ARCHIVE

Building a Restaurant After Genocide: Josh Ruxin’s ‘A Thousand Hills to Heaven’

In the 35 years I’ve been working in restaurants, I have seen more than enough to scare a person out of the business.  I’ve seen fires, near-fires, and explosive fire suppression systems. I’ve taken coworkers’ thumbs to the hospital for them on two separate occasions. And I’ve seen a guy slip while cleaning an oven’s exhaust hood and dunk his foot in a deep fryer, causing his nylon sock to melt into his skin.

These are the kinds of stories any American cook can tell. And, after reading Josh Ruxin’s book, A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope, and a Restaurant in Rwanda, they mean nothing. Read more

Food Security in Africa: Will Obama let USAID’s Genetically Modified Trojan Horse Ride Again?

Yesterday Secretary Clinton was in Kenya with a delegation that included Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, as well as Representatives Donald M. Payne (D-NJ) and Nita M. Lowey (D-NY). While the group was there on a broad platform to discuss economic development in Africa, including food security issues, the delegation took the opportunity yesterday afternoon to visit the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) lab, which is best known for unsuccessfully trying to produce a genetically modified, virus-resistant sweet potato under a US-led program. The trip to KARI highlights the poor vision the United States currently holds on furthering food security in Africa. Read more

All That Glitters is Not Gold: Biotechnology Has Failed Us, So Why Promote It Abroad?

The head of the World Food Program announced on Friday that an additional 105 million more people have become hungry in 2009, adding to the one billion plus who were already food insecure. The day before, Secretary Clinton gave a speech about hunger in the world, speaking in broad strokes: “[H]unger belies our planet’s bounty. It challenges our common humanity and resolve. We do have the resources to give every person in the world the tools they need to feed themselves and their children.”

In the next sentences, she gives a clue about what “tools” she might be referring to by praising the Green Revolution — without noting the depleted water table, reduced soil fertility, massive farmer debts and increased rates of farmer suicides left in the wake of the failed experiment in India. Read more