Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

19 posts from July 2010

Top Hunger News: Program Helps Women in Mali


Women's Program Launched in Volatile Northern Mali. The Manu River Women Peace Network, a West Africa-wide association that works to improve living conditions for women, is launching a program in Mali's extreme north, where conflict, hunger and drought are affecting hundreds of thousands. [VOA News]

Fighting Poverty and Enhancing Rural Development. Ghana’s fight against poverty to make progress towards the Millennium Development Goals has seen various successive policies introduced to accelerate national development, with a special focus on rural development. [The Chronicle]

Throwaway Fashion Culture Means Poverty for Millions. Today the Bangladesh Ministry of Labour is expected to announce that following months of strikes and demonstrations by garment workers, the minimum wage in an industry that employs 2,500,000 is to be virtually doubled. [Herald Scotland]

Give the Poor Money. Conditional-cash transfers are good. They could be even better. [The Economist]


Visualizing Hunger and Its Impact: Why We Need a Hunger Data Consortium. We need smarter, more collaborative data collection that bypasses organizational silos. [The Huffington Post]

Farmers' Markets, CSAs Struggle To Get Food Stamp Customers. Innovative city programs have increased the number of low-income shoppers getting access to locally grown produce. But technology and upfront costs remain a barrier for many. [City Limits]

As Economy Sinks, Demand for Social Services Soars. For at least a year, economists have said Nevada’s economy was “bouncing along the bottom” instead of still searching for it. [Las Vegas Sun]

Top Hunger News: A Personal Look at Hunger in America


Friends and Neighbors. How do you choose between paying your bills and feeding your kids? [Dateline NBC]

Peanut Industry Helping Solve World Hunger. Peanuts, in a specially blended formula, have saved tens of thousands of children from death by malnutrition, but if logistic, political and patent battles are resolved, the number could reach into the millions. [Southeast Farm Press]

One in Ten Have No Job. More Have No Security. On Thursday, a group of scholars led by Yale's Jacob Hacker and backed by the Rockefeller Foundation are unveiled a new statistic to measure hardship. They call it the “Economic Security Index.” [The New Republic]

College Students Hide Hunger, Homelessness. For many college students and their families, rising tuition costs and a tough economy are presenting new challenges as college bills come in. This has led to a little-known but growing population of financially stressed students, who are facing hunger and sometimes even homelessness. [NPR]


Why Women are Economic Backbone of Rwanda. "In Rwanda there is a saying. The woman is the heart of the house, so if your heart is working well the whole body I think is also to benefit," said Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, a parliamentarian for the Social Democratic Party. [CNN]

Africa's Hunger Hardships Spur Biotech Debate. Many solutions have been proposed to help combat hunger in Africa, but one in particular remains controversial: biotechnology. [Global Voices]

Political Will Can Solve Malnutrition. More than 70 percent of Africa's population is rural and depends on agriculture for food and income, so the solution to food security seems easy and logical: people can grow enough nutritious food to feed themselves. [IRIN]

Hope and Progress in the Developing World, Despite Daunting Challenges. Projects that empower people in developing countries with a means of expression are key to helping communities combat hunger and poverty themselves. [The Seattle Times]

Climate Change/Environment

Climate Change 'Will Increase Mexico-US Migration.' A warming climate could see millions of adult Mexicans migrate to the US as rising temperatures cause a drop in crop yields, according to a study by researchers at Princeton University. [BBC]

Top Hunger News: Good News on African Agriculture


AFRICA: Bullish About the Agricultural Future. Suddenly, after 20 years of relative neglect, African agriculture is a hot topic, with a substantial growth in production and a new interest among major donors in funding the sector. [IRIN]

BANGLADESH: Unemployment, Food Prices Spur Growing Hunger. Rising unemployment and food prices and a sluggish economy are taking their toll on Bangladesh, where a growing number of people are struggling to survive. [IRIN]

Summit Must Focus On All Eight MDGs.The 15th Ordinary African Union summit is on in Kampala with a timely theme, “Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa.” … To spur consistent development, African leaders must focus on all the eight MDGs with a close linkage to women and children. [Daily Monitor]


Community Organizations Receive $500000 from ConAgra Foods Foundation to Fight Child Hunger. Eleven local organizations in 10 different states have been selected to receive a total of more than $500,000 as part of the inaugural ConAgra Foods Foundation Community Impact Grants program. [...] The new program will identify, invest in and support non-profit organizations that are finding innovative ways to combat child hunger and enhance nutrition education among at-risk populations. [PR Newswire]

Five Myths About Unemployment‎. [The Washington Post]

‘A Daily Fight to Find Food’

In case you missed it, National Public Radio aired a great set of stories about childhood hunger yesterday and today. “A Daily Fight to Find Food: One Family’s Story profiles the Williamson family, of Carlisle, PA, as they rely on a patchwork of food pantries, grocery stores, and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits to feed themselves.

The second part, “Eating Nutritiously: A Struggle When Money is Scarce,” looks at the choices many families have to make between eating healthy foods—and just plain eating. “A gallon of milk is $3-something,” Elaine Livas, director of a local food pantry, tells NPR. “A bottle of orange soda is 89 cents. Do the math."

Thousands of families face similar struggles in the United States. Nearly one in four children lives in a household that struggles to put food on the table. And for many families, SNAP benefits (formerly called food stamps) run out during the third week of the month.

That’s why it’s critical that Congress fully fund the child nutrition programs that are up for reauthorization this year. These programs include school breakfast and lunch programs; preschool, summer, and after-school meal programs; and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). They are vital to getting kids the food they need.

President Obama requested $1 billion a year in new resources for these programs in his budget earlier this year, but the Senate Agriculture Committee approved a child nutrition bill that only provides $450 million a year. And in its draft bill, the House Education and Labor Committee would invest only $800 million per year in these programs.

You can influence the reauthorization of these programs by urging your member of Congress to provide the full $1 billion investment so we can connect more kids with the food they need. For more information, read about the importance of child nutrition programs, including our background paper on childhood hunger.

Creative but Confused

Josh Rogin of The Cable blogged recently about what the development community has been quietly complaining about--the continuing delays in the two major reviews of development policy by the State Department and the National Security Council.

Added to this are the rising internal disagreements in the Obama administration about how to reconcile development and foreign policy goals. Simply put, how should the power over development policy be divided between the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)? USAID is our country’s prime development agency, but it is currently under the purview of the State Department.

World Food Prize laureate Rev. David Beckmann told The Cable, "The Obama administration is doing smart and creative things to help hungry and poor people around the world. But they are hung up by organizational confusion, and the president needs to make it clear that USAID, not the State Department, has lead responsibility for development."

Watch Bread President on PBS

Check out tomorrow’s PBS’ “Need to Know” program—Bread president David Beckmann is interviewed by Jon Meacham, editor of Newsweek, about the silent epidemic of malnutrition and how our domestic farm policy may be harming malnourished children in the developing world. Beckmann appears in the second segment of the show.

After you watch the segment, please take a few minutes to write a letter to your member of Congress to help ensure that our kids receive better nutrition. Nearly one in four children suffers from hunger in the United States. Congress needs to fully fund and pass the Child Nutrition Act that is currently stalled in the Capitol.

The programs authorized by this Act—school lunches and breakfasts, summer feeding programs, and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program—are critical to ending childhood hunger. We urgently need your help.

Thanks—and spread the word! Since “Need to Know” airs at various times throughout the country, please check your local PBS schedule.

Taking It To (and from) the Farmers

Farmers Addis Ababa, EthiopiaCountervailing winds have been blowing across the global efforts to reduce hunger through agriculture development.

Here in the Ethiopian capital, scientists, humanitarians, and politicians from across the continent and around the world gathered this week at a symposium titled “Taking it to the Farmer.” They were honoring Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution, by putting into action what we are told were his final words before he died last year: “Take it to the farmer.” They plotted new—and renewed—efforts to help Africa’s small farmers grow more food to feed their families and sell on the markets. Improving soil health, boosting university research, empowering women farmers, nurturing commercial seed companies, strengthening extension services to advise farmers of the latest technology, and developing markets were highlighted as some of the keys to sparking a Green Revolution in Africa.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. capital, politicians were busy taking it away from the farmers. In crafting the fiscal year 2011 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs cut President Obama’s request to fund elements of his Feed the Future program. The markup includes $1 billion for agriculture and food security programs, $300 million less than the president’s request. The cuts also included $258 million from the request to fund the brand new global agriculture fund (known as the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, or GAFSP). The request was for $408 million for the fund; the markup was for just $150 million. The whittling was continuing in the Senate.

Continue reading "Taking It To (and from) the Farmers" »

Top Hunger News: Politics of Food Scarcity


The Emerging Politics of Food Scarcity. A dangerous geopolitics of food scarcity is emerging in which individual countries, acting in their narrowly defined self-interest, reinforce the trends causing global food security to deteriorate. [Treehugger.com]

Girls Count: "An Adolescent Girl Living in Poverty is the Most Powerful Person in the World." If we reach her early enough, she can accelerate economies, arrest major global health issues and break cycles of poverty. [UN Dispatch]

Women Still Playing Catch Up. Expanding opportunities for women and girls, especially in education, brings dramatic improvements in a society's economic performance and in social indicators like infant mortality and overall health. [Miami Herald]

Food Crisis in the Republic of Niger: What Needs to Be Done? It is essential that this landlocked country looks for alternative methods of subsistence in order to improve on the current situation of about two million people on the verge of hunger. [Peace and Conflict Monitor]


Feeding America Applauds Passage of Child Nutrition Reauthorization Legislation by House Education and Labor Committee and Urges Full House Action. This bill would be a significant step forward in achieving an end to childhood hunger by 2015. [PRNewswire]   

Census Bureau: Number of Children Without Insurance Rising. Analysts said those figures coincide with the increase in the poverty rate across the country. [Independentmail.com]

Food Stamp Needs Keep Growing. Sitting in the food stamp office filling out a renewal form, Brian Bachurek said he'd rather be working than asking for help from the state... [The Daytona Beach News Journal]

More People Expected to Apply for Food Stamps. This month, North Carolina is doing something it has never done before. New income requirements are making food stamps available to residents who wouldn’t have qualified a few weeks ago. [Fox News]

Ethnic Food: Farmers Find A Future In Immigrant Vegetables. Maxixe, a Brazilian relative of the cucumber, is relatively unknown in the U.S., but it may one day be as common as cilantro as farmers and consumers embrace more so-called ethnic vegetables. [Huffington Post]

Climate Change/Environment

[Blog] We Can Feed the World Sustainably, Humanely. According to the experts, agroecological farming, which improves food production and farmers' incomes while at the same time protecting the soil, water and climate, could feed an estimated world population of nine billion people by 2050 and go a long way to save the climate, if implemented now. [Huffington Post]

Top Hunger News: Changing Poverty Criteria


More Poverty by Any Measure. ...A number of states have become convinced that the federal figures actually understate poverty, and have begun using different criteria in operating state-based social programs. [Stateline.org]

Oil Spill's Impacts on Cash Assistance Still Unknown. A reliable estimate of  the amount of money needed to satisfy cash assistance and Food Stamp requests from Florida families in dire straits because of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill won’t be known for months. [Sunshine State News]

When the Benefits Run Out - and Still No Job. ...By the end of the year, more than 1 million people will have exhausted their 99 weeks and still be without work, according to Andrew Stettner, deputy director at the National Employment Law Project. [CNN Money]

Vendors Asked to Make Healthy Menus. It’s like “Top Chef,’’ but with food trucks. [The Boston Globe]


[Multimedia] Algae Could Combat Hunger. Heralded by scientists as a near-miracle food, a protein-rich algae has potential to abolish malnutrition. [Newsdesk.org]

Millions Wasted on Shipping Food Aid. U.S. taxpayers spend about U.S. $140 million every year on non-emergency food aid in Africa, and roughly the same amount to ship food aid to global destinations on U.S. vessels; money that could have been used to feed more people says a new study by researchers at Cornell University in the U.S. [IRIN]

Asia Needs to Invest More to Feed Population. Asian countries need to increase investment in food production by 50 percent to $120 billion a year to ensure they can afford to feed their large and growing populations, a United Nations' body said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Hunger Rates for Niger's Children Reach 'Alarming' Levels. Relief workers in Niger say malnutrition rates for children under age five have reached emergency levels. A deepening food crisis in the eastern Sahel threatens nearly half of Niger's 14 million people. [VOA News]

Climate Change/Environment

[Multimedia] Peruvian Snags World Bank Funding to Paint Mountaintops White. Eduardo Gold, a Peruvian inventor, perturbed by the melting of glaciers in the Andes Mountains, has come up with a solution -- paint the Andes white. [Digital Journal]

Supporting Farmer Climate Adaptation When 'the Rains are Changing.' Farmers and herders in Ethiopia and Mali say that rainfall patterns are becoming more uncertain, endangering their pasture for livestock and their harvests. [Alertnet.com]   

Climate Change, a Burden to a Poor Farmer. Climate change spells a misfortune for rural livelihoods and agriculture in Malawi. [Digital Journal]

Top Hunger News: Ethiopia to Meet Hunger MDG


Ethiopia on Track to Halve the Poverty Rate by 2015, UN Says. The government has “made an enormous progress in the provision of social services such as education, health, and infrastructure by spending a large share of its budget in the pro-poor sector,” the report said. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

'More Poor' in India than Africa. Eight Indian states account for more poor people than in the 26 poorest African countries combined, a new measure of global poverty has found. [BBC]

FAO Opens Access to Food, Hunger and Ag Database. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization is granting free and open access to its central data repository, FAOSTAT, the world's largest and most comprehensive statistical database on food, agriculture and hunger. [Porkmag.com]

G8 Hunger Aid Insufficient, Report Warns. The package of aid interventions that the world's eight wealthiest nations put in place last year to respond to the food-price crisis of 2007-08 was insufficient, according to a new report  from the U.K. Hunger Alliance and the Oakland Institute. Instead, governments should be investing in sustainable agriculture in the fight against global hunger, the report concludes. [EnvironmentalExpert.com]


Idaho Food Stamp Use Doubles National Increase. Percentage wise, Idaho's increase was 42 percent, versus the national average around 21 percent. It's been steadily getting worse in the last couple of years, at the same rate as the decline in the economy and increased unemployment. [Fox News]

Survey Finds Retail Food Prices Edge Higher in Second Quarter. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $47.20, up $1.66 or 4% compared to the first quarter of 2010. The total average price for the 16 items increased about 2% compared to one year ago. [Michigan Farmer]

USDA Cuts Cattle, Hog Price Forecasts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture cut its cattle and hog price forecasts for the second consecutive month amid rising production and slower demand. [Drovers.com]

Climate Change/Environment

How Much Damage Has the BP Oil Spill Done? In the months since the start of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico there have been harrowing images of birds coated in oil and dead dolphins, but just what do we know about the scale of the environmental damage done? [BBC]

In Pictures: Eco-Friendly Water Solutions for Indian Farmers. With 98 million subsistence farmers relying on rain water to grow one crop a year, India has a huge need for small-scale irrigation. International Development Enterprises India (IDEI) believes it has found a solution. [BBC]

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