The food security meme is in full swing this morning (‘Global food stocks face crisis, says chief scientist‘) and yet again GM and other techno-fixes are at the heart of Big Farming answers. But just last week the influential and highly-regarded Worldwatch Institute suggested a completely different approach.
Innovations that Nourish the Planet spotlights successful agricultural innovations and unearths major successes in preventing food waste, building resilience to climate change, and strengthening farming in cities. The report provides a roadmap for increased agricultural investment and more-efficient ways to alleviate global hunger and poverty. Drawing from the world’s leading agricultural experts and from hundreds of innovations that are already working on the ground, the report outlines 15 proven, environmentally sustainable prescriptions.
The authors suggest that instead of producing more food to meet the world’s growing population needs, a more effective way to address food security issues and climate change would be to encourage self-sufficiency and waste reduction, in wealthier and poorer nations alike.
“If we shift just some of our attention away from production to consumption issues and reducing food waste, we might actually get quite a big bang for our buck, because that ground has been neglected,” said Brian Halweil, co-director of the project.
Anna Lappé, the author of a chapter in the report entitled Coping with Climate Change and Building Resilience, said: “We have really emphasised a set of policies over the past half a century that have prioritised an agricultural system that is incredibly fuel-intensive and emissions-based.”
As Patrick Mulvany (UK Food Group), Tim Aldred (Progressio), Kato Lambrechts ( ) (Christian Aid) and Kirtana Chandrasekaran (FOE) wrote in 2009:
“It is not as if we don’t know how to turn the food crisis around. Recent research confirms that globally more than two-thirds of food is provided by small-scale producers, not global food companies, though they claim – and would wish to control – more. These small-scale food providers – farmers, livestock keepers, fisher peoples – many using resilient ecological approaches which have been proven successful in helping them adapt to climate change, need increased recognition and inclusion in decision-making at all levels. This will have a high impact on eradicating hunger now.”
See also Jon Cloke on the Food Security Meme and Kirtana Chandrasakeran on Food Sovereignty in our Read section.