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Food

The culture and politics of food.


World Food Day Focuses on the Value of Family Farms



National Geographic celebrates the 33rd anniversary of World Food by emphasizing the 500 million family farmers who are responsible for 56 percent of the planet’s food supply.

With the global population expected to increase by 35 percent come 2050, the need for food poses one of the world’s biggest dangers, as crop production will need to double in order to accommodate this escalation. Policymakers in the developed world tend to look at multinational agribusinesses with industrial-sized farms. Family farms, however, are the ones with sustainable solutions: operating with viable, low-tech agricultural techniques, these farms are more adaptable to the warming world while ensuring the security of a global food supply. Rather than turning to the fertilizers and pesticides common in agribusinesses, small-scale farms favor indigenous plants that help protect increasingly stressed natural resources (such as water) while simultaneously improving the density of nutrients in crops.

Agricultural production emits more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined, and clearing habitats for farmland greatly increases the loss of biodiversity. By changing our diets, using resources more efficiently, and growing on already existent farms, a sustainable solution could also be a realistic one.

National Geographic illustrates global trends and issues in food production with this video:

Image by Rex Turgano, licensed under Creative Commons