|Global food insecurity from "The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World"|
Published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 2022.
In all the kitchens of the world, cooks are worried about food scarcity, higher prices, and short supplies of favorites, and even of necessities. Food insecurity is increasing, on a global scale. One reason is deteriorating conditions for growing crops in many places. Climate change is accelerating food supply problems and cooperation among nations to take effective measures against the warming planet are not going well. Here’s the unfortunate and inconvenient fact:
"With each fraction of a degree of warming, tens of millions more people worldwide would be exposed to life-threatening heat waves, food and water scarcity, and coastal flooding while millions more mammals, insects, birds and plants would disappear." (New York Times, October 26,2022)
Declining food production is already occurring in some places, and hunger — even starvation — is already widespread in some parts of the world. Besides climate change, the war in Ukraine has caused higher prices of grains and cooking oil. Though not as disastrous as was first expected, the situation is volatile. The impact of the war on global food supplies and prices is very important and also complicated. I have not addressed it in this post: the issue needs much more space and attention than what I have written here.
Thinking about people around the world and their problems obtaining healthy food, or in fact any food, is often on my mind. I’m also thinking about how current issues are directly affecting my kitchen and kitchens like mine. For this blog post, admittedly centered on the American kitchen of the moment, I’ve chosen just a few examples of foods in my kitchen that almost everyone in the US depends on, but that are affected by the variables of a warming planet. I definitely know that I’m privileged, but these details are part of a big picture of the state of the whole world’s kitchens.
Processed Tomato Products
“Because Hurricane Ian made landfall three weeks later than Irma, almost all of southwest Florida’s tomato seedlings were planted when the storm arrived, meaning that many acres will need to be replanted after basic services are restored in Lee and Charlotte Counties, counties hit hard by Ian.” (source)
More from my refrigerator: cucumbers from Canada; lettuce, celery, and
carrots from California,
and fresh ginger from an unnamed source.
“For three years, Central Valley lettuce and leafy greens growers have battled Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV), which is a plant pathogenic virus. Hot weather three weeks ago really activated INSV damage. But the influence of the disease begins with the outset of summer. In mid-October, yields were down as much as 50% below full production … ‘the industry is reaching some peak pricing.’” (source)
Sriracha Hot Sauces
Orange Juice: No More “Florida’s Natural”
“Florida’s Natural” Labels:
The Old: "NOT FROM CONCENTRATE NON GMO"
The New: "FROM CONCENTRATE"
(photos are from supermarket websites)
The sad fact is that production of oranges in Florida’s citrus groves is no longer adequate to supply American OJ-drinking habits. Diseases of the trees, insect pests, and disastrous weather events have devastated the citrus crops for several years. After decades of emphasizing that all their juice was grown in Florida, the Florida’s Natural growers now explain :
"Unfortunately, the Florida orange crop has been declining for decades while our fans continue to buy more and more Florida's Natural orange juice. The Florida orange crop can no longer meet our consumer demand, so we are adding in only the best Mexican Valencia orange juice."
Besides all the other problems, hurricane Ian resulted in a total loss of this year’s crop for many citrus farmers in its path, and up to 30% of their trees may be lost. “Even before the storm, the USDA had predicted the Florida orange crop would be down by a third this year.” (NPR, October 14)
Sweetness for a Warming Planet
No Matter How Bad Things Are, Have a Happy Halloween!
|Don’t worry, we do have something other than vegetables in the house.|
In fact, we are ready for the trick-or-treaters. I promise not to eat any before 6 PM.
Candy prices have gone up a lot, but that’s yet another discussion!