New Paper on Food Insecurity is a Must-Read

Posted: Monday, November 24, 2014 by Allie Gallant

I’ll admit it: I’ve never thought much about food insecurity. I’ve always donated to food drives and it breaks my heart to think of people who can’t put food in their hungry bellies. But I never considered what it would be like to go to the grocery store and find that there’s not enough to go around. Food is always so readily available in my world that I never really understood anything besides having enough money factored in.

But our world is changing. Modern agriculture and food production are facing issues that could lead to a world where food is a scarce commodity, one subject to volatile and climbing prices, where even those fortunate enough to have a decent living wage could have trouble putting food on the table.

I’ve never known what it’s like to be truly hungry; the prospect of food in the near future meant the low energy levels, uncomfortable stomach and general cloudiness are easy to ignore. But there are over 800 million people on this planet for whom hunger is a daily reality with no sign of change.

Why Do We Face a Growing Risk of Food Insecurity?

The factors leading to food insecurity are numerous and complex:

– More people means more food. The current world population is anticipated to grow from 7 billion to 9 billion, with most increases happening in the developing world (the population of African countries is projected to double from 1 to 2 billion) by 2050.[1]

– The type of food we demand is also changing. As countries develop, their citizens are freed to demand more high-quality protein. An increase in the demand for meat, and associated increases in demand for water and energy used in production, puts pressure on natural resources.

– Wars and the creation of conflict zones, particularly in developing countries, mean resources are largely allocated to defense and weapons procurement in place of agriculture.

– Climate change results in devastating floods, droughts and reductions in crop yields.

– There’s ever-increasing competition for already scarce land resources.

– Massive amounts of food is wasted due to environmental, political, and commercial reasons.

– The globalization and centralization of the agri-food value chain is abused by some to prioritize profits over the human right to food.

Real Talk: Taking Action on Food Insecurity in the Digital Age

The digital revolution is impacting every area of human collaboration. Today’s major social and humanitarian changes almost always have digital communication at their root.

Food Security and Climate-Resistant Agriculture by Alastair T. Marke is a truly worthwhile read. In only a small number of pages Marke provides insights into the above issues. He also provides a ray of hope with four case studies about digital solutions that can help solve food insecurity.

They’re centered in civil society – people like you and me – not governments or even necessarily NGOs. They take the emphasis off of lofty resolutions made by international bodies and put it on people at the grassroots level.

Take some time to read the paper to learn about food insecurity and some of the new digital solutions that are providing real-talk answers to solve a complex problem.

[1] “Hunger-Nutrition-Climate Justice,” Dublin, 2013, Mary Robinson Foundation, Dublin: Mary Robinson Foundation, 2013.

About the Author

Allie Gallant is a freelance writer and blogger.


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