Food Prices: One Year After
In it, Choi challenged the chefs in the audience to reach out to the people who can’t afford their food. He cited the tyranny of junk food in the food deserts of the inner cities and pushed chefs to think about how they could challenge it. He asked them, “Do we have the guts, us, collectively, to break this cycle?” We called up Choi to get him to expand a bit more on his challenge to the food world. “The question,” Choi tells The Salt, “is how can we continue the evolution of the culinary world, avant-garde cooking, and balance that with reaching the people we’re not reaching. We’re already cooking on a high level and pushing the envelope. We can still do these things and balance it with food that’s more accessible.” For Choi, that means chefs need to find ways to bring healthier food, with the creative flavors they’ve honed in their restaurants, to the people who will never be able to afford their restaurants. The Kogi BBQ truck near the campus of UCLA in 2009. Matt Sayles/AP The Kogi BBQ truck near the campus of UCLA in 2009. Matt Sayles/AP “My dream is that in 20 years we won’t have this same society where inner cities have no options for food except fast food,” he says. “I believe we can change it because of what happened with street food,” referring to the explosive growth of the food truck movement that he helped launch. “But we have to use the same model and framework of fast food, the same economic model, the same price point, to get them there.” And Choi argues that people who’ve been raised on junk food may not initially go for the flavors of haute cuisine. One way chefs can ease this transition, he says, is by incorporating ingredients that are familiar to the communities they are serving. For example, Choi says he uses ingredients like Spam, canned green beans and mac and cheese in the meals he prepares when he takes his food truck to disadvantaged L.A. neighborhoods, but then he adds his own twist. “I pair it with something I would do in the restaurant a so I take an intense puree of leeks, chilies, spring garlic, and mix that with mac and cheese,” Choi says.
Food Bank to Help Furloughed Grand Canyon Workers
Few services are available at the Grand Canyon and in Tusayan. The companies in town stake their business on access to the Grand Canyon. Becky Shearer, who manages a lodge in Tusayan, said she kept about 10 employees on during the first week of the shutdown but will be closing the 20-room lodge. The state highway into Tusayan is now a dead-end street with everyone but park employees and residents of Grand Canyon Village being turned away. Town Council member Craig Sanderson, an air tour pilot, called on Congress to act soon to open the canyon to sightseeing. “We’re not telling the Park Service how to open it. We’re saying ‘here’s the money, do it,'” he said. “By not opening the park, that tells me it’s political.” Clarinda Vail, whose family owns businesses and property in Tusayan, called the situation a crisis. She said the community is suffering economic loss resulting from the shutdown and the Obama administration’s refusal to accept offers of private and public money to keep the park open. Vail said she hopes efforts by Arizona’s U.S. senators, legislative leaders and Gov.
In another change, widespread public outrage over excessive speculation with food prices led many banks to review their positions and made some of them publically renounce that practice. In fact, today, speculation on futures markets seems to have diminished and played little role in recent price volatility. It could, however, re-emerge depending on financial and monetary conditions, so we need to ensure that these markets are transparent and suitably regulated. Different ways to avoid excessive price volatility and to guarantee availability of food are also being discussed, with the setting up food reserves as an option. Does the current situation mean that our food price problems are over? No. International prices are still higher than their historical trend — higher than the peak in 2008, for example. On the other hand, regardless of price levels, excessive price volatility presents additional challenges, especially for small-scale farmers in developing countries with restricted access to financial mechanisms to contain the impacts of low or negative returns. The G20 Leaders’ Declaration at the St Petersburg Summit was right to recognize that the agricultural market situation still needs close attention. It is important to recall that the rise in food prices that started in 2006 came after three decades of falling prices that brought the agricultural sector in many poor and developing countries to its knees. High prices offers an opportunity to rebuild the livelihoods of small-scale producers, however, this is not happening yet. And, if high food prices are the new normal, then governments need to adapt to this situation by increasing resilience of the poorer populations and by strengthening social protection programs, including cash transfers. Discussions of all these issues are usually prompted by new episodes of soaring food prices and take place against a background of turmoil in international markets. In such circumstances there can be little time for strategic thinking.