In his recent article “How to Feed the World” on the World Policy Blog, Alvaro Rodriguez notes that our current industrial food system is failing to feed the world.
Today roughly 15 percent of the world’s population, some 1 billion people, goes hungry. At the same time, fertilizer overuse remains a major cause of environmental degradation. The dominant agricultural production model also wastes an astounding amount of food. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), over a third of all food produced gets lost in present production and consumption systems. With our world’s population projected to grow to 10 billion people by 2050, feeding the world is not going to get any easier. Industrial agriculture fails to provide safe and abundant food production and damages the environment, putting long-term food production at risk.
He believes the answer can be found in groups like the Zimbabwe Small Holder Organic Farmer’s Forum, a national organization committed to the promotion of a small but potentially world-changing concept called “agroecology.”
Agroecology applies ecological science to the design of agricultural systems. It uses recycled biomass to create favorable soil conditions, minimize losses of resources, and manage organic matter. It also emphasizes the importance of having diverse crop species. It is a comprehensive approach that considers the interactions of important biophysical, technical, and socioeconomic components of farming systems.