This year’s World Food Day highlights how climate change has a huge impact on our food production, and how our food growing practices should adapt to these changes.
But what exactly is World Food Day and why should we care about it? World Food Day is not just a celebration of food, instead, the day is focused on raising awareness for issues related to poverty and hunger. The day is also recognized in more than 150 countries around the world in honor of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. Since then, the day has adopted a number of different themes each year to highlight relevant issues and provide a common rallying point.
Going back to this year’s theme of: Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too. Climate change is becoming more and more evident, and we may soon feel its effects in our Earth and way of living – if we aren’t already feeling it. Food security is one of the biggest issues related to climate change - and the first to feel it would be the world’s poorest – including the farmers, fishers, and basically food growers who would have to deal with the effects of rising temperatures and weather disasters in their way of living and work.
Some of us might say that we are not part of the food growers sector and are hence unlikely to feel the effects of climate change. But the sad reality is, what affects the food growers will sooner or later affect all of us, as everyone obviously needs food in order to survive and thrive.
Facts you need to know about climate change and food
To give you an idea on how climate change affects our food production and security, here are a few facts you need to know:
Severe weather changes and conditions could adversely affect crop survival and yields. The agriculture industry is highly dependent on the climate, so harsh weather conditions brought about by climate change such as increasing numbers of droughts, hurricanes, and floods could result to lower crop survival and yields, which could mean lesser amount of food produced.
Water could become a problem. Climate-change could bring about droughts in regions that depended on rain for their agriculture and crops. No rain for long periods of time could make these regions depend on irrigation, which could bring about higher costs and even conflict over water.
Soil could also suffer. Shift in temperatures could also affect the soil’s arability; hence the soil and nutrients might become less suitable for crops production.
Planting and harvesting seasons could change. As the climate changes, the shifting seasons and rainfall patterns could affect the food growers’ planting and harvesting seasons. This could in turn impact the amount of food they can produce in a year.
All these facts boil down to one scary truth: that climate-change will have a huge impact on our food production and security.
What can you do to help?
So what can we do in our own homes that could somehow alleviate food security – even if it is just to secure that we have a sufficient supply of healthy food in our tables? Here are a few ways how:
Grow your own food. We don’t have to fully rely on commercial food producers for all our food needs, we can produce our herbs and even some of our vegetable greens from the comforts of our own home. This is exactly what we are trying to do with our GrowFood campaign. With the amount of options available – from container to vertical to community gardening, anyone can start growing food in a more sustainable and healthier way for our Earth and for us.
Minimize food waste. Approximately one-third of food produced – or 1.3 billion tons of food goes to waste, while 1 in 9 people on Earth do not have enough food to lead a healthy and active life. Minimize the amount of food that goes to waste in your own home by being more mindful of it – only prepare enough for your family, adjust servings to minimize leftovers, and properly store leftovers to upcycle them into new dishes.
Donate food if you can. Once you have started growing your own food, you can opt to barter or even donate your excess crop yields to your neighbors and friends. If you are growing vegetables in your yard, you can gift your excess tomatoes and lettuce to your neighbors – doing so will allow them to become less dependent to commercial food producers, and may also inspire them to grow their own vegetables. On the other hand, if you are a member of a community garden, you can opt to barter your crops to your co-gardeners for a more diverse vegetable plate.