Tag Archives: Oxfam

How Not To Help Foodbanks, Update

The other night I was invited over to dinner by my parents, who – as they often do – treated this as their “dine out” night (they’re both retired and can afford to treat themselves to a meal out each week) and ordered a vegetarian curryfest from their favourite Indian takeaway.

Give a man a fishAs they often do, they ordered lavishly – and the leftovers were packed up to go home with me. I was walking down the hill to the bus stop, with the fragrant bag in my hand, when I noticed a man sitting against the wall with a blanket wrapped round him, having a smoke. Now, I like curry, but generally don’t eat it two nights running: and the food in the bag had never been taken out of the takeaway cartons. It was safe enough to share. So I asked the man if he’d like a curry, and when he said yes, handed him the bag, and went on my way. It wasn’t exactly generous of me (though I hope he enjoyed it) and was classically helpful/unhelpful: a good meal for a night for one homeless person, isn’t resolving the problem of people going to bed hungry.

On 10th December last year, I wrote a post entitled How Not To Help Foodbanks, in which I discussed why the need for foodbanks was rising and quoted Jason Kuznicki:

Do you want to give food? Add up its retail price. Take that money out of your wallet. Flush 90% of it down the toilet. Send the food bank the rest. You’re still helping more than if you gave the food.
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Filed under About Food, Charities, Poverty

World Food Day

925 million people are hungry.

Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes.

That’s one child every five seconds.

There were 1.4 billion people in extreme poverty in 2005.

The World Bank estimates that the spike in global food prices in 2008, followed by the global economic recession in 2009 and 2010 has pushed between 100-150 million people into poverty.

World Food Day - Michelle HenryThis year has been one of the wettest on record. In Edinburgh, we had the wettest April, May, June, and July since records began at the Royal Botanic Gardens in the 19th century. Across the UK:

Potato harvests are down by half in some areas. The NFU’s Scottish cereal survey indicated wheat yield was down by 18% from 2011, winter barley yield down 7%, spring barley yield down 18% and winter oilseed rape yield down 26%.

I’ve discussed this before (Scotland’s Food Programme) and also, for World Porridge Day, how stock brokers gambling on food prices rising is itself creating a bubble of high food prices to profit investors and make people hungry.
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Filed under About Food, Economics, FairTrade, Poverty, Sustainable Politics

Maldives are rubbish

The Maldives: beautiful, unspoiled islands surrounded by clear blue water, perfect for diving holidays.

They are 2000 coral islands in the Indian Ocean, only 200 of which are inhabited, 87 of which are tourist resorts. 394,451 people live on 113 islands: 28% of GDP, more than 60% of foreign exchange receipts, and 90% of the government’s revenue comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes. It’s a tiny country which, in effect, sells beauty and a dream tropical island paradise to people who are rich enough to pay for it.

The visitor may take the opportunity to stroll through the lanes of the village, observing children playing contentedly beside the wooden huts and village women weaving and creating traditional handicrafts utilizing natural materials such as palm leaves, coconuts and reeds. Visitors can also visit schools and mosques in the idyllic villages. Tourist advert

Iru Fushi hopes to compete with the best that the Maldives has to offer
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Filed under Biosphere, Poverty, Sustainable Politics, Travel

The Compassion of the Tories

Peter Luff, Conservative MP for Mid Worcestershire, asks on Twitter:why do people “refuse to understand” that the Conservative party stands for “compassion and social reform”.

Peter Luff won his seat in the 1992 General Election. He is a founder member of the Parliamentary Hunting with Hounds Middle Way Group which is said to be a front for the hunting lobby. In January this year Peter Luff was invited to “a day’s shooting” in Gloucestershire (approximate value £1,500) by Leo Quinn, CEO of Qinetiq, paid for by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). I’m sure that had nothing to do with the plan to kill buzzards to protect pheasant shooting.

Peter Luff is one of the MPs whose second home flips. He has a house in Worcestershire, and a flat in London.

From the Telegraph’s report on his expenses:

In the months before he switched the designation of his second home from Worcester to the capital, he paid for more than £5,000 of decorating and repairs, including the £53.71 cost of having his Aga cooker fixed.
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Filed under About Food, Housing, Poverty

Edinburgh Farmers Market

Edinburgh Farmer's Market - Saturday 9th June
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Filed under About Food, Charities, of Edinburgh, Photographs