Global Food, Health, and Society

A Colby Community Website for ST297, Fall 2018

Food Security

With the continuing population growth, food security has become an increasing problem as food accessibility differs for certain places and groups of people showing the inequality in food accessibility. The past half-century has seen a growth in food production, however not all people have seen an increase in their accessibility to food. Looking forward, food accessibility seems to be a growing issue, as growing competition for land, water, energy, as well as the exploitation of our sources will require a reduction on our impact on the food system in order to continue to be able to feed the growing population.

More than one in seven people today face problems in access to food, and go hungry, despite the surplus of foods that exist in different parts of the world. There is a major correlation between wealth and access to foods, as richer countries have higher purchasing power and are able to feed their populations better. Richer countries have access to a wider variety of food as well, and can tap into many different resources including the ability to produce these foods, and just the sole resources that make the foods available.

So, the world is currently facing a challenge regarding food accessibility. We need to be able to match the rapidly changing demand for food from a larger and more affluent population to its supply, but do this in a way that does not deplete natural resources or will contribute negatively to the environment. This would be a challenge however, because historically the way in which we produce foods, at least in America and countries similar to America, have used ways to produce foods that are not friendly to the environment. There needs to be a change in which foods are produced, stored, processed, distributed, and accessed in order for food accessibility to be better for everyone.

There is a wide geographic variation between what crops and products are accessible in certain places. Growing certain crops in certain places provides a sort of economic drive. Meaning that, certain products which yield more and are easier to grow, would be prioritized over growing a different product in the same place. Creating a way in which production could close the yield and create a more sustainable production means would be more productive. There is a need for more food as the population is growing, however this food needs to be distributed in a means that is more equal and more accessible so that people can access it in a better way.

In terms of closing the yield gap, certain measures can be taken to do this. Right now, there is a wide geographic variation in crop and livestock productivity, even with regions that have the possibility to create similar crops. Producing lower yields in areas where there is a surplus of foods would be beneficial to the environment as it would not deplete the resources in that area, and would also allow for other places to produce the product and distribute it for a higher cost, increasing their economic profit which could be beneficial to them. However, determining how to best do this and to create a system in which food production is sustainable may not be appealing as creating a sustainable amount of production for people who are profiting off of production would decrease profit.

Closing the yield gap would dramatically increase the supply on food however there are others ways to create a system in which the growing world population could be fed. Expanding different sources for food, and tapping into resources that can be easily and naturally continued can provide more food. For example, expanding aquaculture can create a way in which people could use the ocean’s resources as a means to expand food sources. The resources in the ocean currently provide around 3 billion people 15% of their protein intake. If the resources from the ocean are used sustainably the production of certain foods could increase. Sustainability is essential in creating a system in which food production would maintain a means for which it could continue and provide an end to potential hunger.

After researching more about this topic I found it very interesting and important as the population is increasing and there is an inequality in food that exists and is accessible to people. I believe that creating a world in which food accessibility is equal for all would be hard however better. I am interested in looking at more about how sustainability would create a more equal world in terms of food accessibility and food equality. And although there is no simple way to feed a growing population optimism can help navigate the ways in which it is possible. I hope that policies, new shifts in cultural perspectives and more can help change the way in which the world perceives food.

 

Source: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/327/5967/812

1 Comment

  1. This is a good, very informative blogpost. I like how you go in depth about the issues surrounding food security as well as sustainability. I also greatly appreciate how you suggest a variety of potential solutions to try and fix some food security issues. It is truly interesting that the solution to this problem can actually be solved in a sense by farming over less space but in a more sustainable way. This is such an important topic that you have written very well about.

Leave a Reply