When people talk about food and sustainability issues, many assume that our biggest problems lie in farming, agriculture, and the overall production of food. Similarly, the price and economics of food are issues that get a lot of attention. But one food and sustainability issue that truly affects us all the issue of food security.
The Food and Agriculture Organization defines “food security as, “…Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life,” (1). Unfortunately, food security does not exist for everyone as the ability for people to obtain food relies on affordability, accessibility, and availability. The United Stated Department of Agriculture estimates that 14.5 percents of households in America over 20 percent of households with children were food insecure in 2010, even in a country with widespread grocery stores and vast overconsumption (2). Food insecurity is most present in developing countries, where food simply may not be available, or could be contaminated.
Food insecurity can result in malnutrition and even starvation, greatly affecting the overall health of people, which can become the cause of other sicknesses and deprivations. Without food on a daily basis, ours bodies simply cannot work, and bringing oneself out of a food insecure state can become more and more difficult. Similar phenomenons can occur in “food deserts” where access and availability of healthy and nutritious foods simply does not exists. Food deserts are very present in certain low income neighborhoods, where people reply on cheaper snack foods and fast food to feed themselves and their families.
With a growing world population, food insecurity is going to become a rising issue that we must solve. In my opinion, access to food should be a human right, one that governments all around the world need to start focusing on immediately. Food stamps and hunger shelters are small solutions to the larger issue, but I think the real solution is about distribution of food to the areas in the most need. The earth and its increased agricultural technology has the capacity to produce enough food to feed its population, but we must figure out how to deliver this food to the people who need it, rather than wasting our leftovers.
(1) “What Does Food Security Mean?” Sustainable Table. http://www.sustainabletable.org/280/food-security-food-access
(2) “What Does Food Security Mean?” Sustainable Table. http://www.sustainabletable.org/280/food-security-food-access