Healthy Food and Agriculture
While the world produces enough food for every person on Earth to eat well and some stuff themselves to obesity, almost a billion people live with hunger and are under-nourished.Modern industrial agriculture emphasizes commercial efficiency rather than healthy, accessible food. Commercialization of seeds reduces genetic diversity and undervalues traditional knowledge of food crops and garden plants. It also deprives poor farmers of seeds essential for their livelihoods and forces them out of the market by pushing prices up for supplies and food. Low incomes, high unemployment and rising food prices worsen the situation. Crop varieties have been reduced to a few beneficial commercially, negatively affecting soil fertility, pollination and the nutritional quality of food crops.Current livestock production also needs to return to more sustainable, ecologically responsible practices. Intensive management, the antibiotics and other substances needed to make it work pose health risks to humans, such as water contamination and outbreaks of bird flu.
|Why should we care?
- We are what we eat.
- By buying local organic produce we ensure local healthy food can be grown and raised for generations to come.
- Buying slightly more expensive but healthier food we enjoy better nutrition, avoid harmful elements and reduce medical costs. .
- Growing local crop varieties, preserving and sharing heritage seeds ?provide more types of produce and livestock than global commercial food providers making millions from one crop variety.
- Global food supply is under threat if we continue to use pesticides that kill pollinator insects.
- About 75% of food biodiversity ?has been lost in the 20th century, and we continue to lose biodiversity at the rate of 2% every year.
- Today 80% of the world’s dietary energy is supplied by just 12 industrial crops.
- Of 16,000 apple varieties in North America, less than 3,500 remain commercially available.
- In the US, 69% of all corn and 47% of all soybean seeds are purchased from just four major companies.
- Pesticides contain about 107 active ingredients that cause cancer in animals or humans, and 83 of those are still in use today.
- About 70% of fruit, vegetable and nut crops require the help of pollinators such as bees In the past 7 years, bee numbers have been declining at an annual rate of 34%.
- In locations where bee populations have decreased drastically, whole orchards have to be pollinated by hand.
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