The Link: Food for Thought

Food plays an important role in peoples’ everyday lives. Many people throughout the world worry about when and where their next meal will come from while other people are overwhelmed by choices and worry about the nutritional content of what they are eating.  Others are hard at work creating a path for genetically engineered foods to help solve these dilemmas despite the possible implications of these genetically engineered foods. The one thing that people can agree on, no matter which continent they live on or what food concerns they have, is that the ability to provide food for personal consumption and profit is something to celebrate and be thankful for.

New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources are already listed in the ipl2 collection.

Food Shortages
Hunger affects individuals in both developing and wealthy nations.  Nature, war, a poverty trap, and agricultural infrastructure are the causes of hunger listed by the U.N. World Food Programme.  Below are resources that address solving the problem of hunger, ranging from local programs to international policy initiatives.

Feeding America (find it on ipl2: IPL — Social Sciences — Social Issues and Social Welfare)
Feeding America is the leading hunger-relief charity in the country, supporting a network of food and hunger related agencies across local communities. This resource provides links and information for becoming involved in the fight against domestic hunger.

United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) (find it on ipl2: IPL Special — War
and Peace: Resources on Iraq — The United Nations
This resource provides information from the UN organization that distributes food aid throughout the world. The Food Programme includes information about the organization and its donors (government, business, and individual), a world hunger map, updates about areas needing food aid (such as the 2005 famine in Niger and other countries in western Africa), news, photographs and videos, publications, and more.  Some of the materials offered are available in several languages.

NEW! International Food Policy Research (IFPRI)
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) focuses on food policies throughout the world in order to create “sustainable solutions for ending hunger and poverty. IFPRI is one of 15 centers supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), an alliance of 64 governments, private foundations, and international and regional organizations.” The site includes various publications such as reports by country and data sets, and resources from the IFPRI Library and Knowledge Management Unit.

Genetically Modified Food
Genetically Modified (GM) food refers to foods in which DNA has been genetically engineered in a laboratory to achieve results that do not occur naturally. Until recently, GM foods have typically been plant products. Many of the foods consumed in the U.S. and throughout the world have been genetically modified, at least in part. Critics of GM foods argue that GM foods are harmful to the environment and to human health. Others argue in favor of GM foods because of their potential to combat world hunger and reduce pesticide use.

Agricultural Biotechnologies (find it on ipl2: IPL — Science and Technology — Agriculture and Aquaculture)
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations maintains this resource about biotechnology in food and agriculture. Features of the resource include an up-to-date news feed; overviews of biotechnology in various fields; a repository of articles, research studies, and conference proceedings; a glossary; and links to UN Countries’ policies on biotechnology.

NEW! 20 Questions on genetically modified food
The World Health Organization answers the top twenty questions about genetically modified (GM) foods. This resource provides information about what GM foods are, why they are produced, how they are regulated, and potential effects on humans and the environment. This resource offers an excellent introduction to GM foods, as well as links to more in-depth related resources.

FDA faces opposition over genetically engineered salmon (find it on ipl2: Newspapers — North America — United States — California — Los Angeles)
This July 31, 2011, article from the Los Angeles Times is a current example of the genetically modified food debate. Eight senators are urging the FDA not to approve genetically engineered salmon for human consumption; the senators are threatening to pull funding if the FDA does not comply. The article discusses both sides of the debate.

Providing Students with Nutritious Meals
A positive image of healthy foods and smart food choices is important to promote early in life.  Children who learn to enjoy healthy foods at a young age are more likely to choose the healthy option when given a choice. These resources below help promote healthy meals in schools in honor of National School Lunch Week observed October 10 through October 14, 2011.

National School Lunch Program (find it on ipl2)
The National School Lunch Program is “a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day.” This resource includes a fact sheet, program history, material about eligibility and school food safety, reports, news, and related material provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service.

NEW! School Nutrition Association
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to healthy, low-cost school meals.  Find information on how your school can become SNA-certified and read publications by the School Nutrition Association.

NEW! Farm to School
Farm to School helps schools and local farms work together to provide healthy foods to be served in school cafeterias while also supporting the local farms.  Local contacts are provided for each state.  Webinars and other resources are available for users looking for additional information on the program.

Harvest Traditions
Harvest time is one of the busiest times of the year for farmers. Crops must be gathered and stored safely before weather can ruin them. People have traditionally come together – out of a feeling of community or because they were being paid – to help bring in the crops. And in many cases, the harvest was followed by a celebration. In America, harvest time is celebrated every year as the holiday, Thanksgiving.

Diplomacy in New England: The first Thanksgiving? (find it on ipl2)
This resource offers information about the first harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims of the Mayflower and the local American Indian tribes who helped save them. The site also offers background about those tribes and their ultimate fate.

NEW! Online Exhibits – Harvest Tales, Home
This resource has links to harvest tales from almost every county in Kansas. People remember everything from encountering rattlesnakes among the wheat to the anxiety of wondering if a harvest would be financially successful enough to carry the farm through the winter. There are also links to photographs.

NEW! Irish Culture and Customs
Ireland’s fascinating harvest is described in this resource. Ireland’s harvest customs are a good example of the types of traditions that were common when harvesting was done by hand and entire communities took part in harvest time and the celebration that followed.

Thanks for your continued support of ipl2. We hope these resources help you better understand the importance of food in everyday life.

Reminder: You can now subscribe to ipl2’s newsletter and weekly blog posts via email as well as RSS.  The “Email Subscription” feature appears prominently in the upper left-hand side of the page on the ipl2’s News and Information WordPress blog.  Subscription is free and open to all!