Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The big picture

I must say, my enthusiasm about the local food movement is waning somewhat. Oh, no doubt I'll continue buying what I don't grow from people I know, like and trust, but in the scheme of things, it isn't seeming as important or stirring me up as much as it has in the past. There are much , much bigger food issues that we need to push on and solve.
Concentrating on local food as a burning issue makes me feel a bit like a spoiled child in a "have " world, as opposed to a "have not" world.
It isn't right that we worry so much about where our food comes from when 1 billion people quite simply don't have enough food, and so very many will die of starvation.
So as we worry about whether or not our cheese is imported or local, many ,many mothers in Africa are wondering how to feed their children just to keep them alive.
People seem to have the ability to organize themselves to "Run for the Cure", to support building campaigns for hospitals, and to support school fundraising efforts.
But as a world community that we truly are, we turn a blind eye to those in third world countries who do not have enough food to eat.
Government officials get together, seemingly unable to do anything to solve this crisis.
As Canadians and Americans get fatter and suffer more debilitating disease because of overconsumption, people starve.
It is estimated that we waste,( as in throw away) 27% of food that is available for consumption. That amounts to 1 lb of food per day, per person. Think of all the people that could feed if governments and people worked together to make it happen.
There are so many causes that become popular and raise incredible amounts of money. Cancer seems to be one at this point...pink ribbons are everywhere, and corporate support abounds. Why not feeding starving people? Why is it not worthy enough to merit our attention?
Many agencies try to work to erase world hunger, but they struggle with inadequate funding and a lack of government commitment.
So as we enter int the season of excess and worry about where to purchase our goodies and gifts, think about what a difference you could make. In very real terms, you can save lives.


Alan said...

I have to disagree. Not with your points about our excess, the disproportionate number of have-nots in the world, nor with government's inability to fix anything. I think you are spot on there. But, local food is one of the key to solving the problem. Local food is hard. It requires a totally different approach to food production and to life. It puts things (food, water, waste, energy, life) back into the context of the local resource pool. That pool becomes the limit of life in that area (that's how all of nature works when we don't muck it up.) Discovering ways to live locally and helping the needy of the world do the same is the only way forward. (I could go on here for a while yet, but the comment section on another's blog isn't really the appropriate place...) Would love to discuss it more sometime.

Linda said...

Hi Alan, Thanks for your comment. I can't say I totally disagree with you,but I do feel frustrated sometimes that local food seems to be a luxury for the privileged (but as a farmer I am not getting rich),and more of a "look at me" event, while we turn our heads to the fact that many people in the world starve everyday. I agree that we need to help build local food systems in third world countries, but we also need to do something very immediate to save lives today.I think world hunger is just not enough of a priority. How can anything be more important?