I live in London for more than 4 years now and this blog is a place where i reflect on various events, experiences, things and issues. I have MA in International Political Economy and have 10+ years of experience working for governmental, international and non-governmental organizations.
Currently I am working for an international humanitarian capacity building organization and in my spare time i am writing a book on economic reforms in Latvia after independence.
I am interested in jazz, photography, travel, documentaries, yoga and healthy lifestyle.
Globalization, modernization, commercialization, urbanization has massively influenced the way we eat and therefore also the way we live. Particularly in the Western world people have literally ran away from nature and and have lost the knowledge of growing their own food. Moreover, by giving away this responsibility to produce the food we consume, we have also given away control over our health, well-being and quality of life.
Even if we dont have really a chance to own a garden and go organic, through the choices we make when buying food we can change the quality and length of our lives. Food we eat is directly linked to number of times we would search doctor’s assistance. And, even if our immune system does go on strike, your choice of medicine (a pill or right nutrition) will also affect chances of recovery in short and long-term.
This movie, which you can watch until December 10 for free, is a brilliant eye-opener with respect to what we eat, how it affects our bodies and lives, how the health and food industry manipulates with our choices we make every day every hour.
…the irony is that for some reason journalists and photographers do not have a problem to arrive in Philippines right after typhoon to report on the massive devastation and hit the news headlines with images of misery, but food, blankets, emergency shelter and urgent medical goods can start arriving only on the day 4-5.
I already wrote in April here about the controversial and ineffective US food aid programme, which delivers about 50% of all the international food aid. Today Foreign Policy Journal has published a great article on this matter illustrating the big dilemma US politicians face: to be effective (feed more people for the same amount of money) or save American jobs in agriculture and shipping industry sectors. Farm bill, which is currently under revision, is still an opportunity for food aid reform proponents to suggest/ make the long overdue changes, however lobbyists representing farmers and shipping industry may again kill this hope.
It is understandable that politicians are prioritizing interests of their citizens, but this is not what aid is about. Aid, which in essence is a voluntary transfer of resources from one country to another, should be given in a way which maximizes the benefits to the receiver not the giver. But at the moment US food aid is a substantial instrument to subsidize and support US agriculture sector (all US food aid should be produced in the US) and shipping industry (which is shipping all the food aid to the respective places around the world) rather than the actual beneficiaries. Moreover, up to 75% of funds spent on food aid may at the end stay in the hands of US businesses which eventually makes it very difficult to label this food aid as ‘aid’.
If all the food aid would be purchased/produced locally/ regionally and delivered based on the principles of efficiency, effectiveness and long-term empowerment only, it would:
improve local/ regional economies through employment, industrial and agricultural development, investment;
decrease the risk of harming/ crippling/ destroying local markets through dumping free food aid and creating dependency on free food;
improve carbon footprint, reduce transportation costs and deliver more environmentally-friendly aid;
improve local capacity and self-sufficiency to produce/ store/ transport and distribute food;
improve the quality of the food (countries and regions around the world have so diverse habits and traditions with respect to food; just imagine, if from tomorrow you, who loves pasta, had to eat lentils or corn and just that);
This is extraordinary example of hypocrisy and commercialization of aid undermining its core principles and aims.
On November 1 at Stratford Circus, this was the funniest and sweetest gig ever! Not only Randolph Matthews presented an amazing solo improvisation performance integrating amusing story-telling and dancing (i loved that episode of samba dancing in the lift) into his music which has been inspired by jazz, African traditional music, soul and even Harry Potter movie (!) :), he also treated all the audience with delicious chocolate whilst singing one of his compositions. Everyone, i guess, was left convinced that his music indeed tastes like chocolate.
Randolph Matthews, a true master of voice. I bet, there is no sound on this Planet which Randolph cant imitate. Check him out if you can.