Despite our technological advances and access to information, humanity is still heading for a world food crisis. The agricultural sector is approximately 30 years behind in development when compared to other sectors. Around the world people are starving, and roughly 11%, or 815 million of the population go to bed hungry. Scarily, this is despite the fact that the industry produces more than enough to feed us all.
The global population is only increasing and is expected to reach well over 9.8 billion people by 2050. Demand for food is expected to increase by 60%, and as industries grow and the population increases, so it becomes more difficult to produce.
Starvation is only one cost of the uneven distribution of food. Wastage makes a huge contribution to climate change, and the same population groups that struggle to feed themselves are the ones that will struggle to implement household food security plans. Climate change and soil degradation, urbanization, pollution, and natural resource scarcity are all putting even more pressure on production.
The impending crisis needs to be addressed, food needs to be evenly distributed, waste management needs to be dealt with, and consumers need to be held responsible and sustainable production methods implemented.
Changing The Way Food Is Produced
Whether it is on a local scale or a global one, how food is produced is one of the biggest contributors to climate change that needs to be addressed. Encouraging people to grow food at home using methods that are low maintenance and effective, even in small spaces, enables consumers to save money. In addition, it has been shown to improve health through better access to nutrition and exercise. Home gardeners tend to steer away from harmful chemicals, which in turn is better for the environment, and are more likely to share surplus produce than chuck it away like its store-bought counterpart.
Home grown food gardens can be scaled to include urban farms and community gardens where vegetables are used in greening projects, rather than ornamentals. All of these contribute to less waste, greater health, and a much-improved carbon footprint. Certain communities have even started to supply local restaurants too, and food is traveling shorter distances and being produced in environmentally and health conscious ways. Reducing the carbon footprint is a crucial step in going green, and even if you can’t grow food at home you can do things like playing online slots rather than at a land based casino to help make a difference.
Opting for Greener Alternatives
On a global scale many large producers are focusing on environmentally conscious farming practices. Much more involved than just crop rotation, which is still a key component, machinery has been developed that eliminates the need to work a piece of land multiple times before planting. The machinery tills, furrows, plants and covers seed all in a single go.
Educating farmers on alternative uses for waste such as cornhusks has already started to reduce the amount of burning taking place. Many farmers practice burning as a method to get rid of waste at no expense. However, the cost to the environment is alarming, and by suggesting alternative methods this practice can be eliminated. Advanced irrigation practices and chemical application processes are all reducing the amount of water being used or getting contaminated.
These improved methods, together with research into alternative protein such as insect protein, which could reduce meat consumption and farming, are positive steps toward a sustainable future for consumers and the environment. Beef and dairy farming contribute significant amounts of methane to the environment, and use large tracts of land for grazing. By using alternatives, land can be more productively utilised and greenhouse gases reduced.
Alternatives such as 3D printing food have also been explored, and this allows for dietary requirement customisation too. Based on age, health, and sex, food can be printed to meet the needs of each individual’s nutritional requirement, supplying sufficient nutrition to each person at a price they can afford without the environmental destruction.
Whichever way the future of food unfolds, on thing is for sure, change is needed, and it is needed now.