Blog Action Day 2011 – Food

by Mark Lovett on October 16, 2011

Walk into any major supermarket in America or Europe and you’ll see food products, acres of them, as far as the eye can see.  From fresh fruits & vegetables to dairy products, bread, meat, seafood, and a wide range of both canned & frozen goods.  But in less developed parts of the world, it’s a very different story, and that’s why Blog Action Day 2011 decided to focus on the critical issue of food this year.

The statistics are sad, evidenced by data from the World Food Programme:

Hunger is Number One Health RiskOne in Seven People go to Sleep HungryOne in Four Children are Underweight925 Million People Worldwide Are HungryThe reasons for this shortage of food in developing countries are many, and every region must deal with its own unique set of circumstances, but a key organization that has analyzed the situation is the Earth Policy Institute, led by Lester Brown.  From the list of issues detailed below, it’s obvious that the food supply crisis is not being caused by just one or two factors, and it also becomes evident that many of these adverse dynamics feed upon each other, serving to make matters worse.

Earth Policy InstituteThe Nature of Our Extreme Food Crisis

  • Global population is increasing by 75 million per year
  • Increasing affluence means more meat consumption
  • Little unused arable land is left for crop expansion
  • Rising energy cost increase food production cost
  • Over-pumped aquifers lead to falling water tables
  • Loss of cropland to industry and residential use
  • Growth in crop yields has been slowing recently
  • Soil erosion and climate change expanding deserts
  • Deforestation and overgrazing reduce soil quality
  • Expanding use of food as biofuel adds price pressure

Peak Oil – Water Shortages – Climate Change – Population

This video, produced by the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, illustrates the situation in a graphically compelling manner – in just three minutes.

YouTube Preview Image

How do we feed the world without destroying it?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim McQuaid October 17, 2011 at 7:23 am

I pick up “old” food from a local supermarket to deliver to the local homeless shelter. It is amazing how much food is discarded every day by every supermarket.


commonweeder October 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Frances Moore Lappe with her Diet for a Small Planet first brought me to an awareness of the problems of food production, especially the consequences of eating meat. And eating meat the way we Americans do. I am not a vegetarian, but by eating locally, and eating much less meat, I hope I am not only healthier myself, but working towards a healthier planet. That is something we can all do.


Global Patriot October 16, 2011 at 2:24 pm

My awareness on the topic first came from In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, both by Michael Pollan. Like you, I’m now eating more local, more organic and less meat. I’ll hvae to check out Diet for a Small Planet, as the issue we now confront is the overall world population expanding from 7 to 9 billion while millions become ever more affluent and their meat consumption increases.


Christina October 16, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Great blog. I will be back.


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