Each year, the world produces about 1,471 pounds 670 kilograms of edible food for every person on the planet. We only eat about half of that. What happens to the rest? This video breaks it down — and gives you a few suggestions for what you can do to fix the problem.
MacArthur genius using satellite data to get a space-eye view of our food system.
So, for example, Lobell and his collaborators have been able to show how global warming is stunting major food crops. Depressing findings like this have a practical side: They show plant breeders and farmers the kind adaptations they need to be working on.
What is new now is the scramble to secure land abroad for more basic food and feed crops—including wheat, rice, corn, and soybeans—and for biofuels. These land acquisitions of the last several years, or “land grabs” as they are sometimes called, represent a new stage in the emerging geopolitics of food scarcity. They are occurring on a scale and at a pace not seen before.
Without the support of Big River Farms, its unclear whether someone like Gaabane—whose English, income, and familiarity with U.S. food systems are limited—would be able to break into commercial farming and do so sustainably. The fact is, in a food economy that favors the big and industrial, its difficult for anyone to successfully start a small, sustainable farm.
New farmers make up a smaller proportion of all farmers today than they did 30 years ago. In 1982, 38 percent of farmers had been farming for fewer than 10 years; in 2007 that figure was 26 percent. (The USDA is set to come out with updated numbers in winter 2014.)
Consuelo Castillo, a community organizer in Lempira, a land reform settlement in Bajo Aguán, said, “Our goal is for everyone who is part of the land occupations to have access to land. Land is our first mother. For us farmers, we dont have life without land.”