As we are approaching our hottest year yet and historical climate talks, meat-free diets are still a political taboo. Even the official sustainable menu of COP21 has eschewed opening this Pandora’s box. Yet, animal agriculture is one of the greatest contributors to global warming and resource overuse. How long can we keep up the pretense? An … Continue reading Please Don’t Stop the Moo-sic: Is Less Meat Still No Option?
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
The coffee supply chain is famously shaped like an hourglass (or, if you will, a drip coffee machine): the broad demand at the top is connected to the millions of small producers at the bottom by a handful of powerful roasters. In 2013, the ten largest roasters controlled more than 40% of total world coffee … Continue reading Too Strong Coffee? Concentration at the Top and Anti-Trust Concerns
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?
In light of the recent news out of Greece, I decided to revisit an old post of mine that is 2 years old almost to the month (fancy this blog existing so long) and do some more research on how Greeks have fared that choose farming as a last resort in an economic crisis with … Continue reading Revisited: Gre(x)scape Into The Countryside
The story of Kampot pepper begins 800 years ago. At least according to written records: Chinese explorer Tchéou Ta Kouan traveled Cambodia in the 13th century and famously referenced the crop that came to define a whole region. Apparently, it is likely that some of his countrymen brought the crop along when they immigrated from the Hainan province of … Continue reading Kampot Pepper: A History Spanning Civilizations