The prevalence of food and water scarcity is something that, according to the UN, unfortunately affects over one-fifth of the world’s population. This staggering number can feel overwhelming, as well it should, but the wonderful things is that there are people and organizations working all the time to combat this lack of basic human necessities. Before introducing some of these people, and ways for you to get involved, here’s some information about the topic at hand. Each month, we will take a look at various topics through different lenses. For the purposes of this topic, we will take a look at food and water scarcity at a regional, national, and international level. “Regional” will be defined as the southern region of the United States.
Low food security involves reports of reduced food quality and variety and very low food security includes reports of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake. A food desert refers to an area or region without sufficient access to fruits, vegetables, and whole foods. Areas with this categorization usually have very few grocery stores or convenient stores within a reasonable distance from the population.
In North Georgia...
- The USDA has identified three food deserts in Rome, Georgia. With the acknowledgement and categorization of these food deserts, fortunately, there have been initiatives set in place to combat this food scarcity.
- The South Rome Community Garden, launched in 2012, has been working to partner with residents to grow crops and flowers in order to learn and continue practices of sustainable farming methods. This is a great opportunity for students, residents, and visitors alike to get involved with sustainable practices that reduce food scarcity.
In the United States...
- There is an estimated 30-40% of the total food supply that is wasted in the United States. This corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds of food, about $161 billion worth of food, wasted in 2010. While this not only has very clear ramifications for US citizens, it has global implications as well, most namely – US retailers and consumers must do more to reduce this waste.
- Much of the food that is produced in the US ends up in a landfill as a result of overproduction or the inability to sell the food in restaurants, stores, etc. In addition to this waste, the land, water, labor, energy, and other inputs focused on food production could be used towards something more beneficial to society.
- Food waste, according to the USDA, is “the single largest component going into municipal landfills.” This waste generates methane, which makes landfills the third largest source of methane in the United States – a major contributor to climate change.
We have already talked about the global impacts of climate change in connection to food and water, however, there is more going on than just at this level. Food shortages can often come from an uneven distribution of natural resource endowment for a country, as well as from human institutions, like government and public policy. There is an estimated 759 million people going hungry in the world. Without a change in the global food and agricultural system, the UN estimates that there will be an increase of 2 billion people hungry by 2050. One in nine people in the world is undernourished.
Here’s the good news: there are hundreds of organizations in the world striving to end hunger and thirst around the world. As innovative, empathetic, and creative people, we do have the ability to make an impact on the issues we see in the world. If you want more information about the themes highlighted in this post, please use the links below for a more holistic scope of this topic. We look forward to spending the month of October learning with you about organizations doing great things to end hunger and provide water access around the world.
Looking for more information?