Rural Food Banks Struggle To Meet Need

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Greene County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Greene County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like the people they help, food pantries throughout southwestern Pennsylvania are struggling — and in some cases, failing — to make ends meet as skimpy federal food supplies, a tighter state budget, higher food prices and more needy clients strain resources.

Food banks around the region are reducing the number of fruits and vegetables they distribute, trimming or even eliminating expensive protein sources such as eggs and peanut butter from the boxes given to their clients, and in some cases, must consider scaling back their operations.

In Greene County, for instance, board members of the Waynesburg-based food bank, The Corner Cupboard, were spared Monday from slashing their food box distribution from monthly to bimonthly only after a last-minute $10,000 donation from natural gas drilling company EQT, according to board member John Jenkins.

“I don’t want to tell people we don’t have food for them, my God, but there’s just nothing we can do right now,” Mr. Jenkins said. “We’ve robbed Peter to pay Paul to try to stay afloat as it is.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/rural-food-banks-struggle-to-meet-need-653436/#ixzz26bApTVGG

Oil Prices Hit Four-Month High

Oil prices hit their highest levels in more than four months on Friday, bolstered by the Federal Reserve’s steps to strengthen the U.S. economy and by anxiety about the specter of confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program.

The global oil balance is already tighter than forecasters expected just a few months ago, because of disruptions in oil output from nations outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and by the effectiveness of sanctions against Iran, which is exporting about 750,000 to 1 million fewer barrels a day than it was a year ago.

“The story has been one of a strong stock market, a weaker dollar and continuing geopolitical events,” said Adam Sieminski, head of the federal Energy Information Administration.

He said political strife in Syria, Yemen and Sudan cut off some supplies while the latest price surge was “driven by central bank moves in both the U.S. and Europe” and by “optimism about the economy, which changes expectations about what demand will be going over the course of the next six to 12 months.”

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/oil-prices-hit-four-month-high/2012/09/14/b09829ca-fe9f-11e1-b153-218509a954e1_story.html

In Copenhagen, Noma Restaurant Offers Food For Thought

Few consider the faith of the food writer. And this is probably a good thing. I won’t say that to worship food and drink is to pray to a false god. But even with all the high-minded talk of farm-to-table or Slow Food movements, of molecular gastronomy or urban gardening, of locavorism or fruitarianism or whatever-the-latest-ism, in my experience it rarely leads one down the shining path of enlightenment.

Or at least that’s what I believed until this past spring, when I spent one of the most glorious weeks of my life eating my way through Copenhagen, capped off by a 25-course, five-hour lunch at Noma, considered by many to be the best — and most thought-provoking — restaurant in the world.

“Some people see going to Noma as a religious experience,” said Michael Bom Frøst, a food scientist and director of the nonprofit Nordic Food Lab, which was established by Noma’s owners. This was several days before my own meal at Noma, and we stood in the lab’s shiny test kitchen, inside a houseboat moored across the canal from Noma. The brilliant Nordic sun shone in the bluest Nordic sky as we ate a pink ice cream made from seaweed and looked across the cold water toward Copenhagen’s center.

Copenhagen has become the epicenter of the “new Nordic” cuisine, which has supplanted Spain’s formerly avant-garde molecular gastronomy as the latest, buzzy Big Idea in international cuisine.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/food-for-thought/2012/09/10/66300e1e-ed3a-11e1-b09d-07d971dee30a_story.html