GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

February 8, 2013

Food price crisis is topic of Cape Ann Forum

By Times Staff
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — What is needed to resolve the looming global food price crisis?

That’s the question to be addressed Sunday night at Gloucester’s Unitarian-Universalist Chruch, where internationally known researcher and author Timothy A. Wise will serve as guest speaker for February’s edition of the Cape Ann Forum.

The event is set for 7 p.m., and like all Cape Ann Forum presentations, is free and open to the public.

Spikes in global food prices in 2007-2008 served as a wakeup call to the global community on the inadequacies of our global food system, says Wise. Commodity prices doubled, the estimated number of hungry people topped one billion, and food riots spread through the developing world.

A second price spike in 2010-2011 drove the global food import bill to an estimated $1.3 trillion, Wise has found. And last summer’s drought in the American Midwest has triggered the third price spike in the past five years, deepening the fear that policies guiding agricultural development and food security are deeply flawed, Wise warns.

Wise is the former executive director of Grassroots International, a Boston-based international aid organization., and he holds a Masters in Public Policy from Tufts’ University’s Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Department.

His current research projects include sustainable rural Development, moving beyond agricultural subsidies, Mexico Under NAFTA, and the World Trade Organization and global trade. He is co-author of the book “Confronting Globalization: Economic Integration and Popular Resistance in Mexico,” and of “The Promise and the Perils of Agricultural Trade Liberalization: Lessons from Latin America.”

Wise’s presentation will be the fourth in the Cape Ann Forum’s 2012-2013 season and the 78th since the organization was established to promote better understanding of global issues in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attacks.

Spring forums will feature former Oxfam America director John Hammock on global poverty and the role of international aid agencies on April 7, and former U.S. ambassador and National Defense University vice president Mark Bellamy on the rise of Africa on the global stage on May 5.

The Forum, a recognized nonprofit, will also announce its annual “international awareness award” for a graduating Gloucester High School senior at the May event. For more information on the event go to the Forum’s Web site at www.capeannforum.org.