Food Banks That Churches Count On Are Challenged By Rising Demand, Spoilage Issues

In order to find a solution to the dilemma of “to go or not to go,” we at The Daily Meal decided to dig deeper into the facts and figures on the safety of some of the worlds most dangerous but gastronomically alluring places. To compile our list of the 15 Most Dangerous Food Destinations, we used reports from the U.S. State Department as our main source, and advise anybody planning to visit a destination in these “culinary danger zones” to always look out for the most recent warnings and advisories before your trip. However, if high crime, risk of terror attacks, and political riots are not stopping you from craving new, thrilling, food adventures, continue browsing through our countdown of the 15 Most Dangerous Food Destinations in the slideshow. 1Syria With an ongoing civil war, violence, and threat of terror attacks and bombings, visiting Syria is highly dangerous, and should be avoided. But despite the current unrest, Syria is still famed for its culture and cuisine, and in 2007 the capital Aleppo was awarded with a cultural gastronomy prize by the International Academy of Gastronomy in Paris. The regional cuisine blends Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors, and includes many varieties of kebab Halabi, or spiced kebab, traditional mezze dishes such as hummus and baba ghanoush, and za’atar, a dried herb and spice mixture, often eaten by dipping it with bread in olive oil. According to Khaled Yacoub Oweis, writing for Reuters, the best place to enjoy za’atar is restaurant Qubrusi in Aleppo, which “is a favorite among locals.” Another restaurant well worth a visit is Beit Sissi, rated as “Aleppos finest” by Lonely Planet. Located in a restored house from the 17th century, the restaurant servers French and Syrian cuisine, including items such as sujuk, spicy pork sausage rolled in bread, and ratatouille. 2Yemen Reuters You should really not be in Yemen, even on a visit. The U.S State Department is clear with the message, as terrorist activities and civil unrest have pushed the security threat level to “extremely high.” But for daredevils, Yemen can also provide plenty of unique food experiences, distinct from the more commonly known Middle Eastern flavors. Simple stews and breads might not sound intriguing, but spices such as ginger, cardamom, and aniseed give Yemeni food a unique aromatic touch. Each region has a slightly different version of the national dish, saltah, a meat stew with chiles, tomatoes, garlic, and herbs, and usually mixed with potatoes, scrambled eggs, or even rice. Chicken, goat, and fish are other typical proteins, and dairy products, such as butter and cheese, are rarely used. The capital Sanaa is home to several restaurants, from high-end to budget eats. Freelance journalist Adam Baron, based in Sanaa, recommends Matam Taiz for the peculiar Yemeni specialty aseed a doughy dumpling of fish meal, covered in gravy.

Food aid reform is both wise and moral

Taylor & Sons

Missourians want to help starving children but are tired of wasteful government spending. Missouri should support food aid reform on both counts. Currently, all food aid must be grown in this country and shipped on US-flagged vessels. In 2001, the shipping costs for this food was $390/metric ton. Today it is $1,180/metric ton. This is an inefficient use of our tax dollars. Buying locally sourced crops in Africa reduces shipping costs and could feed an additional 4 million malnourished children. Food aid reform is a more effective approach to achieving our ultimate goal of replacing aid with self-sufficiency. By buying food locally, we empower farmers in developing countries. Often, while one African country requires food assistance, other regions in Africa have farmers who have produced surplus crops. By buying these crops, local farmers can earn an income. This proposal is supported by CARE, Save the Children and Catholic Relief Services. It is supported by the American Enterprise Institute, a respected conservative group, as well as a number of politicians from both parties. Unfortunately, powerful shipping and agribusiness interests have kept this amendment from being passed, even though it would still allow 55 percent of food aid to be purchased in the United States, giving these industries time to develop new markets. I urge all Missourians who feel that this is not only a wise policy but a moral one as well, to contact Sens.

Ketchum’s Global Food 2020 Survey Reveals Powerful New Group of Food Influencers

But the distribution of fresh food means extra attention must be paid to ensuring that the donated perishables dont spoil. Nearly 36 million tons of food were wasted nationally in 2011, said Nancy Roman, president of the Capital Area Food Bank. Roman recently helped organize a summit in Alexandria to address how local churches and organizations can reduce food spoilage. Participants included Ben Simon, founder of the Food Recovery Network at the University of Maryland; Elise H. Golan, director for sustainable development at the Department of Agriculture; Tom ODonnell, an environmental scientist for the Environmental Protection Agency; and Meghan Stasz, director of sustainability for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents such major brands as Kraft, General Mills and Nestle. Food waste is getting some attention from federal agencies, but [the summit] really connected it to people serving in the communities to begin a conversation that is needed in our region, Roman said in an interview. We are committed to fresh food and vegetables, but we have to pay attention to waste. As panelists talked about how more and more companies are allowed to give out food because of Good Samaritan donation laws, Gerri Magruder, coordinator of the food pantry at First Baptist Church of Capitol Heights , stood in frustration. I want real-life specifics. I would like to leave here with real solutions, said Magruder, who told the panel that there was a shortage of fresh produce when her volunteers recently went to the main food bank to pick up items for their weekly community giveaways. Marian Peele, senior director of partner relations and programs for the Capital Area Food Bank, said that although the system isnt perfect, the food bank has worked hard to improve the quality of what it distributes. Some people think that this entire system is antiquated and that we need to focus on the systemic problems of poverty: education and unemployment, Peele said. But having a strategy to combat hunger isnt going to help somebodys child that is hungry today. On Monday, Magruder was back at the food bank picking up items for her Tuesday and Thursday distributions. As she inspected containers of green apples and cabbage, she smiled and said, Everything is fine today. No spoilage.

Established farmers are expanding operations to meet the needs of local restaurants. New farmers have been emerging in the last year or two to supply a wide variety of items, such micro greens, specifically for local restaurants. Its being carried on by so many people and its creating a real community,” said Sarkozy, whose Sarkozy Bakery, which opened in 1978, is expected to reopen before the end of the year following a 2012 fire. All these people have gotten to know each other. Its a lot of fun and its a terrific community.” In a series of reports over three days, the Kalamazoo Gazette will examine how the local food movement has developed over the last five years, through interviews with chefs, restaurant owners, farmers and others in the local food scene. More and more restaurants and eateries — from fine dining options such as Rustica to more casual environments such as Old Dog Tavern in Kalamazoo — are purchasing products from local farms. Food Dance and Zazios were pioneers. Today, businesses such as Water Street Coffee Joint, Casa Bolero and many local breweries are sourcing locally. Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College are putting a major emphasis on local food, as is Bronson Methodist Hospital. In the last year, businesses at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market on Bank Street, where many chefs also go to buy their local ingredients, have gone from about 60 to 115 during peak Saturdays in the summer, according to market manager Chris Broadbent. Sales of local products at the People’s Food Co-op went from $110,106 in 2008 to $381,963 in 2012, according to Dilley.

Farm to table: Kalamazoo food scene goes from ‘pathetic’ to ‘terrific’

However, what is unique is that this group is not defined by its demographic profile but by its like-mindedness, and typical marketing practices aren’t effective with Food e-Vangelists. “The Food e-Vangelists are the single most important group in the food industry today, but they don’t fit typical marketing demographics,” Eatherton said. “They are hiding in plain sight yet food companies are allocating budgets on marketing programs that don’t reach them. This group will change the food industry forever, but at the moment they represent a hugely missed opportunity.” Eatherton continued, “In our research we looked at consumers whom we identified as Food Involved a psychographic profile of consumers that care deeply about food, where it comes from and the processes used in production and manufacturing. However, we uncovered a consumer segment inside this group that was somewhat different, a uniquely powerful subset with very different drivers and expectations from the Food Involved.” Food e-Vangelists listen to everyone, trust no one, and take action Food e-Vangelists are action-oriented; they take it upon themselves to learn about the issues and to influence others by sharing their findings. In fact, more than two-thirds of Food e-Vangelists say they would conduct online research to better inform their opinions if they saw a news story about a banned food item. “Food companies have an opportunity to be open and transparent and provide easily accessible information that can help Food e-Vangelists educate themselves and others about important food issues,” said Eatherton. “Ketchum has created a suite of services to help companies understand how commodities and food brands can best identify, engage and activate this consumer.” Food e-Vangelists are shaping the conversation about food and brands More than one-third of Food e-Vangelists regularly take the time to recommend and critique food brands and products and share their opinions with others both online and offline. Recommend or critique a food product 44% “While the Food Involved group is active at seeking and gathering information about food, Food e-Vangelists believe it is their right and their responsibility to influence the beliefs of others and change behaviors,” said Eatherton. “We have seen anecdotally and in qualitative research that Food e-Vangelists actually track their success in this area and feel rewarded or incentivized by the number of people they have reached.” For this influential segment of the population, fresh reigns supreme Two-thirds of Food e-Vangelists say they have increased fresh food purchases compared to the previous year. And nearly as many (59%) are also consciously purchasing less packaged and prepared foods. “There are many implications in this data set for packaged food companies, and we are working with many to mine for the insights that impact companies’ reputation and brand share,” Eatherton said. Earning the trust of a Food e-Vangelist: Health + Transparency + Cause Health, transparency and cause (making food more accessible to families in need) are among the top qualities that make Food e-Vangelists more likely to advocate for a food company or brand, purchase more from a food company or brand, or pay more for a food company’s products: Health More than half of Food e-Vangelists (54%) would like to see food companies prioritize making healthy foods more available in the future. Transparency More than half of Food e-Vangelists (54%) want ingredient information about a product (including source, processing, production techniques, farm or supplier name, etc.) on product labels. Cause Two-in-five Food e-Vangelists (40%) say that to recommend a food company to friends and family, the company would have to ensure quality food is accessible to families in need.