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India Introduces New Food Aid Program to Feed More

India Introduces New Food Aid Program to Feed More

To feed the country’s 1.2 billion people, India’s government launches a new food aid program

Despite its status as one of the world's largest producers of food, India is also one of the most malnourished countries in the world, ranking 65 out of 79 countries on the 2012 Global Hunger Index — a system that measures and tracks hunger by region and country. In order to feed more people and improve the nation’s hunger status, India’s government introduced a food aid program, according to CNN.

The new program, costing $22 billion per year, will sell subsidized wheat and rice to 67 percent of 1.2 billion people in India as an expansion on an existing program that supplies food to 218 million people.

With the new program, 75 percent of people who live in rural areas and 50 percent of those who live in urban areas will receive five kilograms of grain per month at the subsidized prices of 3 rupees ($0.05) for rice, 2 rupees per kilogram for wheat, and 1 rupee per kilogram of course grains. These portions and prices will be fixed for three years. The current program, Antyodaya Ann Yojana, will continue to supply 35 kilograms of grain per month to the poorest households. The new program will also ensure that pregnant women and lactating mothers are given a maternity payment of 6,000 rupees ($99) and that children aged six to 14 years of age receive take-home rations or be provided with hot, cooked meals.


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Contents

According to the United Nations World Food Programme, 66 million primary school age children go hungry every day, with 23 million hungry children in Africa alone. [3] Furthermore, 80% of these 66 million children are concentrated within just 20 countries. Additionally, 75 million school-age children (55% of them girls) do not attend school, with 47% of them living in sub-Saharan Africa. [4] Thus, the need to reduce hunger while increasing school enrollment in these children is evident, and school feeding programs have been developed to target this multifaceted problem.

Schools have become a natural and convenient setting for the implementation of health and education interventions. School feeding is just one facet of school health initiatives, as other programs may include de-worming, HIV/AIDS prevention and education, and life and health skills education. Overall, school feeding programs have been shown to directly increase the educational and nutritional status of recipient children, and indirectly impact the economic and social lives of themselves and their family. [ citation needed ] Additionally, school feeding directly addresses the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing hunger by one-half, achieving universal primary education, and achieving gender parity in education by 2015. [5]

There are two main ways to distribute food through school feeding programs: on-site meals and take-home rations. [3] On-site meals are foods that are distributed to children while at school during morning and afternoon meal and snack times, which may include a bowl of porridge or nutrient-fortified crackers. Take-home rations are a collection of basic food items, such as a bag of rice and a bottle of cooking oil, which may be sent home and transferred to the families of children who regularly attend school. [3]

While the food items needed for school feeding programs may be imported into the country from anywhere throughout the world, an increasing number of countries and organizations are looking to expand what is called "home-grown school feeding," which requires that provided food is produced and purchased within a country to the greatest extent possible. These programs provide an opportunity for children to receive improved nutrition and educational opportunities while also allowing smallholder farmers to benefit from access to a market with stable, structured, and predictable demand. [6] [7] The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) guided governments in Sub-Saharan Africa to include home-grown school feeding as a critical intervention for the food security facet of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). Several countries, including Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Mali and Nigeria are currently taking part in home-grown school feeding programs. [8]

Country involvement in school feeding programs Edit

According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, there are five stages of school feeding. The first stage includes school feeding programs that rely mostly on external funding and implementation, while the last stage includes school feeding programs that rely mostly on internal government funding and implementation. [9] Countries that are within the first stage include Afghanistan and Sudan, where country governments are unable to lead school feeding programs. Countries that are within the fifth stage include Chile and India, which have functional, country-led school feeding programs. For example, the Government of Chile has provided a school feeding program for over 40 years through the La Junta Nacional de Auxilio Escolar y Becas (National Board of School Assistance and Scholarships) through a public-private partnership. [10] This program involves technology that allows food to be centrally mass-produced and then distributed across the country. Additionally, the Government of India has supported school feeding programs since 2001, when the country recognized Indians' Constitutional Right to Food. [10] Countries that are in the middle of the stages, such as Kenya and Ecuador may have some but not all of the governmental policies, financial capacities, or institutional capacities to operate school feeding programs without external funding or implementation.

Involvement of the World Food Programme Edit

In terms of external funding and implementation, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the world's leading provider of school feeding program financial contributions and program development. WFP currently provides school feeding resources to an average of 22 million children in school, about half of whom are girls, across 70 countries. The total financial contribution for these programs is almost USD$500 million per year. [3] Many governments work alongside WFP in school-feeding programs, though in countries where the government is non-functional or corrupt, WFP may work on its own or with other non-governmental organizations. The World Food Programme has estimated that US$3.2 billion is needed each year to feed the 66 million school-age children around the globe, an amount of US$50 per child. [3]

WFP has been working with governments around the world for over 45 years, but is shifting from a food aid organization to food assistance organization, working to move away from "individual, isolated projects to more strategic and comprehensive approaches". [11] To foster government ownership of school meals, WFP has implemented eight quality standards that guide the design and implementation of sustainable school meal programs:

  • A strategy for sustainability,
  • A national policy framework
  • Stable funding and budgeting
  • Needs-based, cost-effective quality programme design
  • Strong institutional arrangements for implementation, monitoring, and accountability
  • Strategy for local production and sourcing
  • Strong partnerships
  • Inter-sector coordination, and community participation and ownership. [11]

Nutrition and food security Edit

School meals have been shown to increase the nutritional status of school-age children in a variety of ways. For example, there is a notable reduction in malnutrition via diet diversification and an increased absorption of micronutrients. Overall, the amount of kilocalories in a child's diet is expanded when they are given nutritional resources that they would otherwise have little to no access to. By increasing the amount of nutrition a child receives at school, that child's family's nutrition status also increases as their familial demand and requirement for food is decreased. [12] Targeted take-home rations therefore increase the nutrition of the family as a whole, and not just the members of a given family that are of primary-school age. However, criticisms of school meals' impacts on nutrition stem from the idea that increased nutrition through school meals is only a temporary fix and does not target the underlying causes of malnutrition, such as high food prices and poor food distribution systems that prevent food security. [13]

Education Edit

Education is a key component in school feeding programs and global development because overall, a more educated person has an increased amount of opportunities in life, earns more money, and has a higher standard of living than an uneducated individual. [14] School meals greatly impact recipient children's education status by increasing school enrollment and attendance, decreasing drop-out rates, and improving cognitive abilities and learning achievements. [8] Generally, sending children to a school in which school-meals are served offsets the financial and opportunity costs of schooling, and thus families are incentivized to send their children to school. [12] Additionally, school feeding programs may serve as an incentive for students to go to school to receive food rather than missing out on food by staying home. [15] The increased nutrition status of children, as a result of school feeding programs, also enhances students' cognitive abilities and performance in school.

Gender equity Edit

School feeding programs have the capacity to increase gender equity in access to education, which allows for gender equity across all spheres of social and economic life. There are a variety of reasons that girls' education is impacted by factors on both the supply and demand side of schooling. These include gender-stereotyped curriculum and teaching practices, increased risks for girls' safety outside of the house, socio-cultural practices that cause girls' education to hold a very low value, and school infrastructure that is not suitable for girls. [15] Due to the combination of such barriers, girls are disproportionately affected by the direct and opportunity cost of schooling, which prevents girls from very poor households from attending school. [15] Opportunity costs for girls' education include lost time that would otherwise be spent doing household chores and care work. School feeding programs reduce the costs of sending girls to school and allow for an increased number of girls to be sent to school by their families. Furthermore, improvements in female literacy that come from increased education have been linked to declining rates of fertility, increased economic opportunities, and other markers of female empowerment.

While school feeding programs have a variety of positive impacts, there are some possible negative impacts these programs can cause. For example, school feeding programs can increase the cost of schooling by requiring that communities provide fire-wood for cooking as well as other items such as fresh-fruit, vegetables, and condiments. Additionally, communities are also expected to provide people who can cook these meals and maintain stores of all of the required food products, as well as kitchens and other fundamentals of meal provision. [8] By causing a variety of needs and requirements to increase in a given community, the net benefit to a community from school feeding programs may be reduced.

School feeding programs are very context-specific, and each community's program must be altered based on the demographics, geography, and other patterns within and outside of schools. For this reason, there are a variety of challenges that emerge in the creation and implementation of school feeding programs. A successful program requires that countries:

  • Determine if school feeding is the most effective program to target needy children
  • Define program goals and outcomes
  • Select the type of food to serve
  • Determine a food procurement method
  • Plan for management, implementation, and monitoring within schools—and a variety of other concerns [1]

Because school feeding programs are community-specific and require a great deal of planning, the sustainability of school feeding programs is a main point of concern for many countries. Countries are very limited on the demands placed on the staff, resources, and infrastructure required for school-feeding programs, and often have to rely on outside financial and personnel help to continue programs for a significant amount of time.

Though school feeding produces a variety of anticipated impacts, as mentioned above, much research and evaluation is being done to determine the results of school feeding programs in low-income countries. School feeding program results are often context-specific, but lessons from a variety of communities can help evaluate school feeding program effectiveness. Researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute have critically assessed evidence from developing countries to define preliminary results of these programs. [16] These assessments found that the timing of meals is not a critical factor in the positive effects on learning and cognition, and thus take-home rations can perform as well as in-school meals, and that in-school meals may even disrupt learning. [17] In some settings, take-home rations are more cost-effective than in-school meals, and the study argued that some country programs may be optimized by focusing resources on take-home rations. Additionally, it was found that in the study setting, school attendance improved learning more significantly than nutrition status improvements, but that school feeding programs encouraged attendance and still have a positive net result on education levels. In a study done by Patrick J. McEwan, it was shown that there is no evidence that higher-calorie meals positively impact school enrollment and attendance, first-grade enrollment age and grade repetition, and fourth-grade test scores over average-calorie school feeding meals in Chile's national program. [18] Thus, McEwan's study suggested that Chilean policy, to produce significant positive results, should focus more on the nutritional composition of school meals, rather than caloric content alone.


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36. Heston's Journey to the Centre of Food

United Kingdom About Podcast Take a trip with the world's most creative chef, as he takes a forensic deep dive inside our food. Exploring the amazing hidden secrets and wonderful depths locked within our simplest ingredients. Frequency 1 episode / week , Average Episode Length 51 min Since Oct 2018 Podcast audioboom.com/channels/4977433
Twitter followers 89 ⋅ Domain Authority 89 ⋅ Alexa Rank 33.2K View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

37. Copper & Heat

California, USA About Podcast James Beard Award-winning podcast exploring the unspoken rules and traditions of restaurant kitchens through the stories of people that work in them. The restaurant industry is at a point where a lot of groundwork has been laid for change. But in order for change to happen, more conversations about gender, race, and privilege in the kitchen need to take place. Frequency 3 episodes / month , Average Episode Length 25 min Podcast copperandheat.com/episodes
Twitter followers 424 ⋅ Instagram Followers 982 ⋅ Domain Authority 30 ⋅ View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

38. The Splendid Table Episodes

About Podcast American Public Media's The Splendid Table is public radio's culinary, culture, and lifestyle program that celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone. Each week, award-winning host Francis Lam leads listeners on a journey of the senses and hosts discussions with a variety of writers and personalities who share their passion for the culinary delights. Frequency 1 episode / week , Average Episode Length 51 min Since Jan 1999 Podcast splendidtable.org/episodes
Facebook fans 125.9K ⋅ Twitter followers 31.5K ⋅ Domain Authority 65 ⋅ Alexa Rank 213.9K View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

39. Good Food

California, United States About Podcast Evan Kleiman's taste of life, culture, and the human species. Everything you wanted to know about good cooking, good eating, good food! From LA Chef, author, radio host, and restaurateur Evan Kleiman. Frequency 1 episode / week , Average Episode Length 57 min Podcast kcrw.com/culture/shows/good-..
Facebook fans 10.1K ⋅ Instagram Followers 26.8K ⋅ Domain Authority 80 ⋅ Alexa Rank 41K View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

40. On The Pass

Los Angeles, California, United States About Podcast A podcast by The Art of Plating: On The Pass serves up inspiring conversations with dynamic figures in the food, beverage and hospitality space. Hosted by Gabriel Ornelas. Frequency 1 episode / week , Average Episode Length 51 min Since Mar 2020 Podcast onthepass.libsyn.com
Twitter followers 3.9K ⋅ Domain Authority 3 ⋅ Alexa Rank 4.9K View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

41. The Delicious Legacy

London, England, United Kingdom About Podcast How did it all begin? Why am I so hooked on ancient recipes and ingredients? Is the food delicious? Wholesome? Do you need to know? I think so! Recipes, ingredients, ways of cooking. Timeless and continuous yet unique and so alien to us nowadays. What did they eat? We will travel and imagine how it was to eat like a Greek Philosopher in a symposium in Athens, as a Roman Emperor, or as a rich merchant in the last night in Pompeii. Lavish dinners, exotic ingredients, barbaric elements, all intertwined. Stay tuned and find out more here, in 'The Delicious Legacy' Podcast! Frequency 1 episode / month , Average Episode Length 39 min Since Jan 2020 Podcast shows.acast.com/the-deliciou..
Twitter followers 666 ⋅ Social Engagement 41 ⋅ Domain Authority 75 ⋅ Alexa Rank 17.4K View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

42. It's All About Food

About Podcast Caryn Hartglass discusses how to live a healthier lifestyle based on eating a diet of plant-based foods! Frequency 3 episodes / month , Average Episode Length 59 min Since Sep 2020 Podcast itsallaboutfood.podbean.com
Domain Authority 89 ⋅ View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

43. Dishing with Stephanie's Dish

Minnesota, United States About Podcast A podcast with Stephanie Hansen, content creator of Stephanie's Dish. Each episode we will talk with interesting makers and creators in the Twin Cities food scene and beyond. Frequency 2 episodes / quarter , Average Episode Length 19 min Podcast stephaniesdish.com/podcasts
Facebook fans 2.6K ⋅ Twitter followers 12.3K ⋅ Domain Authority 22 ⋅ View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

44. MCHEF® BURST OF FLAVORS

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States About Podcast This podcast inspires for a healthier and happier gourmet foodie-fit healthy nutrition and balanced lifestyle that bursts every day with a little magic spice. Chef Marie and Lee Cummings, Foodie-Fit at Heart talk about culinary trends, food from all around the world, Gastronomy is a Lifestyle. Frequency 1 episode / quarter , Average Episode Length 40 min Since Jun 2019 Podcast anchor.fm/mchef-burst-of-fla..
Twitter followers 843 ⋅ Social Engagement 4 ⋅ Domain Authority 81 ⋅ View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

45. Thought About Food Podcast

About Podcast Thought About Food is a podcast on food and food studies. Each episode, we look at important issues around food, and we talk to academics, activists, or policymakers who work on these issues. Frequency 2 episodes / month , Average Episode Length 62 min Since Sep 2020 Podcast thoughtaboutfood.podbean.com
Twitter followers 26 ⋅ Social Engagement 4 ⋅ Domain Authority 89 ⋅ View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

46. The Gastronomy Club

About Podcast The Gastronomy Club is a podcast that dives deep into the world of local restaurateurs, chefs, cooks, and sommeliers. We look at how food, dining, and life, in general, have informed their craft while also spotlighting the great dining scene Toronto has to offer and the people who make it what it is. Frequency 2 episodes / month , Average Episode Length 36 min Since Jun 2020 Podcast anchor.fm/the-gastronomy-club
Domain Authority 81 ⋅ Alexa Rank 2.7K View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

47. Gastronomica | Podcast

About Podcast Gastronomica, the leading Journal for Food Studies. It represents the space where the breadth of academic scholarship on food cultures meets a public that is increasingly interested in questions of food, gastronomy, and the culinary arts. Frequency 1 episode / week Since Mar 2020 Podcast gastronomica.org/category/we..
Twitter followers 8.9K ⋅ Social Engagement 24 ⋅ Domain Authority 55 ⋅ Alexa Rank 2.5M View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

48. The Kitchen Is On Fire

About Podcast Food writer James Ramsden and musician Sam Herlihy dish up a weekly offering of food-related nonsense, exploring the complex and often confusing world of modern gastronomy. One minute they might be discussing the qualities of rice vinegar, the next asking whether or not Cher actually enjoys sharing plates. With special guests and even more special games, The Kitchen Is On Fire is essential listening for anyone with ears. Frequency 27 episodes / year , Average Episode Length 55 min Since Dec 2018 Podcast thekitchenisonfire.libsyn.com
Twitter followers 1.6K ⋅ Domain Authority 26 ⋅ View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

49. My Food Job Rocks!

Sacramento, CA About Podcast We interview people in the food industry about what they do and why they do it. A site that promotes and advocates good people in the food industry. Frequency 27 episodes / year , Average Episode Length 12 min Podcast myfoodjobrocks.com
Facebook fans 807 ⋅ Twitter followers 325 ⋅ Instagram Followers 519 ⋅ Domain Authority 26 ⋅ Alexa Rank 1.6M View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

50. Bon Apptit Foodcast

About Podcast The Bon Apptit Foodcast covers it all: the restaurant scene across the country, a peek inside the minds of the world's best chefs, the cooking techniques you should be trying out at home, and a behind-the-scenes look at how our writers and editors do what they do. The podcast is our moment to relax and chat. and get really opinionated about mac & cheese. And chicken wings. And butter. Episodes air every Wednesday. Frequency 5 episodes / year , Average Episode Length 44 min Since Nov 2014 Podcast cms.megaphone.fm/channel/BNA..
Twitter followers 3.3M ⋅ Domain Authority 69 ⋅ Alexa Rank 30.5K View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

51. The Kitchen Sisters

About Podcast The Kitchen Sisters Presents balances documentary and food very well. Their episodes look at food cultures that might not come up that often, and that's why they're important. The Kitchen Sisters have a knack for giving voice to the muted and unknown. Their documentary approach humanizes food history, making it accessible. Frequency 11 episodes / year Podcast kitchensisters.org/present
Facebook fans 9.6K ⋅ Twitter followers 16.5K ⋅ Instagram Followers 4.2K ⋅ Social Engagement 11 ⋅ Domain Authority 53 ⋅ Alexa Rank 4.9M View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

52. Bite

San Francisco, California, United States About Podcast A podcast exploring the politics and science of what you eat and why. Join acclaimed food and farming blogger Tom Philpott, Mother Jones editors Kiera Butler and Maddie Oatman, and a tantalizing guest list of writers, farmers, scientists, and chefs as they uncover the surprising stories behind what ends up on your plate. They'll help you digest the food news and deliver plenty of tasty tidbits along the way. Frequency 8 episodes / year Since Mar 2016 Podcast motherjones.com/topics/bite
Facebook fans 1.5M ⋅ Twitter followers 808.6K ⋅ Domain Authority 88 ⋅ Alexa Rank 24.4K View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

53. Desert Island Dishes Podcast

London, England, United Kingdom About Podcast Welcome to Desert Island Dishes, the weekly podcast where chef Margie Nomura talks to a special guest about the dishes that have shaped their lives. Here you will find conversations with a whole range of different people discussing their 7 Desert Island Dishes where Margie will uncover the food people love to eat. Frequency 5 episodes / year , Average Episode Length 5 min Since Jun 2017 Podcast desertislanddishes.co/podcast
Twitter followers 1.9K ⋅ Instagram Followers 26.4K ⋅ Social Engagement 2 ⋅ Domain Authority 26 ⋅ View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

54. Food Non-Fiction

About Podcast Food Non-Fiction tells the incredible true stories behind food. We delve deep into the history and fascinating facts about the most famous and interesting foods. We look forward to taking you on this wild food journey, through history, and around the world. Frequency 1 episode / year Podcast foodnonfiction.com
Facebook fans 498 ⋅ Twitter followers 106 ⋅ Social Engagement 1 ⋅ Domain Authority 32 ⋅ View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

55. The Food Podcast

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada About Podcast The Food Podcast is a show where personal stories are shared through the lens of food. Join host Lindsay Cameron Wilson, a best-selling cookbook author, and journalist, as she takes you on an adventure through sound, story, music, and memory. Food is the launching point, the portal. Human stories, however, are at the heart of each episode. It's a food and story podcast, if you will, released monthly, after a long simmer, when the flavor is just right. Frequency 3 episodes / year Since Jul 2015 Also in Canadian Food Podcasts Podcast thefoodpodcast.com
Twitter followers 235 ⋅ Domain Authority 7 ⋅ View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

56. Lecker: A Food Podcast

London, England, United Kingdom About Podcast A podcast about the life-changing power of a good meal. Food, cooking, eating, and everything that comes alongside. Produced and hosted by Lucy Dearlove lecker: delicious food, tasty, mouth-watering. Frequency 4 episodes / year , Average Episode Length 26 min Since Sep 2016 Podcast leckerpodcast.com/episodes-1
Twitter followers 2.5K ⋅ Domain Authority 14 ⋅ View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

57. Masters of Social Gastronomy

Cleveland, Ohio, United States About Podcast Each month, Masters of Social Gastronomy takes on a curious food topic and breaks down the history, science, and stories behind it. MSG is brought to you by Sarah Lohman and Jonathan Soma and hosted at Caveat NYC. From strange meat to fake meat from candy to artificial flavors MSG takes on food's most fun, engaging, and controversial issues. New shows the third Monday of every month! Frequency 2 episodes / quarter , Average Episode Length 63 min Since May 2012 Podcast sarahlohman.com/podcasts
Twitter followers 2.1K ⋅ Social Engagement 19 ⋅ Domain Authority 26 ⋅ View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

58. Richard's Famous Food Podcast

Los Angeles, California, United States About Podcast Richard's Famous Food Podcast is made by Richard Parks III. Frequency 7 episodes / year , Average Episode Length 19 min Since Jul 2015 Podcast richardsfamousfoodpodcast.li..
Twitter followers 905 ⋅ Domain Authority 14 ⋅ Alexa Rank 4.9K View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

59. Food by Design: an IDEO Podcast

About Podcast Our food system isn't broken, it was designed this way. And if it was designed this way, then it's time for a redesign. That's why we created this podcast. We believe in dialogue, collaboration, and creative inquiry, and talking to the people who are building the food systems we'll need in the future. right now. Let's dig in. Frequency 10 episodes / year , Average Episode Length 23 min Since Sep 2020 Podcast page.ideo.com/food
Twitter followers 369.2K ⋅ Social Engagement 5 ⋅ Domain Authority 70 ⋅ Alexa Rank 48.8K View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact

60. Uncooked Women

About Podcast A podcast by self proclaimed epicureans that explores Nigerian gastronomy through the lenses of history, pop culture, science, and of-course. feminism Frequency 10 episodes / year , Average Episode Length 63 min Since Mar 2020 Podcast anchor.fm/theuncookedwomenpo..
Twitter followers 54 ⋅ Domain Authority 81 ⋅ Alexa Rank 2.3K View Latest Episodes ⋅ Get Email Contact


NFL player who became a farmer talks mission to fight hunger

When the food box program was rolled out in May 2020, the Trump administration touted it as a way of getting food to hungry Americans quickly. But by late June, the program fell short of delivery targets, Reuters reported. The government provided little guidance to food pantries and sometimes inexperienced distributors, who were often left to connect with one another on their own.

After some states, including Montana and Nevada, received very little food early on, the Trump administration in June contracted with Gold Star Foods, a California-based school food distributor, to reach underserved areas, Gold Star's CEO Sean Leer said in an interview.

Gold Star billed the government between $87 and $102 in October and November for food boxes containing fruit, meat and dairy products. That's more than double the average of similar boxes from other companies at the time, according to USDA invoice data. Leer said the cost reflected the increase in food and freight prices during the pandemic supply chain disruption.

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Leer said the company has at times delivered the food boxes at a loss. He noted that during the February cold snap in Texas, Gold Star sent food to the state from California because the weather caused supply problems in Texas.

Food delivered by Gold Star accounted for less than 2% of federal money spent on the food box program in 2020, though that will increase to just under 9% through April 2021, according to Reuters' review of USDA invoice data.

Companies delivered food in varying quantities at first, making cost comparisons between different vendors difficult. But in September USDA standardized the food boxes at no more than 24 pounds after feedback from food banks.

From October through December, invoice data shows seven out of 105 companies, including Gold Star Foods, charged the government double the program's median price per pound of food. Three of those companies were awarded contracts by the Trump administration for nearly $32 million in January 2021.

The Biden administration says some companies may have overcharged the USDA.

"There was an unequal cost associated with the distribution and filling of these boxes. Some people made a significant percentage from filling the boxes," Vilsack said on a March 3 call with reporters.

The USDA specified food boxes delivered in 2021 to the continental U.S. cost between $27 and $48 per box. But cheaper boxes presented new challenges and put additional burdens on food banks, said Emily Broad Leib, director of Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic. The lower-cost boxes contained lower quality food, and food companies at times refused to deliver them to smaller pantries, leaving local organizations scrambling to find extra money for delivery, she said.

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India’s dangerous ‘food bubble’

India is now the world’s third-largest grain producer after China and the United States. The adoption of higher-yielding crop varieties and the spread of irrigation have led to this remarkable tripling of output since the early 1960s. Unfortunately, a growing share of the water that irrigates three-fifths of India’s grain harvest is coming from wells that are starting to go dry. This sets the stage for a major disruption in food supplies for India’s growing population.

In recent years about 27 million wells have been drilled, chasing water tables downward in every Indian state. Even the typically conservative World Bank warned in 2005 that 15% of India’s food was being produced by overpumping groundwater. The situation has not improved, meaning that about 190 million Indians are being fed using water that cannot be sustained. This means that the dietary foundation for about 190 million people could disappear with little warning.

India’s grain is further threatened by global warming. Glaciers serve as reservoirs feeding Asia’s major rivers during the dry season. As Himalayan and Tibetan glaciers shrink, they provide more meltwater in the near term, but there will be far less in the future. To complicate matters, the monsoon patterns are changing too, making these annual deluges more difficult to predict.

What India is experiencing is a “food bubble”: an increase in food production based on the unsustainable use of irrigation water. And this is happening in a country where 43% of children under age 5 are underweight. A survey for Save the Children found that children in 1 out of 4 families experience “foodless days” — days where they do not eat at all. Almost half subsist on just one staple food, thus missing vital nutrients that come in a diversified diet.

Although poverty has been reduced for some, two-thirds of the population still live on less than $2 a day, according to the World Bank. And the population is growing by nearly 30 million every two years, equal to adding another Canada to the number of people to feed. Within 20 years, India’s population is expected to hit 1.5 billion, surpassing China.

To feed all those mouths, the government needs to go beyond the revamped food distribution program laid out in the Food Security Act signed into law in September. Averting a sudden and devastating collapse of the food bubble will require efforts to address the underlying threats to India’s food system. This involves ramping up initiatives in health, family planning and education to put the brakes on population growth. It also means rethinking energy and transportation policies to reduce India’s contribution to climate change. It is incredibly shortsighted to be building coal-fired power plants in a country where climate change threatens to worsen water shortages.

Overpumping aquifers is hard to stop, in part because it is invisible, only apparent once a well goes dry. In July, the Indian government belatedly announced that it would boost spending to map out the country’s aquifers to better understand water availability and the rate of depletion, but this is just one step. The energy subsidies that encourage heavy overpumping of underground water will have to be phased out. Traditional water harvesting — capturing the excess water that comes during monsoons in small ponds — can help create a buffer. Farmers can also reduce water use by using more-efficient irrigation techniques and by growing less thirsty crops — for example, more wheat and less rice.

Today’s situation is reminiscent of what I found in 1965 when I was sent to India by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman to help evaluate the country’s forthcoming five-year plan. There were drought conditions in almost every corner of the country. It quickly became clear to me that the harvest would not come close to meeting the estimated demand. Without food aid, famine would be unavoidable.

I alerted Freeman, met with U.S. and Indian officials and drafted a plan. Thus was born President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “short tether” policy, tying U.S. grain shipments to India to a restructuring of India’s agriculture. The U.S. government’s shipment of 10 million tons of grain — one-fifth of the U.S. harvest that year — to India in 1965 became the largest food relief effort in history.

Today, food security is India’s No. 1 challenge, as it was half a century ago, even though the country now produces close to 240 million tons of grain compared with the 95 million tons needed in 1965.

Will we witness famine if many wells run dry at the same time? Or will the United States be called on to again come to the rescue?

With a third of the U.S. grain harvest now going to fuel for cars and another third going to feed livestock, U.S. exports are down. Global demand is increasing rapidly as populations expand and as more people move up the food chain, consuming grain-intensive animal products. A tightening grain situation means rising food prices for all, a trend that will continue without a global mobilization to use water more efficiently and quickly stabilize population and climate.

In the meantime, we hope India’s wells won’t run dry too soon.

Lester R. Brown is president of the Earth Policy Institute and the author of “Breaking New Ground: A Personal History” and “Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity.”

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The NUTRO™ Brand Sets A New Standard For Pet Food With Its New Food Philosophy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. , March 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The NUTRO™ brand, a pioneer in natural pet food, has relaunched its brand with a new pet food philosophy: NUTRO. FEED CLEAN.™ Tapping into the human trend of "clean eating," the NUTRO™ brand has announced its commitment to making recipes that are simple, purposeful and trustworthy, made with real, recognizable, non-GMO ingredients† as close to their native form as possible. In line with the new philosophy, the NUTRO™ brand is introducing a new Limited Ingredient Diet product line of dry food for dogs, new recipes in its WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS™ and Grain Free dry dog food lines and a refreshed look for its packaging.

"The NUTRO™ brand has been on a journey for over 90 years, since we launched our first recipes in 1926," said Chris Mondzelewski , general manager of pet specialty, Mars Petcare North America . "Over the years, we have focused on crafting recipes without artificial preservatives, flavors or colors and giving pet parents a choice by offering recipes without grains, chicken by-product meal or soy protein. With the announcement of our NUTRO. FEED CLEAN™ philosophy, we're taking the next step in our journey, setting a new standard with clean food for pets."

To launch the NUTRO. FEED CLEAN™ philosophy, the brand introduced new advertising creative across digital and television. The creative, developed by BBDO San Francisco and titled, "This is Clean," reinforces the brand's pledge to craft clean recipes that give dogs the energy they need to be active and playful. The campaign, which will begin running this week, juxtaposes "clean eating" with the dirt-filled fun that dogs enjoy from the vitality they get from a wholesome diet. It showcases an energetic ensemble of muddy, sandy and water-loving dogs whose eating habits give them the energy to get dirty outdoors.

The NUTRO. FEED CLEAN™ journey starts with an updated NUTRO™ Dry Dog Food portfolio, which is now available in stores and online. The portfolio is segmented into four product lines to best meet the needs of today's dog – all made with real, recognizable, non-GMO ingredients†.

  • The newLimited Ingredient Diets (LID) include all new recipes, crafted without ingredients that may cause food sensitives in dogs, like chicken, beef or grains. Each recipe contains 10 key ingredients or less, plus natural flavors, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. These recipes nourish sensitive skin with a soft, shiny coat guaranteed or your money back. Recipes include Lamb & Sweet Potato, Duck & Lentils, Salmon & Lentils and Venison Meal & Sweet Potato.
  • WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS™ recipes have historically been the NUTRO™ brand's most popular dry dog food line, providing tailored nutrition for a pet's unique needs, including life stage and size. WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS™ recipes always have protein, such as chicken, salmon, lamb or venison meal as the #1 ingredient. All of the chicken and salmon based recipes are new in this product line featuring sweet potato and a blend of whole grains, vegetables and fruit.
  • The Grain Free product line is tailored to a pet's life stage and breed size with recipes that are grain free and always have pasture-fed lamb or farm-raised chicken as the #1 ingredient. New to this line are more great recipes with sweet potato and a blend of vegetables and fruit.
  • WILD FRONTIER™ recipes promote a strong, lean body and provide steady energy with recipes that are high protein (guaranteed 30-32%), grain free and always have chicken, salmon, lamb or venison meal as the #1 ingredient.

NUTRO™ Dry Dog Food is now available nationwide, in-store and online at major retailers such as Amazon.com, Petco, PetSmart and more. Suggested retail price ranges from $14.99 - $59.99 (4-30lb bags). For more information, visit NUTRO.com or Facebook.com/NUTROProducts.

About Mars Petcare US
Mars Petcare US is the U.S. operations of the world's largest petcare company at the privately-held Mars, Incorporated. Mars Petcare US produces some of the world's most beloved pet care brands, including PEDIGREE® Food and Treats for Dogs, CESAR® Canine Cuisine, IAMS™ Pet Food, SHEBA® Entrees for Cats, WHISKAS® Food for Cats, GREENIES™ Dental Treats and PILL POCKETS™ Treats, NUTRO™ Pet Food, EUKANUBA™ Pet Food and TEMPTATIONS™ Treats for Cats, as well as exclusive brands products for some of the leading retailers in the U.S. Headquartered in Franklin, Tenn., more than 3,700 Mars Petcare US associates make, sell and distribute its high-quality pet food from 20 manufacturing facilities located in communities across the U.S. For more information, please visit www.mars.com.

About the NUTRO™ Brand
The Nutro™ Brand is a leading brand of natural pet food products sold exclusively at pet specialty stores and online. In 2017 the NUTRO™ brand introduced its NUTRO. FEED CLEAN™ philosophy outlining the brand's journey and new approach to pet food. NUTRO™ recipes are simple, purposeful, and trustworthy - made of real, recognizable, non-GMO ingredients†. For more information, please visit www.nutro.com.

†Trace amounts of genetically modified material may be present due to potential cross contact during manufacturing.
®/™ Trademarks © Mars, Incorporated 2017.


New York City Council Introduces Bills to Aid Restaurants in Coronavirus Recovery

Emma Tucker

The New York City Council is considering several bills that would aid restaurants as they try to recover from the economic hit brought on by the new coronavirus pandemic, including one that would make sidewalk and curbside street dining permanent.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in July that the Open Restaurants program, a key feature of the city’s effort to support restaurants financially during the pandemic, would be extended until Oct. 31. The program allows restaurants and bars to expand outdoor seating in sidewalks, city streets and parking lots to increase revenue while maintaining social-distancing guidelines intended to curb the spread of the virus.

As part of the legislation introduced by City Councilman Antonio Reynoso, restaurants and bars would also be allowed to use propane heaters, which are currently banned in New York City. The Department of Transportation would also be required to set up an online application process that can be used by restaurateurs to certify their establishments for outdoor dining, according to the bill.

Mr. Reynoso said in an interview that an outdoor heating system would help restaurants adhere to safety measures in colder months if they aren’t able to expand indoor dining at full capacity. “We wouldn’t have to feel pressured to expand capacity indoors and risk the general public’s health if we can maintain outdoor dining,” Mr. Reynoso said.

Currently, the city only allows pickup and outdoor dining at restaurants. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said earlier this month that restaurants could resume indoor dining at 25% capacity starting Sept. 30.


Congressman introduces bill related to McGirt decision, impact on Oklahoma

WASHINGTON (KFOR) – A congressman from Oklahoma has introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives related to the Supreme Court’s McGirt vs. Oklahoma decision.

On July 9, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the Muscogee (Creek) reservation was never disestablished.

It’s a ruling that has a big impact on the state’s criminal justice system.

“For anybody that has an Indian card, a CDIB card, a certified degree of Indian blood,” Native American law attorney Robert Gifford told KFOR. “If they are within the Creek Nation, the state of Oklahoma had no jurisdiction over them.”

This week, state leaders including Seminole Nation Chief Greg Chilcoat, District 22’s District Attorney Paul B. Smith and Attorney General Mike Hunter met for discussions regarding the McGirt decision and how they will move forward with cases, both past and present, involving Native Americans on tribal land. (Photo: KFOR)

As it stands, these decisions alter the State’s legal jurisdiction and law enforcement capabilities on a significant portion of eastern Oklahoma, creating uncertainty for many Oklahomans.

“In general, the McGirt decision by the United States Supreme Court has created a significant amount of confusion, especially in regards to inmates who are serving time in state custody for crimes committed on historic tribal lands,” Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said in August.

After the Supreme Court’s decision, Hunter said his office was flooded with appeals, which he said he would oppose.

“The McGirt case does not constitute a get out of prison free card,” Hunter said. “We are not going to allow our justice system to be exploited by individuals who have murdered, raped, or committed another crime of a serious nature while the federal government considers whether to rearrest or adjudicate their cases.”

Now, Congressman Tom Cole says he has introduced legislation that would authorize the Chicksaw Nation, Cherokee Nation, and the State of Oklahoma to reach an agreement without the federal government getting involved.

“Consistent with the diligent work done and progress made with state and tribal partners, this legislation does not mandate how Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Nation and the Cherokee Nation should come to agreement. Instead, the legislation would give them an avenue to decide independently, rightly ensuring that any decision directly affecting Oklahoma or these tribes is made at the state and local level,” said Cole. “Indeed, Oklahomans are the best suited for making decisions that affect their own unique communities.

The measure would also address the immediate issues facing law enforcement officers as a result of the ruling.

“Over the past several months, I have had many serious and productive conversations with law enforcement officers across the Fourth District of Oklahoma. This legislation would provide an immediate solution to the urgent issues facing law enforcement, giving them clarity to enforce the law, keep dangerous criminals behind bars and ensure justice is served.”