Feedback Founder Tristram Stuart fights assumption world ‘needs’ dramatically more food production
As Tristram notes in his blog post for the World Economic Forum’s AGENDA blog, conventional wisdom is that the world ‘needs’ to increase food production by 50 to 100% by 2050. This assumption is misguided; we must be more efficient in our consumption habits, instead of wrecking the planet’s ecosystem services in the name of ever greater food production.
Tristram discusses how increased demand for meat and dairy drives most of the projected extra demand for food. This means that lowering meat and dairy consumption could alleviate much of the supposed need for ever-greater food production.
Additionally, high levels of food waste in the developed world suggests there’s no guarantee that increasing global food production would eliminate world hunger.
Most frightening, dramatically increasing current food production requires surrendering humanity to irreversible climate change. The world is primarily increasing food production by increasing the amount of land under cultivation. Thus, increasing food production requires expanding the agricultural frontier, a process that destroys biodiversity, interrupts hydrological cycles, and surrenders humanity to severe climatic change. This will hamstring humanity’s ability to feed itself – forever.
We must wake up to our role in the world’s food system: how we create it and how we, as social individuals, can change it.
This is what we have been doing since 2009 through our Feeding the 5000 events, holding massive public feasts using food that would have been otherwise wasted, with local partners promoting solutions that exist and amplifying public outcry about the causes of food waste. These events have now been replicated in 20 cities. It’s one of the things any country can do: propel a grassroots demand for change in the public consciousness of food consumption and food waste.
As Tristram writes, the ‘need’ for extra food must not be met by slashing and burning virgin forests for extra farmland, but rather by creating more efficient consumption habits.
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