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Drought and Food Prices Climb in Tandem
The US Drought Monitor showed that 20.57% of the contiguous United States suffered from extreme or exceptional drought conditions the week ending July 24. That is significantly higher than the 13.57% the week before. (See map to right) A Drought Monitor scientist told Agence France Presse that the nine US states that produce most of the nation's corn and soy have seen a tripling of extreme drought conditions, from from 11.9% to 28.9%.
The US Dept. of Agriculture also this week predicted that because of the drought situation food prices will increase 2.5% to 3.5% in 2012 and 3% to 4% in 2013. If other prices, such as energy, can be contained overall inflation should not be severe, observers said, but the increased food prices will be felt most severely by the poor. Meat and dairy products are expected to rises the fastest, between 3% and 4.5%. Fresh vegetables and cereal goods could increase 3% to 4%, but vegetables and fruits as a whole may rise only 2% to 3%.
Finally, the International Grain Council revised its world grain harvest estimate down to 1,810 tons this month. It also cut its US corn harvest forecast to by 50 million tons to 300 million tons and its US soy forecast by 8.3 million tons to 79 million.
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NRDC finds that 40% food waste contributes to broader problems
The National Research Defense Council found that the problem equates to $165 billion worth of waste a year and constitutes 25% of our freshwater usage. NRDC calculates the waste at 20 pounds of food per person per month.
Anthropologist measured US food waste at 40% to 50%
After studying food patterns for 10 years, University of Arizona anthropologist Timothy Jones in 2004 found that between 40% and 50% of the food harvested for consumption goes to waste.
A public nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources.