The Global Food Crisis, And Alternative Solutions

Update 4/30/2021: Two days after this post, The Guardian released an article on how reducing meat consumption will drastically reduce carbon emissions. Read the story here: The Low Hanging Fruit in the Climate Battle? Cutting Down on Meat: By Gaby Hinsliff

Everybody loves to eat. That’s just a fact; you get home from work after a busy day and the first thing you think about is what you’ll be eating for dinner. However, this way of thinking might be outdated. Scientists predict that we’ll need 50% more food by 2050. (Feeding9Billion) We have entered a Global Food Crisis that needs to be taken seriously, and acted on immediately to ensure a sustainable future.

2008—12% of the U.S. population is still hungry. Despite $60 billion yearly in government food nutrition programs and the explosion of over 50,000 food banks and food pantries across the nation, one in six children in the United States go hungry each month and 35 million people cannot ensure minimum daily caloric requirements


World food crisis: What’s behind it what we can do. (2017, March 20). Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://www.worldhunger.org/world-food-crisis/

SO, despite $60 Billion yearly in government food programs and the use of food banks, people are still hungry, and there is still not enough food. Therefore, what we have been doing to combat The Global Food Crisis has not been working. What is causing this crisis anyways?

Causes of the Global Food Crisis:

Increased Meat Consumption: Meat takes an exponential amount of grain and water to produce. Some countries view eating meat as a sign of wealth, and increase their intake for a well perceived social status. Globally, meat consumption increased by 58% between 1998 and 2018 and is expected to increase 1% each year until at least 2023. (Christen, C)

Inclement Weather/Droughts: Unpredictable weather is every farmers nightmare. With global warming increasing the volatility of the weather, droughts are more prominent than ever. Droughts are killing crops, and making water supply for the plants scarce in certain areas.

Poor Regulation: 6 out of the 11 past years, we consumed more food than we produced. (Feeding9Billion) This should have called for government intervention. In those 6 years we consumed more than we produced, we “dipped” into food reserves intended for future use, eliminating our buffer.

Increased Population: Increased population directly corelates to higher food demand. We have more people to feed on this Earth and are struggling to keep up with the demand.

Alternative Solutions to Combat Global Food Crisis:

Buy Local: Supporting your local food system, such as a locals farmers market, is a simple step towards solving the Global Food Crisis. Supporting local farmers takes away business from large corporations, who don’t need the money to survive in business. Local Farmers help take the load off grocery stores, and rising food prices.

Encourage Farming Careers and Education: This may seem indirectly related to solving a food crisis, however, there aren’t enough farmers. Not enough farmers, means not enough food. This is mostly due to how hard it is to profit off farming, most farmers going into debt and giving the trade up. Over 100,000 farmers in India committed suicide over the past decade caused by stress from outstanding farming debts. (Feeding9Billion) Clearly this shows a problem with how the system is set up. Cooperative Extension System (CES) empowers farmers, ranchers, and communities of all sizes to meet the challenges they face, adapt to changing technology, improve nutrition and food safety, prepare for and respond to emergencies, and protect our environment. (National Institute) The CES provides the tools necessary for aspiring farmers to succeed, in order to ultimately increase the population of farmers to tackle the Global Food Crisis. Combat the Global Food Crisis by donating to farming education programs, as well as share information with aspiring farmers.

The administration so far has leaned heavily toward financial incentives for farmers to voluntarily adopt more climate-friendly practices,

Biden Isn’t Banning Meat, USDA Chief Says

Decrease Meat Consumption: It’s no surprise everyone is going vegetarian and vegan. There are multiple health benefits for people as well as the environment if you eliminate, or at least cutback on meat intake. Read this quick example of how much water goes into making a steak, versus how much water goes into making grain: How Much Water Does It Take To Make One Steak? If you skipped the article, here’s what you missed:

  • 2,400+ gallons of water to produce 1lb of meat
  • 25 gallons of water to produce 1lb of wheat

In addition to the resources being spent on meat production, animals are also becoming more susceptible to disease by being crammed into close living quarters without enough space.

Conclusion

We are in a Global Food Crisis. As urgent as it is, there is still time to make changes in your life to cause a positive ripple effect. Support your local farmers, they’ll be there for you when the grocery stores food prices are too high to handle. Educate farmers and encourage the farming career as a trade, these are the potential people that will be feeding the world one day. Farming is a profession to take great pride in as it isn’t easy either. Lastly, decrease your meat intake. The future is focused on making plant based meat, so this is a concept that isn’t going away anytime soon. Making a difference at home happens before seeing it worldwide.

For More Information:

Feeding 9 Billion Video series, is an awesome learning tool for people that want a crash course on the Global Food Crisis. Information through this article was also provided by the World Hunger website. These two are amazing sources for advocacy and education. For information regarding farming education, and programs available to help assist in farming, check out the Cooperative Extension System (CES) website.

References:

Christen, C. (2021, April 24). Meat consumption in the U.S. is growing at an alarming rate. Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://sentientmedia.org/meat-consumption-in-the-us/#:~:text=S.%20increased%20by%2040%20percent%20between%201961%20and,Facts%20report%20Global%20Meat%20%26%20Poultry%20Trends%20.

Feeding9Billion (Director). (2012, November 07). Feeding nine billion Video 1: INTRODUCING solutions to the global food crisis by dr. EVAN FRASER [Video file]. Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raSHAqV8K9c&t=648s

National Institute of food and agriculture. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://nifa.usda.gov/cooperative-extension-system

World food crisis: What’s behind it what we can do. (2017, March 20). Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://www.worldhunger.org/world-food-crisis/

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