This year is the 75th Anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This year the theme is ‘Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our actions are our future.’ There are a lot of different ideas floating around in this theme but the main idea is to make good food decisions that bear fruit in the future. Lets break down this year’s theme.
Many of us are far removed from the food production process. Cooking is a very foreign concept to some, far less growing food. However, taking time to thoughtfully grow food is an important first step. It is easy to take for granted that other people make this decision on a grand scale providing for us, however if that were to change the ramifications would be incredible. There needs to be a greater understanding of the amount of work that goes into feeding people. Although it is not a major issue for many of us there are still many people in this world starving. ‘More than two billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food.’*
We may all eat, but that does not mean we are all healthy. Access to clean drinking water is still a major issue in many parts of the world. For many of us, eating unhealthy food is a luxury we are afforded. We have countless choices as to what we can eat and sometimes we choose poorly. This is another major issue which can turn into habit, causing major problems. ‘Poor diets and sedentary lifestyles have led to soaring obesity rates, not only in developed countries, but also low-income countries, where hunger and obesity often coexist. No region is exempt.’*
Our choices need to be more sustainable. Farms are not inexhaustible. Action must be taken to make sure things are sustainable for the future. Our practices need to make sense now and ensure that something is left behind for future generations. Leaving good examples which they can be built on. ‘Intensified food production, combined with climate change, is causing a rapid loss of biodiversity. Currently, only nine plant species account for sixty-six percent of total food crop production.’*
There are so many divisive issues in the world today that it is easy to forget we are all in this together. Food problems are a global issue that may not affect you personally but won’t be solved unless we all take action. Like it or not we are all affected and we all have a part to play. Every person has to eat to survive and when we start making sure other’s plates are full before ours, is when the world will truly become a better place. ‘The global population is expected to reach almost ten billion by 2050, significantly increasing the demand of food.’*
Our Actions Are Our Future
The world is at a tipping point. No one could have predicted the way 2020 has turned out so far and if nothing else it should have taught all of us that our actions have repercussions. They may not all be obvious immediately but sooner or later what we do affects the future. The old saying ‘you sow what you reap’, still has incredible truth to it. Focusing on one thing doesn’t work. We have to take all the issues into account and make sure they are balanced. Simply producing more food is not enough. We must make sure it nourishes us and is sustainable for the future. Furthermore, making decisions to only benefit a few will create unexpected problems. Our actions today are pivotal in making a better tomorrow. ‘If our food systems are not transformed, undernourishment and malnutrition will greatly increase by 2050. The consequences could worsen due to income inequality, unemployment, or poor access to services.’*
*Fast facts from the FAO.