Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On Corn

Towards the end of my Peace Corps service, I made a punching bag . . . to punch. The cheapest grain at the time was corn. It was only about 17 DR pesos a pound (about . So I filled the bag with the dried corn. Dominicans eat corn seasonally. For example, Cha-ka is boiled and sweetened corn seasoned with cinnamon and cloves. It's really good during the 'colder' months. But corn is not a staple in their diet.

Last week Antonio, my coffee farm manager, called me. We talked about all the usual stuff. Progress of our crops: coffee - in 4th flower, avocado - ok, garlic - lost every plant so we planted beans. I like to check on local prices of things. Dominicans say the old price was yesterdays' price. Basic needs rise at about the same rate as petrol as they depend on each other. Antonio told me the price of corn has spiked to 100 DR pesos a pound. It was sitting at about 30 pesos several months ago, and now its over 3X that!

Now you can run your vehicle on bio-diesel and drink your coffee. Therefore if we are fueling ourselves on corn, what does that do to communities that subsist on corn? Their food just got 3X more expensive. I just wanted to give you a real life example of 'green' growing pains with understandable numbers.

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