California is the biggest U.S. producer of agricultural products. It’s also in its third year of drought, with 95% of the state in moderate to exceptional drought conditions. Food prices have already risen as a result, but there are likely even higher prices to come. Oh, and the rivers are so dry salmon are being driven to the sea in tanker trucks.
In recent years, an international movement to embrace “ugly” produce has taken root. The idea is simple – by using the edible, but slightly less beautiful fruits and vegetables that are typically discarded, we can decrease food waste and feed more people. Some of the U.K.’s biggest supermarkets have embraced this concept. Here in the states, while some charities and food banks have been doing this kind of work for years, many American businesses are just starting to consider the problem and potential of ugly produce.
As great as it is to eat local, in most of the U.S. there are certain months of the year when it is difficult, if not impossible, to eat local food fresh from the field. Thankfully, a new crop of food hub entrepreneurs are thinking beyond the growing season by freezing fresh summer produce to sell locally in the winter.
One-third of U.S. honeybee colonies died last winter, threatening our entire food system. Insects pollinate a third of everything humans eat – that’s one in three bites you take – including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and the forage that feeds livestock. Put in simplest terms, as the bee population declines, so does our food supply. We provide a few ways you can help the bees right now.
This week, scientists revealed the result of a two-year project that cost Google founder Sergey Brin $325,000 – a single hamburger. But this isn’t just any burger, this is the world’s first in-vitro burger. Grown in a lab, using stem cells from a cow shoulder muscle, this burger is being hailed as the future of food by many.
Shipping on the Mississippi River has returned to normal levels after a threatened shutdown due to the drought, but the scare exposed one more way our food supply is vulnerable to extreme weather events.
U.S. ending stocks numbers for corn and soybeans have become available for year end 2012, and the results are stunning. According to the data, we will have only 19 days of corn in storage this year and only 16 days of soybeans. For soybeans, this is the lowest stocks-to-use ratio on record; for corn it’s the second lowest.
These innovative entrepreneurs are turning the crisis of food waste into a profitable business opportunity.
While the big weather news this fall focused on Hurricane Sandy, the drought of 2012 continues to affect more than 60 percent of the United States and is forecast to continue through at least March 2013, affecting food production, food prices, and shipping prices.
A list of Sustainable America’s top 5 posts on food issues in 2012. From composting & food waste to The Farm Bill and a food forest, we hope we’ve given you some food for thought this year!