A Recipe to Feed the World

Photo credit: FoodTank

A new report by Friends of the Earth examines how we can create a food system that feeds all people, now and into the future.
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Dirt, Democracy, and Organic Farming: A Recipe to Feed the World

How many scientists does it take to debunk the myth that we need more food to feed the world? In the past decade, hundreds of scientists and experts have made it clear: Feeding the world is not about increasing how many bushels of grain we can grow, it’s about dirt, democracy, and our diets.

A new report from Friends of the Earth, Farming for the Future, compiles the data and details how we can create a food system that feeds all people, now and into the future.

Democracy

Scientists estimate that farmers already produce enough food to feed 10 billion people — far more than the current population of roughly 7.3 billion. Still, at least 800 million go hungry every day and many more are undernourished. Why? Because hunger is not caused by a scarcity in food, it’s caused by a scarcity in democracy and unequal access to land, water, credit, and fair markets.

Small farmers are the backbone of world food supply, making up 90 percent of farmers worldwide and providing more than 80 percent of the food consumed in much of the developing world. Increasing their access to resources is fundamental to food security and poverty reduction.

Diets

The great plenty of the United States grain belt is not “feeding the world.” It is primarily feeding cars, cows, chickens and pigs; 40 percent of U.S. corn goes to biofuels and another 35 percent is used for animal feed. These trends are replicated globally. Reducing meat consumption in line with standard dietary guidelines could free up land and resources to grow nutritious food directly for people. It could also save up to US$31 trillion globally by reducing healthcare costs and environmental damage associated with livestock production, according to one analysis.

Reducing food waste is also key; one-third of food produced globally is lost to waste, spoilage or left in the field, creating scarcity out of abundance.

Dirt

To grow food, we need good soil, clean water, abundant pollinators, and a stable climate. Our ability to feed ourselves and future generations depends on healthy ecosystems.

Read the full article: Food Tank

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.