Beyond nourishing bodies, food can also unite communities, and in fact provides a livelihood for millions of farming-related communities.
The world’s population is growing at an accelerated rate. In 1812, the population was 1 billion. In 1912, it grew to 1.5 billion. However in 2012, the world’s population exploded to 7 billion. It is indisputable that more food is necessary to support the increased population.
Beyond nourishing bodies, food can also unite communities, and in fact provides a livelihood for millions of farming-related communities. With all the good that food has provided, it may be alarming to note that the current food system is a double-edged sword to mankind.
While it heals the body, food may also bring about harm in the form of diabetes and coronary-related diseases. Instead supporting and connecting farming communities, some societies may have in place systems that provide opportunities to exploit workers, worsen racial and income inequality, and propagate economic leakage.
Looking through an environmental lens, current farming methods to increase production in the shortest possible time may also be causing air and water pollution and leaching minerals from soil, and altering the actual nutrition and quality of the produce. This ultimately contributed to the devastating impact on the earth and accelerating climate change as well as causing harm to overall health of the people consuming the produce.
For decades, the public policies and corporations that shape our food and agricultural systems have heavily influenced farmers in their management of production processes. For instance, it is not uncommon for corporations to push food factories to maximise marketable food product output from farming inputs like seeds and fertilizers, while neglecting other equally important aspects of food production. By ignoring the fact that farming is a complex, interdependent network of bio resources, the food systems are inevitably built on weak infrastructure that will be unable to support long-term sustainability.
Finally, floods and droughts in agricultural countries incur billions of dollars in damages every year. Healthier soils can absorb, store and release water to reduce the likelihood of such natural disasters and that is not possible with the continuous depletion of the quality of the soil to meet increased and unsustainable agricultural demands.
By oversimplifying the landscape in the name of efficiency, industrial agriculture impoverishes the farming ecosystem. This creates resource deficits that farmers must compensate through heavy application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, bringing about serious environmental consequences.