farm to fork


There is an inherent irony to America’s food waste epidemic: As millions of households live below the poverty line, struggling to put food on the table, nearly 40% of all edible food goes uneaten.

For Dan Barber, a chef and co-owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the problem is not only how we dispose of our food, but also, the way we create it in the first place.


Food security is becoming more important every day! Watch as this family shares their clever way of being more self-sufficient…

Why are African food companies struggling to compete with foreign products?

Across the continent, rising incomes, urbanisation, the expansion of modern supermarkets, as well as changing consumer tastes and behaviour, have unlocked massive potential for processed food. But while an increasing number of local players are entering the space, the bulk of this opportunity is still taken up by foreign companies – whether it’s pasta, tomato paste or instant soup powder, much of the processed food consumed in Africa comes from outside the continent.

And many local manufacturers are struggling to compete. Last month, for example, Nigeria’s largest tomato paste manufacturer, Erisco Foods, announced plans to shut down its local factory and move production to China –importing finished products back into Nigeria. According to its management, the company was struggling to compete with foreign imports.

But why do local food producers struggle to compete?

Photo: Unati Speirs, the head of agro-processing at the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), speaking at the African Agri Investment Indaba. She said African food processors could increase their competitiveness by focusing on niche markets.

I don’t care to make a bunch of money. I don’t need a big house, a fancy car, a husband, kids, fancy dinners, or opulent trips to a timeshare on some beach. 

I need to feel the rising sun’s warmth as I kneel in frost-chilled dirt. I need the satisfaction of nurturing tiny spinach plants, later plucking their plump leaves, and then handing them to people in my community.

For me, fulfillment will never come in the form of a dollar sign.
Ambitious European Project Traces Food from Farm to Fork - RFID Journal

More than a dozen colleges and companies have joined a consortium under the guidance of the University of Wolverhampton, to pilot RFID technology as it tracks the movements of fish, wine, pork and cheese through production and on to retailers.

A European project overseen by the University of Wolverhampton and a consortium of universities, technical institutes and commercial entities is determining how radio frequency identification technology can benefit the perishable-goods supply chain. The project, known as Farm to Fork (F2F), was launched last year, with half of its funding provided by the European Commission’s ICT Policy Support Program—aimed at stimulating innovation and competitiveness—which includes a half-dozen pilots throughout Europe to track pork, fish, wine and cheese through the production process and on to stores.

The project’s objective is to determine how well RFID can be used to improve supply chain visibility, provide authentication of food’s origin, reduce the amount of waste due to spoilage or other supply chain problems (by tracking environmental conditions), and increase the efficiency of the supply chain itself. The pilots, which all employ EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) passive RFID tags (including Confidex’s Halo tag; UPM RFID’s ShortDipole, DogBone, Web and Hammer models; and Alien Technology’s Squiggle tag) and readers, are designed to determine whether the benefits gained from the RFID data will provide a return on investment for users. In August of this year, the project’s participants began deploying the RFID technology, which will remain operational until August 2012. At that time, the participants and the university will review the results, calculate the ways in which RFID technology may have improved the supply chain, and publish their findings on the Farm to Fork Web site.


On the Shelves in Oxford this week, we have two books on food – but not as we know it.

In Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: How Eighteenth-Century Science Disrupted the Natural Order, Susannah Gibson explains how observation of eggs could make a man doubt that God had created the world; how the discovery of the Venus fly-trap was linked to the French Revolution; and how interpretations of fossils could change our understanding of the Earth’s history. Using rigorous historical research, and a lively and readable style, this book vividly captures the big concerns of eighteenth-century science – and the surprisingly changeable divides between animal, vegetable, and mineral.

In From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone, Paul B. Thompson applies the rigor of philosophical analysis to key agricultural issues. He explores the eclipse of food ethics during the rise of nutritional science, and examines the reasons for its sudden re-emergence in the era of diet-based disease. His discussions of animal production and the environmental impact of agriculture break new ground where most philosophers would least expect it. By emphasizing the integration of these issues, Thompson introduces a fresh way of thinking about practical ethics, and its links to food consumption.

Both these texts deal with lesser known aspects of nutrition and science, encompassing debates over ethics, value, definition – and life itself.

Photos by Amelia Carruthers for Oxford University Press.


Tea party in my garden today including:


                Southern sweet tea:

                        - 2 family size Lipton Cold Brew tea bags

                        - ¾ cup white sugar

                        - slightly less than a quart of water

               Brew the tea in cold water for about 3 minutes, stir. add ½ cup white sugar, stir. Add the rest of the sugar, stir until dissolved. Add as much ice as you need.