An Underground Farm WWII Air Raid Shelter Raises Thoughts About Future Food Production

This Land Is Your Land features an underground farm in London and focuses on the concerns about land & food production for the future.

The underground farm is built within the shelter of a former air raid shelter from 1944. Using artificial lighting (obviously) powered by wind turbines, the growers,Steve Dring and Richard Ballard,  produce veggies with an aquaponic system using reclaimed water. No soil required.

These guys are growing salad greens and veggies for profit and not as a community endeavor to feed people with food insecurity but their underground farm gives food for thought as to what the future of food production could look like as population rises and land shortages increase.

 

There’s a video of what the underground farm looks like here (I could not figure out for the life of me how to embed it here this morning)

I do think it’s important to think about future food production solutions but priority should be placed on fixing the current system first. When nearly half the food grown is wasted, focus needs to be on better efficiency in the system. Corporate interests & politicians not interested in humanity need to be prohibited from making legislation that blocks food from getting to zero income and low income families. The article quotes Eric Holt Gimenez from The Institute of Food and Development Policy as saying, ““Hunger is caused by poverty and inequality, not scarcity.” , a totally true statement that makes me wonder why the goal isn’t first to balance equality (which will also help control population growth ) . There’s weird emphasis in the article  on what GMO-seed developers can do on a small amount of land as an incentive to get behind the idea of GMOS (but thanks, NG, for disclosing that Syngenta pays for your advertising) and there’s ideas that don’t quite fit together …

all that to say that I love the idea of people growing food in abandoned spaces to fill the need for local food  and that I do hope the future of farming looks a lot like this.

 

 

If Walmart paid their employees fair wages, how much would they have to raise prices?

READ MORE: http://slate.me/1j6hRyo

In the series “The Secret Life of a Food Stamp,” Marketplace reporter Krissy Clark traces how big-box stores make billions from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps. What’s more, the wages of many workers at these stores are so low that the workers themselves qualify for food stamps—which the employees then often spend at those big-box stores.

This video crunches the numbers on how much Walmart, the single biggest beneficiary of the food stamp economy, might have to raise prices across the board to help a typical worker earn a living wage.

A note on methodology: Eligibility for food stamps varies according to income, number of dependents, and other factors. This estimate of Walmart’s potential cost from raising wages is based on wages for a Walmart employee with one dependent working 30 hours a week, a typical retail worker based on federal data.

3.25.14: The Republicans want MORE food stamp cuts

News,thoughts, and going-ons…

 

The Republicans have the balls to be asking for more cuts to SNAP. Yes,really.

In this 5 minute segment, Bernie Sanders lays out the picture of poverty in the U.S. right now and the insanity of the Republican party’s agenda. “It’s ugly”, he says. There isn’t a better way to put it. Inequality is widening and the immoral Right just push their class warfare deeper and deeper.

Al Sharpton  touches on the gross suggestions that poor kids work for their free lunch ,too.

These people are so disgusting. They purposefully are causing the media vilification of poor people. They actually pay trolls to create the focus on blaming the poor and distract from the true issues. 10 red states are also the poorest and have the most people who need food stamps.

I just can’t even….

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Tell it, Prof.

via one-mandrinkinggamess

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Rising inequality forever? Thomas Piketty’s sweeping account of the “central contradiction of capitalism” nyr.kr/1dp847C
I
t’s a long read but worth it. An excerpt:

Piketty believes that the rise in inequality can’t be understood independently of politics. For his new book, he chose a title evoking Marx, but he doesn’t think that capitalism is doomed, or that ever-rising inequality is inevitable. There are circumstances, he concedes, in which incomes can converge and the living standards of the masses can increase steadily—as happened in the so-called Golden Age, from 1945 to 1973. But Piketty argues that this state of affairs, which many of us regard as normal, may well have been a historical exception. The “forces of divergence can at any point regain the upper hand, as seems to be happening now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century,” he writes. And, if current trends continue, “the consequences for the long-term dynamics of the wealth distribution are potentially terrifying.”

In the nineteen-fifties, the average American chief executive was paid about twenty times as much as the typical employee of his firm. These days, at Fortune 500 companies, the pay ratio between the corner office and the shop floor is more than two hundred to one, and many C.E.O.s do even better. In 2011, Apple’s Tim Cook received three hundred and seventy-eight million dollars in salary, stock, and other benefits, which was sixty-two hundred and fifty-eight times the wage of an average Apple employee. A typical worker at Walmart earns less than twenty-five thousand dollars a year; Michael Duke, the retailer’s former chief executive, was paid more than twenty-three million dollars in 2012. The trend is evident everywhere. According to a recent report by Oxfam, the richest eighty-five people in the world—the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Carlos Slim—own more wealth than the roughly 3.5 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world’s population.

Eventually, Piketty says, we could see the reëmergence of a world familiar to nineteenth-century Europeans; he cites the novels of Austen and Balzac. In this “patrimonial society,” a small group of wealthy rentiers lives lavishly on the fruits of its inherited wealth, and the rest struggle to keep up. For the United States, in particular, this would be a cruel and ironic fate. “The egalitarian pioneer ideal has faded into oblivion,” Piketty writes, “and the New World may be on the verge of becoming the Old Europe of the twenty-first century’s globalized economy.”

What are the “forces of divergence” that produce enormous riches for some and leave the majority scrabbling to make a decent living? Piketty is clear that there are different factors behind stagnation in the middle and riches at the top. But, during periods of modest economic growth, such as the one that many advanced economies have experienced in recent decades, income tends to shift from labor to capital. Because of enmeshed economic, social, and political pressures, Piketty fears “levels of inequality never before seen.”

djlineEven NASA is concerned that the rising inequality gap

Natural and social scientists develop new model of how ‘perfect storm’ of crises could unravel global system

 

Now excuse me while I go pack my bug-out bag and go hole up in the woods.

 

Only Good Stuff: School kids get to eat for free, City Harvest food rescue, a town gave poor people money and it was awesome, and more…

The good stuff  happening in poverty and food justice….

♥ In September, West Virginia rolled out their non-income qualification free meal program in schools . Now , thanks to  what’s called the Community Eligibility Option, more cities are offering free meals to kids. The program is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that authorized $4.5 billion in new program funding. So far, Boston , Atlanta, Detroit,Washington,D.C. , Grand Rapids, and Elmira . Jacksonville, Florida also has Universally Free Breakfast Program.

♥ I love seeing updates on my Facebook and Twitter feed from City Harvest. This NYC group rescues food that would otherwise be wasted and distributes it to people who need it.
For example:
“Produce can be hard to come by for New Yorkers in need. This morning we’re distributing 19,000 pounds of produce free of charge at our Mobile Market in Washington Heights/Inwood. We’re giving out nectarines, cabbages, peaches, onions and potatoes!”
Photo: Produce can be hard to come by for New Yorkers in need. This morning we're distributing 19,000 pounds of produce free of charge at our Mobile Market in Washington Heights/Inwood. We're giving out nectarines, cabbages, peaches, onions and potatoes!

California is raising their minimum wage to $10 an hour. This isn’t as high as San Francisco’s $10.55/hour or Long Beach’s new proposed $13/hour but booya,California.
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♥ Back in the 1970s, a town in Canada did an experiment which involved giving poor people money. The data is just now being put out there…

For four years Dauphin was a place where anyone living below the poverty line could receive monthly cheques to boost their income, no questions asked. Single mothers could afford to put their kids through school and low-income families weren’t scrambling to pay the rent each month.

Initially, the Mincome program was conceived as a labour market experiment. The government wanted to know what would happen if everybody in town received a guaranteed income, and specifically, they wanted to know whether people would still work.

It turns out they did.

Only two segments of Dauphin’s labour force worked less as a result of Mincome—new mothers and teenagers. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies. And teenagers worked less because they weren’t under as much pressure to support their families.

The end result was that they spent more time at school and more teenagers graduated. Those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did.

If a guaranteed income program can target more people and is more efficient than other social assistance programs, then why doesn’t Canada have such a program in place already? Perhaps the biggest barrier is the prevalence of negative stereotypes about poor people.

“There’s very strong feelings out there that we shouldn’t give people money for nothing,”

So here’s some evidence that unconditional benefits make people happier and healthier and do not lead to laziness.

In the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 per cent. An 8.5 per cent decrease in hospital visits across Canada would save the government $4 billion annually, by her calculations. And $4 billion is the amount that the federal government is curren tly trying to save by slashing social programming and arts funding.

aljazeera:

India’s upper house is taking up a massive food security bill that aims to provide heavily subsidised food to two-thirds of the population.

It was approved by the lower house last week.

The bill intends to cover more than 800 million Indians and seeks to address the needs of some of the poorest families.

Each person qualifying for the aid will be entitled to five kilograms of rice, wheat and coarse cereals at a nominal price every month.

The programme has been estimated to bring food subsidy costs up to $19.6bn this financial year, almost $5bn dollars more than current spending.

♥ I’m a month late on celebrating this news but L.A. will now longer be fined for gardening the strip of land between their house and the street.   Hey, thanks, Ron Finley!

♥  A documentary about an educational project called Barefoot University, that offers illiterate women living in poverty an opportunity to train to become solar engineers.

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Know of any positive things happening in the area of food and poverty justice? Use the form below to send me a private email or scroll down to leave a public comment.

What Money Does To People

People with more money take candy from children.

That’s it. I don’t ever want to be rich. I don’t wanna be a meany pants.

 

Really,though…this is fascinating. When people complain that members of Congress should all have to live on minimum wage and food stamps (at the same time), there might be a grain of functionality in that sort of action.