Today, October 16, is World Food Day.  It’s a quiet, little occasion, with no exciting mass mobilization of people just like in Earth Hour (which last March was participated by hundreds of millions), but it’s very important nonetheless.

    Clean Your Plate campaign during the 1940s.

    We’re talking global food security here. Since 1981, when World Food Day was first celebrated, that has always been the concern. Every year, the event is given a theme (Food for All, Trees for Life, Youth Against Hunger, Fight Hunger to Reduce Poverty, Harvesting Nature’s Diversity, etc.). But whatever they’re called, they’re more or less a variation of that same big concern—food security all over the world.

    Food Issues We see our supermarkets and groceries all filled up with various foods each time we visit, so it’s rather hard to imagine there is such a food crisis going on. But know that there is. In impoverished countries—men, women, children, the elderly—subsist on just one meal a day, and a nutritionally-barren meal at that. Farmers who toil on the fields don’t get the compensation they deserve for all their back-breaking efforts. As population continues to rise, demand for food will increase too.

    Perfectly good wasted food

    This year’s World Food Day theme is Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth, a theme that’s very optimistic and action-oriented.  We’ll need that optimism and action plan, so we can tackle the various threats to global food security right now.

    These are:

    Climate change. Inarguably, this is food security’s biggest challenge.  Climate change is a clear indication that nature’s balance is messed up. Weather patterns become erratic and more intense. Temperatures either go up or dip. Sea levels rise. And landscapes drastically change. Sadly, plants, trees, and wildlife simply don’t have enough time to evolve to adapt to the new conditions.  Obviously, agriculture takes a hit too because it depends so much on nature—on water, air, soil, and the weather.  When plants refuse to flower because it’s too humid, when pests abound because of hot temperatures, when supertyphoons destroy crops such as rice, and when too-cold weather freezes our vegetables, we’re screwed.

    Aging farmersWe have a lot to thank farmers for. Without them, who would grow our food?  That’s why the rapid decline of farmers—old farmers ageing out, with few young ones to replace them—is a big concern.  The next generation is hesitant to go into farming because of lack of capital or own land. Others are drawn to careers that are more financially-rewarding, easier, and prestigious. And with climate change around, this poses uncertain problems for the unprepared, aspiring farmer.

    Massive bee die-offsIt might be an exaggeration to say that when the bees go extinct, we die too—because after all, bees are responsible for pollinating majority of the food crops we depend on. Yes, food production will be significantly affected, but not to a point that we’ll die too. Other insect pollinators will take over the bees, they say, and life will go on for us.

    But a species snuffed out of this planet is still a death to mourn. Especially if the reason for their death is something as preventable as the use of pesticides. Whether the dwindling bee population will affect food security or not, the more serious matter to think about is that once again a species is in danger of being wiped out all because of us.

    Genetic engineeringPlant genetic engineering has always prided itself as a well-meaning solution to many of agriculture’s problems: how to resist pests, how to get better, faster yield, how to have vitamin-fortified crops, how to fare in extreme weather conditions, etc. If done correctly and morally, genetically modified food (GMO food) just might be able to address the global food insecurity problem we have. Still, there are ethical and health safety issues to consider. As a rule, nature does not like being messed around with, and our interventions may have unintended, unforeseeable effects.

    Soil erosionAccording to the WWF, we’ve lost half of the topsoil on our planet in the last 150 years. That’s pretty serious because the topsoil happens to be where plants get most of their nutrients. Deforestation and incorrect agricultural practices such as overgrazing and use of pesticides are to blame. The topsoil gets washed into our rivers and lakes, polluting them and affecting aquatic life, or else they clog our waterways, and contribute to flooding.

    Because we’re left with barren earth, we depend on chemical fertilizers to enrich the land. Often though these fertilizers destroy nature’s balance—polluting the soil, killing the soil’s biodiversity, and eventually contaminating our food.

    Land “development” Agricultural land turned into developed land is another serious threat to food security.  Once that land is “developed” for buildings, we forever lose one more patch of land that could have been purposed for food production.

    What are the 6 major threats to food security?
    • Inadequate Safety Nets. Poor households are characterized by few income-earners, and many dependants.
    • Weak Support Networks and Disaster Management Systems.
    • Inadequate and Unstable Household Food Production.
    • Lack of purchasing power.
    • Poor Nutritional Status.
    What are the five major types of food poisoning?
    There are more than 250 foodborne illnesses, and the top five include norovirus, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter, and Staphylococcus aureus (Staph). Foodborne illness (also called food poisoning) is an illness that occurs within hours to days after consuming contaminated foods. more
    How is water scarcity a threat to food production?
    Water Crisis Water scarcity has a huge impact on food production. Without water people do not have a means of watering their crops and, therefore, to provide food for the fast growing population. more
    Which of the following steps is a major threat to the environment?
    Desertification is an effect of land degradation. This destroys the flora and fauna in those regions. Both natural and human actions like pollution, deforestation, droughts, extreme climates, etc. result in desertification. It can affect the economy negatively and is also a threat to the remaining ecology. more
    How does climate change affect food availability food accessibility food utilization and food systems stability?
    Climate change has been found to have an impact on food safety, particularly on incidence and prevalence of food-borne diseases. Increased climate variability, increased frequency and intensity of extreme events as well as slow ongoing changes will affect the stability of food supply, access and utilization. more
    What is the major factor in controlling food and beverage cost?
    Another factor that is crucial to Purchasing while keeping food and beverage cost control in mind is the Product Yield. Product yield essentially gives the amount of the item ordered that can be used for preparing the dish, that is, the Edible Portion. You must also consider the Waste Percentage of the item. more
    What are the 5 major food borne illnesses?
    The top five germs that cause illnesses from food eaten in the United States are:
    • Norovirus.
    • Salmonella.
    • Clostridium perfringens.
    • Campylobacter.
    • Staphylococcus aureus (Staph)
    What is the most serious threat to food security?
    The main threats to food security are (1) world population growth, (2) the increase demand for food, (3) food price, (4) the disappearance of the variety of agricultural plant species (4) the increase in the area of scarcity water and the limitation of the availability of land and (5) the food losses and food waste. more
    What are the five major causes of food insecurity?
    Some of the causes of food insecurity include:
    • Poverty, unemployment, or low income.
    • Lack of affordable housing.
    • Chronic health conditions or lack of access to healthcare.
    • Systemic racism and racial discrimination.
    What is the greatest threat to Food Security?
    The greatest threat to global food security is water insecurity. Expanding food production will be critical to sustaining human health, economic productivity, and overall peace and security. more
    What are food chains and food webs Why are smaller food chains better?
    Smaller food chains are better because the energy loss at each trophic level is so great that after three or four trophic levels, there is very little usable energy remaining to support the next trophic level. As a result, the reduced size provides additional stability. more


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