I acknowledge that my food interests that I write about here are a luxury and self-indulgent. Today many newspapers are running an AP article: Food Prices Soaring Worldwide. The author, Katherine Corcoran, documents the reasons why food is suddenly scarce and expensive, and describes the situation of people around the globe. The poorest people are suffering unbearably as they become unable to feed themselves and their children. Individuals and populations are at risk of slipping further and further into poverty and desperation.
I hope you read the article for yourself. But here is one example: "... hunger has had a ripple effect. Haitian food vendor Fabiola Duran Estime, 31, has lost so many customers ... that she had to pull her daughter, Fyva, out of kindergarten because she can't afford the $20 monthly tuition. Fyva was just beginning to read."
Update: in the N.Y.Times, dated March 29, 2008: High Rice Cost Creating Fears of Asia Unrest -- "The price of rice, a staple in the diets of nearly half the world’s population, has almost doubled on international markets in the last three months. That has pinched the budgets of millions of poor Asians and raised fears of civil unrest."
ANOTHER update from the N.Y.Times, March 31: As Jobs Vanish and Prices Rise, Food Stamp Use Nears Record -- "“People sign up for food stamps when they lose their jobs, or their wages go down because their hours are cut,” said Stacy Dean, director of food stamp policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, who noted that 14 states saw their rolls reach record numbers by last December. One example is Michigan, where one in eight residents now receives food stamps."