Today is World Food Day, offering the opportunity to strengthen national and international solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and draw attention to achievements in food security and agricultural development. World Food Day was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1979, and this year's theme is "Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition." Let's think about what each part of that means in our lives:
Food security: There are an estimated 870 million hungry people on the planet. To feed this many people, we need to increase production of basic staple foods by 60 percent.
Nutrition: Two billion people worldwide lack micronutrients vital for good health. Producing more food is important. But it is not enough. Each person requires more than basic staple foods. Each one of us needs a balanced and nutritious diet. Agriculture must become more nutrition-sensitive, with a stronger focus on fruits, vegetables and other nutrient-dense foods.
Food Systems: A food system is made up of all the processes that ensure our food arrives from "farm to fork": how we grow, process, package, transport, store, market, purchase and eat our food. Since every aspect of our food systems has an effect on the final availability and accessibility of diverse, nutritious foods, we must constantly strive towards a healthier global food system.
Sustainability: By definition, sustainable food systems produce nutritious foods for all people today, while protecting the capacity of future generations to feed themselves. Yet, today almost 60 percent of the world’s ecosystems are degraded or used unsustainably, in large part because of environmentally harmful effects of our food systems. We can do better. By using resources more efficiently at every stage along the food chain, we can increase the amount of healthy food available worldwide. Getting the most food from every drop of water, plot of land and speck of fertilizer saves resources for the future. And we can all play a part in our own homes by reducing food waste.