacy: Making Food Security Sustainable

Last week, Bread lost to cancer an advocate who “got” the critical details of sustainable agriculture. Deon Stuthman, professor emeritus of agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Minnesota, worked for decades to promote food security for hungry and poor people—both as a Bread activist and in church leadership roles, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s churchwide committees on agriculture and food issues.

Stuthman’s academic background enabled him to see clearly what needs to be changed, and his work as an activist helped bring change closer.

“He had a strong desire to see Bread address sustainability concerns more thoroughly,” said Tammy Walhof, who worked closely with Stuthman as Bread’s regional organizer for the Upper Midwest. “Some of his deep concerns about the flaws in our trade system and their potential impact on regional food security were played out during the 2008 food crisis.”

Bread staff members still refer to Bread for the World Institute’s 2003 Hunger Report, Agriculture in the Global Economy, for help in understanding U.S. farming policies and their impact on hungry people.

“Professor Stuthman was instrumental in planning our research trip to Minnesota for Agriculture in the Global Economy,” said Emily Byers, policy analyst for the report. “I think the trip has informed Bread’s work on agriculture issues ever since.”

When our Offering of Letters focused on the U.S. farm bill in 2007, Bread members’ understanding—and confidence to take action—were greatly strengthened by the efforts of our activists who are also technical experts. The farm bill will be coming before Congress again in just a couple of years, and Bread staff is already planning how best to build on the progress we have made.

We can honor Stuthman’s work by continuing our efforts to make U.S. farm policy more fair to all who are struggling to feed their families.

Michele Learner is a writer with Bread for the World.

Top Hunger News: Eating Leaves and Lizards to Survive in Niger

Eating Leaves and Lizards to Survive in Niger. Aid organizations are warning that millions of people are facing starvation from drought and crop failure in the West African country of Niger, and some people are turning to desperate measures to survive. [BBC]

Historic Step Toward New World Balance. Against significant odds, the Group of 20 is moving closer to its goal of rebalancing the global economy. [The Globe and Mail]

Selling Scrap Metal to Scrape By. Gugulethu Mkhwananzi is another one of the many unemployed women who have become features of everyday life in Bulawayo’s poor working class suburbs as she moves from house to house, looking for "rusted gold," or scrap metal. [IPS]

End Hunger With One Quarter, One Click at a Time. With modern technology and some pocket change, Hatua International allows everyday people to join the fight against hunger. [Tonic]

Panera Co. to Open More Pay-What-You-Wish Eateries. Panera's nonprofit plan is the largest example yet of a concept called community kitchens, where businesses operate partly as charities. Customers who need a discount, or even free food, can get it with no questions asked. [AP]

Food Stamps Applications Soar. Applications for food stamps in Panhandle counties have soared since oil began gushing from the broken BP pipe leak. [Capitol News Service]

USDA Releases Farmers Market Guide to SNAP. The handbook provides farmers market managers with step-by-step directions on how to install Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) machines and accept SNAP benefits. [Food Safety News]

Climate Change/Environment
Climate Change Scientists Turn Up Arctic Heat. Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are planning a large-scale, long-term ecosystem experiment to test the effects of global warming on the icy layers of arctic permafrost. [Laboratory Equipment]

A Glimpse of Feeding the Future

Rwanda farmers Kagano, Rwanda -- As leaders of the world’s top industrial countries gather for the Group of Eight summit in Canada, they can look to the long-suffering hills of Rwanda to see the fruits—and vegetables—of their actions.

Corn farmers in the eastern province are receiving assistance in marketing a surplus harvest. Rice farmers in the south are planning for new warehouses. Dairy farmers up north are offering more nutritious feed to their cows and reaping more milk.

And here on the western hillsides near Lake Kivu, more than 2,000 farmers wielding hoes are hacking away at the ground, crafting wide terraces that will increase their arable space and shaping a water management system to slow the relentless erosion that strips away some 40 million metric tons of Rwanda’s valuable topsoil each year.

Taking a break from the work, Ezechias Rurahinyuza surveys the hills—and the future. He expects the terraces will hold the rain water and better retain the fertilizer, giving his seeds a greater chance to take root and flourish. He calculates he may be able to triple or quadruple his harvests of corn and potatoes and expand his grove of passion fruit trees. For once, he says, he may have enough to both feed his family of six children and earn a decent sum of money from sales at the market.

“That,” he says, “will be wonderful.”

Continue reading "A Glimpse of Feeding the Future" »

Top Hunger News: 10 Million Face Hunger in West Africa

West Africa: Call for More Aid as 10 Million Face Hunger. Several U.N. agencies and NGOs are calling for a greater mobilization of aid workers and funding in the West African Sahel to meet the needs of a population facing one of the worst nutrition crises in recent years. [IRIN] Related article: Sahel and West Africa Food Security Outlook: October 2009-March 2010.

Report: Over 115 Million Widows Live in Poverty. At least 245 million women around the world have been widowed, and more than 115 million of them live in devastating poverty, according to a new study... [AP]

Global Agriculture and Food Security Program Partners Announce Inaugural Grants. Partners in the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a new fund to tackle global hunger and poverty, this week announced that five developing countries will receive the fund's first grants totaling $224 million. [U.S. Department of the Treasury]

Poor Countries Record Progress in Fight Against Poverty. As G-8 and G-20 leaders prepare to gather in Canada, new analysis issued by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the United Nations Millennium Campaign finds that, in absolute terms, many of the world’s poorest countries are making the most overall progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals . [Peace FM Online]

22 Days After Congress Cut Unemployment Insurance, Still No Movement. The bill is still stalled. [The Washington Independent]

"The Giving Can" Helps You Fight Hunger at the Grocery Store. The idea is to have shoppers pick up a couple extra cans and drop them in the Giving Can, and Harvest Hope will make sure this food gets to the hungry. [WISTV]

California Welfare Cards Can Be Used in Many Casino ATMs. [I]n more than half of the state's casinos and gaming rooms, welfare recipients can get cash from state-issued EBT cards. Officials say they're moving to block such transactions. [Los Angeles Times]

Top Hunger News: Brothers Fight Hunger with Soccer Camp

Brothers Fight Hunger With Soccer Camp. Kicking 4 Hunger collects cans for Concord pantry. [The Charlotte Observer]

N.J. Senator Introduces Bill Preserving FamilyCare Insurance Program for Working Poor. Showing his distaste for the budget deal reached Monday, Senate Health Committee Vice-Chairman Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) has introduced a bill that would allow more parents to enroll in FamilyCare, the insurance program for working poor people. [NJ.com]

Africa: Not Spending Enough on Food. "Africa is now facing the same type of long-term food deficit problem that India faced in the early 1960s," says a U.S.-based think tank. [IRIN]

Global: Ghana Tops List of Less Hungry Countries. Ghana, often hailed as a success story in West African agriculture, tops a global list of 10 countries that have managed to slash their number of hungry people by a huge margin. [IRIN]

Economic Crisis ‘Must Not Disrupt Vaccine Program.’ The global economic crisis must not be allowed to interfere with the delivery of new vaccines to the developing world, a global health body has warned. [BBC]

Kenya: Kakuma Camp Cuts Child Malnutrition. Aid workers in a camp for some 80,000 refugees in northwest Kenya have in six months slashed acute child malnutrition rates by doubling the provision of nutritional supplements, scaling up feeding and adopting community feeding programs. [IRIN]

Surviving on a Crust in Egypt’s Expanding Slums. For 7-year-old Ahmed Yasser, it is normal to have just a crust of bread to munch on throughout the afternoon as he plays with other children in a narrow alley in the sprawling slum of Arab al-Maasarah, 20 km south of Cairo. [IRIN]

Global Downturn Fuelled Poverty, Hunger: U.N. Report. The report said that effects of the crisis are likely to persist as poverty rates will be slightly higher in 2015 and even beyond… [Sify]

Climate Change/Environment
Syria: Act Now to Stop Desertification, Says FAO. An irreversible degeneration of some of Syria’s landmass could occur because of three consecutive years of drought, warns the Food and Agriculture Organization. [IRIN]

The Littlest Advocate

Little Lobbyist 2

Isaiah Lewis, center, leads his mom, Beth, and other delegates to their congressional offices during Bread’s 2010 Lobby Day. Photo by Rick Reinhard.

For 2-year-old Isaiah Lewis, it’s never too early to learn to help others. He and his parents, Jeremy and Beth, drove from Atlanta to Washington, DC, last week to attend Bread’s Lobby Day.

The day went well—Isaiah and his parents visited their representative and both senators, urging them to protect and strengthen tax credits that help low-income families. “Isaiah had practiced saying, ‘Earned income tax credit’ and ‘make it permanent’” prior to the visits, said Beth.

When Isaiah asked his parents what the Earned Income Tax Credit is, “We talked about that it really helped people be able to choose what they needed to buy when they didn’t have enough money, even if they were working hard,” Jeremy said. “For instance, it allowed people to buy diapers, or work on their car if they needed to, but it really gave people a choice for how to use their money. I think he definitely understood that.”

Isaiah loved wearing a tie, and carrying the Lobby Day packet Bread provided was really important to him, said Beth. After the Lobby Day reception, the family returned to their dorm room at American University for a well-deserved rest, where a high point for Isaiah was jumping on the beds.

“It’s important to our family that he’s involved, so that he knows the importance of advocacy from an early age,” said Jeremy. “It’s only through us organizing our individual voices that we have an opportunity to make a significant change.”

Top Hunger News: Out of Poverty? World Cup Holds Out Elusive Dream

Out of Poverty? For South African Woman, One of Many, World Cup Holds Out an Elusive Dream. Cecilia Dube's dream has taken her from dust-choked building sites to university classrooms, from the rubble of demolished food stands to cooking meals in a park in an upscale neighborhood where fans watch World Cup soccer on a giant screen. [Washington Examiner]

Niger’s Silent Crisis. Britain's aid agencies are launching an appeal to help the people of Niger, where half the country's population is going hungry following droughts that have led to crop failures and food shortages. [BBC]

Somalia: Help for Drought-Displaced Pastoralists. With more and more drought-affected pastoralists in the self-declared republic of Somaliland seeking alternative livelihoods in urban areas, aid organizations and the government are instituting measures to not only check the rural-urban migration but also support those remaining in rural areas. [IRIN]

Hunger and the Market. For the destitute and the disadvantaged, however old or infirm, the choice is between undignified, low-paying hard work or hunger. [The Hindu]

USAID Chief Highlights Crucial Role of Women in Aid Efforts, Harps On Haiti Experience. Rajiv Shah, administrator of the Agency for International Development, stressed the need for development strategies to focus on women ... [All Headline News]

Poverty, Dropout Rates Threaten Texas' Future. The state's public schools have more and more low-income kids and persistently high dropout rates—and unless that changes, the future of Texas will contain more long-term unemployment and poverty. [The Houston Chronicle]

Fathers: The Greatest Weapon against Poverty. As good citizens, we should look beyond the gifts and other trappings to examine in a practical sense why fathers should be appreciated. [Dakota Voice]

Midwest Consumer Prices Inch Up in May. From April to May, food and energy prices each increased by 0.4 percent. Food prices rose after recording no change in the previous two months. [The Business Journal]

New Livestock Rules Could Change Balance of Power. The USDA has released new rules that could fundamentally change the balance of power between large meat packers and independent poultry, hog and cattle producers. The federal agency sees this as a way to reinvigorate rural communities. [Daily Yonder]

Climate Change/Environment
A Million Trees and Counting—German Boy Activist Fights Climate Change.
Felix Finkbeiner, a speaker at DW's Global Media Forum, was 9 when he came up with the idea of planting trees around the world. He's now 12 and his idea has snowballed into a green student movement in 70 countries. [DW-World.de]

$6 Million Program to Train Workers for Green Jobs in Ohio. The Energizing Careers Program is accepting requests for proposals from companies looking to train employees for the growing energy economy … [Chillicothe Gazette]

Bread Receives Centennial Medal

Catholic Charities USA, a nonprofit that serves more than 9 million people every year, awarded Bread its Centennial Medal in recognition of our service to people in need. The organization also honored the Catholic Health Association.

Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities, presented the medal to David Beckmann during services at St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill as part of Bread’s annual Lobby Day last Tuesday. Catholic Charities is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

"In our centennial, it is a privilege and honor for Catholic Charities USA to pay tribute to such essential organizations as Catholic Health Association and Bread for the World," he said. "Their willingness to stand with the poor and disenfranchised as we advocate for services and solutions that reflect dignity and respect for all people is truly inspirational. We are so fortunate to partner with people and work of this caliber."

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