Today is World Food Day, the UN's annual initiative to raise awareness of food security issues around the planet. And unusually, there's a glimmer of good news around the topic; Nature has an article in the new issue of the magazine that describes a series of steps that can be taken to feed the entire population of the world as it continues to grow over the next century.
The solutions suggested by scientists at McGill University, Stockholm University and the University of Minnesota (among others) are bullet-pointed below:
- Eliminate farming in tropical rainforests and wild lands; they're ecologically important areas that have low food output
- Increase food production by nearly 60% in underused pieces of arable land in Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe
- Make better use of water, fertilizers, and chemicals
- Reduce the consumption of meat, particularly in developed countries
- Eliminate food waste; almost a third of all grown food gets thrown out, left to rot, or destroyed by pests
These simple steps "could double food production while greatly reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture," according to the article.
Of course, implementing sound ideas takes public will, government direction and industry support. But the knowledge that feeding a hungry planet is possible should be a beacon to rally around.