The Protests Smoke billows up between the sleek high-rises of the European Quarter in Brussels. The European milk farmers are angry, very angry. Many of them fear for their survival. After 31 years, the European Commission decided to end milk production quotas, to the dismay of many small and mid-scale producers. What with the Russian … Continue reading Quo Vadis, Quota? The EU Milk Protests
If human rights abuses take place where neither laws nor media exist, do they provoke an outcry? Thanks to some intrepid reporting by Ian Urbina for the New York Times, yes, they do. His piece “Sea Slaves: The Human Misery that Feeds Pets and Livestock“, part of his series “The Outlaw Ocean” on crime on the … Continue reading Fishing Slaves: Hidden Ordeals on the High Sea
Who has the hardest job in the coffee value chain? Is it the farmer, who has to create just the right growing conditions for each single coffee plant, countering unpredictable climate, droughts and deluges, pests and diseases and an uncertain economic future year after year? The processor, who has to balance the orders he gets from … Continue reading The Hardest Job Of All
“In a highly publicized move, Russia is destroying tons of food that was illegally imported from Western countries. […] As The Guardian reports, the order from President Vladimir Putin includes a requirement that the food “must be destroyed in front of witnesses, and the act should be captured on video, to preclude corruption.” NPR The destruction … Continue reading Russia’s Import Roulette
Coffee is known to have some of the most volatile prices of any agricultural commodity. The crux of agricultural markets is this: There is always an imbalance of supply and demand. If supply is smaller than demand, prices soar. This animates more producers to plant the crop in the following year to reap high earnings. … Continue reading Hey Mon, What’s Up with Jamaican Coffee?
I peek around the corner of the grocery store. Well, I guess ‘store’ is a misnomer – distribution point, maybe? I am shy at first because I am wary of being an obnoxious foreigner, treating Havana as an open-air museum full of entertaining quirks that actually make up Cubans’ reality. But the clerk waves me … Continue reading State-Sponsored Food Security: The Cuban Case. Does It Work?
I can’t forget the wistful stares. “How lucky you are to come and visit us! We’d like to travel as well and see the world.” Legally, there is no problem anymore since the exit visa requirement was abolished in 2013. Yet, economically it is impossible for the vast majority of Cuban citizens. Average public-sector … Continue reading Cuba: Lessons to be Learned for Sustainable Living?
by Helena Robling In my first post on this blog I tried to depict the distinction between food waste and food loss and describe the importance of understanding this difference for any policy aiming to create sustainable food systems. Since then I have come across new aspects of the food waste problem, so let’s come … Continue reading Something is Happening in the Food Waste Business!
When we visited the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR), they received us with smiles full of passion, but also visibly exhausted. In this country, trying to ensure the protection of political, economic and social rights with a staff of six and a minuscule budget could seem like a quixotic battle. … Continue reading Flashback to Cambodia: Of Land Titling and Land Grabbing
Hello? Is anybody still out there? I have to give a heartfelt apology for my absence recently, but it came with much work, much travels, and much activity that have left me scrambling to tend to my little blog. However, I am back now, and hopefully for good! The content and intensity of this blog … Continue reading Things I’ve … Written!