Food Game Changer

We've got billions of people to feed on this planet and billions more on the way and yet 75-percent of the world's farm land is used to graze livestock or grow livestock feed. Now a major report says it is time to shift our diets around the world. Among other things it says Eat Less Meat. We hear from the McGill researcher at the forefront of cultivating what he and his colleagues believe would change the game on world hunger, food prices and keeping farmers in business.

Part Three of The Current

Food Game Changer - Navin Ramankutty

We started this segment with the sound of agriculture in some parts of the world - not a tractor seeding a field or a combine harvesting grain, but a bulldozer razing rainforest to clear land for crops or pasture. Converting more of the earth into farmland has been one answer to the problem of food security. The famine in Somalia shows how acute the problem has become. We aired a clip from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking last month.

The world is racing towards a remarkable milestone. The United Nations projects the global population will reach seven billion by the end of this month. Seven billion people who need to be fed at a time when there are already a billion people who don't get enough to eat. Not surprisingly, farmers, policymakers, and the wider agricultural industry have become preoccupied with increasing food production. And by mid- century the population is expected to balloon to 9 billion.

So if you can increase food production and decrease agriculture's environmental impact and keep food prices from skyrocketing that could be a real game changer. An international team of researchers has drawn up a plan it believes could do just that. The researchers discuss their work in the current issue of the journal Nature in an article called Solutions for a Cultivated Planet. One of the team leaders is Navin Ramankutty, an associate professor of geography at McGill University and the Canada Research Chair in Land-Use and Land-Cover Change. And as part of our project, Game Changer, Navin Ramankutty joined us from Montreal.

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Last Word - Vegan Myths

We've been talking about growing more food on the world's farms. If the only concern is calories per acre, raising animals may not be the most efficient use of land.

Still, if you're kind of done with vegetarians extolling life without meat, we've got something that may or may not help ... a couple of vegetarians singing about it! The song is called: Vegan Myths Debunked.

Other segments from today's show:

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