While many of us have the luxury of being picky with our food choices, of deciding we are too full to finish our meals or too bored of a food to finish the leftovers, many others around the world are quite literally starving.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 795 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one out of every nine people, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2014-2016, 780 million of whom live in developing countries.
It’s a sad reality that’s made even more alarming by the knowledge that, in 2050, the Earth’s population is expected to hit 9.7 billion, which means we’re going to have to find a way to feed 2 billion more mouths every single day. How are we supposed to reduce the amount of people suffering from chronic hunger while also sustaining a growing population? It seems impossible.
The following video explains how the shift of producing food closer to where people live can help. The reality is, more and more people are moving to cities, and moving food products hundreds of thousands of miles from farms to grocery stores is no longer sustainable. And so, with this in mind, the video explains that a good solution would be farms moving into cities.
The problem isn’t having enough food, as we certainly already generate enough to feed 9 billion people comfortably. The problem is that all that food isn’t getting to the people who need it. The other issue is the immense amount of waste, with a third of all food produced thrown out rather than given to the many hungry mouths that need it to survive.
Farms and cities may not seem to go hand in hand, but when you look at the alarming figures of population growth, food waste, and global hunger, you have to shift your perspective. You have to get creative.
Farms have already made their way onto the tops of buildings, transformed into small, communal plots of land, and have been reimagined in abandoned warehouses filled with artificial light. Farms don’t have to be traditional. We are not traditional anymore. In fact, food can now be grown in the middle of a desert city — something we once could have never thought possible.
As National Geographic reports, “More people around the world are taking a look at urban farming, which offers to make our food as ‘local’ as possible. By growing what we need near where we live, we decrease the ‘food miles’ associated with long-distance transportation. We also get the freshest produce money can buy, and we are encouraged to eat in season.”
Along with growing food in urban areas, we also need to return to traditional agricultural practices. This means financially supporting smallholder farmers, because 80% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa is produced by female and smallholder farmers. Our support boosts their income and productivity.
Though it’s possible to feed an additional 2 billion people, it’s not enough to know that. We need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. We need to digest these alarming figures. We need to become simpler while also becoming more innovative. We must find a balance between old and new agricultural practices, and start looking at food as the precious, life-giving resource it is.
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