Eating Bugs to end World Hunger.  From Slate:  "That global food crisis you've been reading about? No problem. An Asian expert reports that in Thailand, each family can raise crickets independently on a tiny parcel of land. In a pair of villages, 400 families are cranking out 10 metric tons of crickets during the peak season."   (Thanks to Emily Sze for the pointer.)

posted June 8, 2008 8:10 a.m.


Child Labor in Egyptian Cotton Fields.   The Guardian presents this photo essay.  "more than 1 million children aged between 7 and 12 are employed in its production each year."

posted June 8, 2008 7:10 a.m.


Can Science Save the Banana?   From Scientific American Website.  "[G]enetic engineering is really important. The banana is a very slow-to-grow fruit. I mean, in order to develop a new fruit, there have to be a lot of cycles, first in the lab and then in the field. So genetic engineering is really important because you [have] got to jump-start those needed qualities. If you don't use genetic engineering, you have to have many generations of hybridization, conventional hybridization, so we need advanced techniques to jump-start that and get test bananas out in the field to look for resistance to the Panama disease."

posted June 8, 2008, 7:10 a.m.

World Food Prices on the Front Lines.  The Washington Post publishes a series of short vignettes about how the food price run-up of the last couple years is affecting lives of people around the world.  Click on "READ+" at the bottom to find these links.

South Africa:  "A bag of spinach that was 25 cents last year is now 50 cents. Bananas once sold for 7 cents but now are 13 cents and soon will be 16 cents. A bunch of grapes has gone from 50 cents to 65 cents."

Uganda:    "Kasirye, who is married and has two children, said her weekly shopping bill has jumped about 20 percent.  There are no shortages at the large grocery store in Kampala where Kasirye buys food for her family. But the price of rice, sugar, milk and other staples has increased drastically."

Peru:  "The price of rice more than doubled in the first quarter of this year and is just now coming down -- about 20 percent in the last month. As they did with wheat earlier this year, Peruvian authorities have called on residents to switch from rice to potatoes.   Lopez does not believe that people will make the switch.   "People are accustomed to eating rice," she said. "They aren't going to switch, even though it is more expensive. They are buying less but still buying." "

India:  "I have a food ration card, but the ration shops are always understocked.  ...  Things are more expensive this year. We will vote out the government this year. If they cannot take care of the poor, why should we vote for them?"

posted June 8, 2008, at 6:45 a.m.