Surging Food Prices: Thinking Outside the Box

Since the emergence of this blog, a quantity of our time has been invested into covering the spiking food prices around the world, and though our views are predominately slanted to ascertain the impact of inflation on the restaurant industry/business, we have not been able to disregard the account of its toll on global welfare.

This week, The Economist is conducting an Oxford-style debate concerning the proposition:

“There is an upside for humanity in the rise of food prices.”

A rather sanguine statement for bleak matters, the issue has opened the floor to pontification from both sides of the coin.  But fairly, as debate moderator, John Parker has conceded, “there is always some sort of upside. The question for the audience is how big, and whether it is big enough to be meaningful.”

There have been upsides. 

Alternative practices in farming have received greater attention and consideration in drastic times.  Innovators like Brooklyn College professor, Martin Schreibman, and his “urban fish farm” – farm raised tilapia for the purpose of a sustainable food source – have finally received popular recognition.

Domestically, food costs have forced consumers to contemplate their own diets and nutrition.  Some economically conscious caregivers have opted to feed from their own gardens or co-op gardens.

And although American agriculture has witnessed a boom from the demand of biofuels, there are efforts to produce more food for the world.  Between the money spent on technology and production, there has been an undeniable stimuli inoculated into an industry that has subsisted despite its faltering history.

But these strides to change the current may not be large enough in scope or “big enough to be meaningful”, as Parker says.  In fact they  may only serve a microclimate.  Malnutrition and hunger still run rampant.  The purchasing power of the poor continues to decrease and as our global population increases the demand for food becomes astronomical.

The debate on these matters will continue through Aug. 6 with closing statements.  Take the time hear the sides and to voice your concern.

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