“Our actions are our future; better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life.”
World Food Day is celebrated across the globe on October 16, to mark the anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, which was created in 1945. This day aims at tackling global hunger and striving to eradicate hunger across the world.
The day is in keeping with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 – a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries, developed and developing, in a global partnership.
The SDGs 2, “Zero Hunger” – End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. On this day, governments and organisations promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to achieve Zero Hunger, ensuring food security and nutritious diets for all. World Food Day is a chance to call for greater commitment to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2.
The theme for World Food Day 2021 is “Our actions are our future – Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life”.
The food we choose, and the way we consume it, affects our health and that of our planet. It has an impact on the way agri-food systems work. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the foremost need of a human being is food. Yet, we find that a staggering nine million people around the world die each year because of hunger. Combined with the current COVID-19 pandemic, political instability and climate change, things can take a turn for the worst.
If we, as a civilisation, really give it a thought and employ more natural and holistic ways to solve some of the seemingly unsolvable issues in terms of producing more organic and nourishing foods, thereby ensuring global food security, we would be able to save the world in its darkest hour.
The grim reality is that we have contributed to these negative externalities by our own horrendous actions, such as massive deforestation and rapid industrialisation, which have produced lots of bolts and nuts, but not a single grain of rice. Inorganic agricultural methods, such as ‘Genetically Modified Organisms’ (GMOs), and artificial fertilizers and pesticides negatively impact the quality of soil, and in turn the nutritional value of food.
Indeed, the saying “we are what we eat” has more varieties than we would like to accept. Food is our medicine, and if it is not nutritional, then it would only cause diseases and deficiencies. Therefore, inorganic processed synthetic foods simply won’t do. Interestingly, the quality of our lives greatly depends on the food we consume, the water we drink, and the air we breathe; all of which depends on the quality of the soil. We have seen civilisations fail because of insufficient agriculture; lamentably, we headed in this direction. However, if we make a turn in the right direction, we can see the day when all would be well-fed and happy.
Understanding that we need to cooperate with nature rather than compete is the first step. When Mahatma Gandhi was asked, “What is the greatest culture?”, he replied, “agriculture”. However, better than agriculture is “permaculture”. A compound word of ‘permanent’ and ‘culture’, it simply means to develop natural agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. By creating such a food forest, there would be an abundance of fruits, vegetables, grains, milk and honey. Even though these systems take some time to develop, the results would be prodigious.
Another solution is ‘Holistic Land Management’, a system originally developed by the Zimbabwean scientist Allan Savory. It involves systematic grazing of cattle and other livestock to improve the fertility of the soil, and consequently its agricultural productivity. In the same way, on a smaller scale, we can also compost our organic refuse by using a composting worm, technically called vermicompost. Heat-producing bacteria can also break down organic material in heaps. These methods would produce full organic fertilisers which can be used to grow a home kitchen garden.
Healthy food can be produced anywhere, by anyone, once we have fertile soil. Therefore, everyone can produce what they need, and use what they produce. Consequently, the physical activity of gardening can be a better, healthy hobby for both mind and body.
In conclusion, by living a more simply natural way of life, as stated previously, producing more nutritious and organic food along with clean drinking water, fresh air, and good sleep, accompanied with lots of physical activities, our quality of life would dramatically improve. Then, as we satisfy the basic needs, we can actually find time for the more important things in life that really matter, like our family, friends, and relationships. We therefore emphatically petition everyone to compost! Compost! Plant! Plant! And ensure a food secure future.
Special thanks to the Organic Guyana Environment Club for their contribution to the article.
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