I have this really great friend, Alyssa, who gave me a book a while back that she wanted me to read. It’s by Howard G. Buffet, titled Forty Chances Finding Hope in a Hungry World. To be honest I wasn’t fully prepared for what I found within its pages… I thought I knew a little bit about the world hunger crisis and its effects on agriculture… I know nothing. Well not exactly, what I know is like a drop in the ocean when we compare it to the size and scale of the issue at hand. (I haven’t even finished the book yet.)
Hunger. What is it to us? Most of us, if we can afford the luxury of reading a blog can’t imagine hunger as anything more than a minor nuisance between meals. I have never known what hunger truly feels like, I was blessed to be born into a food secure family. My wonderful parents always made sure that there was food on the table and enough money left over to cover our other expenses. Unfortunately that is not the case for all the children born in this world or even this country. How many people in this country do you think are food insecure? Well in 2011 the nations overall food insecurity rate was 16.4 %. Let me put that into simpler terms over 50 Million people were food insecure that year. Child food insecurity is much worse at 22.4% of children, thats a little over 16 million children in the US that went hungry. 19% of them were likely ineligible for government assistance because they lived just above the poverty level. Let that sink in for a minute…Thats in the land of the free, home of the brave ladies and gentlemen! Can you imagine what global hunger must be like if those are the statistics for our own dear country? Now take your imagination and times it by ten… its that bad if not worse.
I’m not trying to make you feel like you should curl up in the fetal position and cry for the rest of the day, I would much rather you go pick up a copy of Forty Chances yourself. Its going to make you think, cry (unless your heartless), but most of all I hope that this book will make you think about agriculture and global food production. Its a must read for everyone, not just farmers/ranchers or those with an agricultural interest, I mean everyone. I believe that every man/woman has a vested interest in agriculture and global food production. We all need to eat, therefore we all have to care about food production.
Farmers/ranchers/agriculturalists are however, the people that I must implore to read this book. I know that many of you barley have time to keep up with the farm and family; but you can always find a few minutes for a good read. We carry the weight of feeding the world on our shoulders, no pressure. (except there is) We already know that we have to feed 9 billion people by 2050, but we can’t even feed everyone today. Which is only a half truth because globally we produce enough food to fill every man, woman, and child’s needs. Both nutritionally and calorically. What?? Yes, we can feed everyone. ( yeah I nearly fell over when I read that too) Why don’t we? Mostly because people are jerks and thats my nice way of putting it. Food+ hungry people= power. An equation that many war lords are all to aware of. We have power too. Power in our seed genetics, technology, knowledge.
Howard really does have a way about conveying his knowledge of agriculture and global food insecurity that will change the way you think about food.