Monthly Archives: July 2013

Zucchini and rabbit provide inexpensive, large meals

I may have stumbled onto the solution to world hunger. Perhaps just to end hunger in the United States. We have a garden. It is now a rather pathetic garden after suffering the ravages of too much rain and oppressively hot weather.

Through it all, one vegetable flourished. It is the zucchini. Our tomatoes are tasty, but small with many spots. The wax and green beans are producing, but the mosquito bites are discouraging. Our beets suffered from something eating off the tops. The sweet corn still looks good, but my husband cautions raccoons will eat it about a day before it is ready for harvest.

However, the zucchini is untouched. It seems to produce more rapidly with each passing day.

Our situation is common. At least, I believe that because of the number of folks with excess zucchini. A quick check on the Internet found over 21 million links to zucchini in two tenths of a second; a popular vegetable.

These recipes range from main course to dessert. I found dinner tonight with the stuffed zucchini recipe. The baked zucchini fries I marked for preparing with my grandkids. The cold summer soup read like a variation of gazpacho. I will not try that. I hate cold soup.

I do plan to try the zucchini lasagna. I love lasagna. The ratatouille sounds promising, too. There is a zucchini cake that reads like a variation of carrot cake. It is quite interesting. The baker submitting the recipe included a photo of the original recipe in her grandmother’s handwriting. I think everyone has baked at least one loaf of zucchini bread. If only it used more than one cup of zucchini.

fuelling a balanced debate

While biofuels have long courted controversy, the debate around them has recently hit the headlines as the EU plans to review its biofuels policy. Developed as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, many have argued that they are neither sustainable nor green. Critics have also examined the economic case and questioned whether biofuel production is currently cost effective.

Criticism of the relationship between biofuels and development has been further supported by growing evidence of the link between biofuel production and food price spikes. Adding to these reservations is the issue of land rights: as the industry expands, how can we ensure these are preserved?

But, last month’s report (pdf) by the FAO on biofuels and food security suggests it might be time to reconsider its benefits: employment and income opportunities, increased agricultural productivity, reduction of CO2 emissions and increased energy independence. But in its conclusions, the report’s authors concede that “the potential impact of biofuel policies and projects can differ widely according to national and local conditions and to the choice of specific technologies and feedstocks.”

So given all the conflicting evidence, is it time we ask not whether biofuels are fundamentally good or bad but how, in policy and practice, their cultivation can be green, equitable and sustainable? On what scale should biofuels be produced? Is effective technology or the evidence of social and economic impact what’s missing? And as policymakers in the developed world consider fuel options for a sustainable future, how do we not lose sight of farmers and consumers in low and middle-income countries?