In Rome, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization has convened a summit to deal with the world’s growing food crisis, which threatens — through high prices and flagging production — to push another 100 million people into the category of hungry; 800 million are already there. The Summit, whose attendees include some heads of state and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, concludes on Thursday. Look out for the final declaration and action plan. In the meantime, get an update on what’s been happening from the BBC. The BBC has some excellent reporting on food issues this week. Two stories caught my eye. The first is on corn and tortilla prices in Mexico. Read it here. According to the report one reason why Mexico can’t increase agricultural production substantially is because so many rural Mexicans, once farmers, have made their way north to work in U.S. cities.
The second BBC story comes from the southern African nation of Lesotho, where over-use of soil and clearing of trees and other vegetation has left much farmland teetering at the edge of infertility or already there. The BBC story focuses on a family that’s found a home-grown remedy: “key hole gardens.” The gardens are producing enough vegetables to feed large extended families, with some left over for local markets. A mini (deep) green revolution. From China comes an example of another kind of revolution, which some call “pink.” Today, according to a recent issue of National Geographic on China, the country has precisely one McDonald’s drive-through. By the end of this year however, there will be — wait for it — 115. “Food is life,” Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Efraim Lehatahe, told the BBC, commenting on his country’s predicament and the Rome food summit’s agenda. “If we can’t afford that, we’re finished.”