food security

Too many mouths to feed - or too little development?

Rose Prince thinks soil fertility will be the Next Big Issue because we make nitrogen fertilisers from crude oil and we’re running out of potassium. But we take nitrogen from the atmosphere using natural gas as a source of hydrogen (to make ammonia) and we’re not running out of potassium. But never let the facts get in the way of a new food panic.

Demand for food is costing the Earth, Daily Telegraph

Food price inflation: don’t fret just yet

Andrea Hotter on the Wall Street Journal blog suggests that the shortfalls in wheat production in Russia should not feed through to major price inflation - as happened in 2008 - just yet. The major cause of rising prices back then was rising oil prices, which raised transportation and fertiliser costs. In 2010, those pressures aren’t there and the production problems seem to be isolated to Russia. Hotter suggests that there were no supply issues back in 2008, but that seems wrong. There were shortfalls in Australian production, for example. But the basic tenor of the article seems about right.

Food Inflation: Don’t Panic, Yet, Wall Street Journal

Don’t bring back the Ministry of Food

Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (yes, Hugh’s mum) has written an interesting history of food rationing during the Second World War. But bizarrely, she is nostalgic for that period.

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Is this Food, Inc. or Monsters, Inc?

An Oscar-nominated documentary about America’s food industry is simply ‘outrage porn’ for organic eaters.

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A foodie’s guide to the history of humanity

Tom Standage’s fascinating new book reveals how central were the production, transportation and consumption of food to the creation of human societies and human progress.

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Todmorden’s ‘propaganda planting’

More on Incredible Edible, the West Yorkshire project to promote local and sustainable food through encouraging people to grow it. ‘Our aim is to make our town entirely self-sufficient in food production by 2018 – and if we can carry on at the same rate as we’ve done over the past 18 months since we had our first meeting and set this initiative up, we’re going to make it.’

Todmorden's Good life: Introducing Britain's greenest town, Independent

Amartya Sen on democracy and famine

Sen has famously pointed out that ‘No famine has ever taken place in the history of the world in a functioning democracy’.

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Out of tuna

Is it the end of the line for a ban on bluefish tuna fishing?

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Somalia faces food crisis

Country faces ‘worst humanitarian crisis in war-torn Somalia in 18 years’ according to the FAO.

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What’s the Future of Food?

New online debate begins on Spiked.

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About Panic on a Plate

Once we worried about getting enough food. Now we seem to fret about having too much food, or about what food might do to us and the planet. This website is designed to be an antidote to food fears.

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Panic on a Plate: How Society Developed An Eating Disorder is published by Societas. Buy the book from Amazon (UK) here.

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