In Food Policy This Week: 5 News Bites

A roundup of news clippings we're reading that affect the way we eat.

Food Hubs, Turkey Price-Cutting, and More in Food Policy This Week

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Food Hubs by USDA. [Photograph: USDAgov on Flickr]

From Farm to Table, Infrastructure is the Answer

In the most recent issue of Orion magazine, Rowan Jacobsen explores the concept of "food hubs," a recent favored buzzword of the local food movement. According to the USDA, food hubs offer "a combination of production, aggregation, distribution, and marketing services" to farmers, helping them expand their markets and customer base. Jacobsen visits with several farmers who are focusing on infrastructure development to make their artisan goods and get those products to market. He learns that though infrastructure is the less sexy side of local food, it is crucial to growing the movement beyond farmers markets and CSAs and pushing it into the mainstream.

New York City Food Insecurity Continues to Increase

In a new report, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger reveals that the number of food insecure residents of New York City has increased since relevant Census data was last collected in 2008. The 2010-2012 figures show a 2% increase, or about 200,000 more people categorized as "food insecure.' Overall, 1.4 million New Yorkers are food insecure. When broken down by borough, the statistics show that 28% of Bronx residents are in this category, and about 11% of residents in each Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. These numbers include children and senior citizens. Emergency food providers, meanwhile, continue to worry that limited resources will prevent them from fully serving all the New Yorkers who are in need of consistent food access.

Map Shows Which States are Most Affected by Food Stamp Cuts

In related news, a helpful map from Pew gives a visual to statistics related to cuts to the food stamp program. The map shows for each state how many residents are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, what their average benefits are, and how many residents are affected by the most recent round of program cuts. It also counts the number of children, senior citizens, or people with disabilities who are affected. Generally the southern states are hardest hit, with Mississippi seeing the highest rate of impact at 22% of residents.

Turkey Economics Explains Why Turkeys are Cheaper on Thanksgiving

Just before Thanksgiving, this article in the New York Times looked at why turkey prices drop around that turkey-centric holiday instead of shooting through the roof. There are a few possible explanations. One is that lower turkey prices draw in more customers, who would then purchase a larger number of items in addition to the cheap turkey. Similarly, stores could undercut one another by offering lower and lower turkey prices in an attempt to draw more of their competitor's customers. Either way, if there aren't enough turkeys to go around, then price-cutting on turkeys could be a moot point.

About the Author: Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her other work can be found at her website, and you can follow her on Twitter @leahjdouglas.

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