Guest blog by Jessie Radies, Local Food Associate, Northlands
The future of our food system depends on us and the choices we make every day. In North America, what we eat, where we buy it and what we grow, all help determine the make-up of our global food system.
There is growing collective recognition that our global food system, as it operates today, is not feeding our planet efficiently and comes at a great cost. Regions are not encouraged to be self-reliant, farming is not financially viable with an ongoing effort to drive down the cost of production, starvation is still a reality and much of the food grown and raised is wasted before it ever gets eaten.
Globally, science and agriculture are focused on providing enough calories to feed a global population of 9 billion people by 2050. Today we imagine this by making agriculture production efficient and low cost; having infrastructure that can transport, store and process food products and ingredients efficiently around the globe. It also requires chemicals and GMO’s to increase annual production and protect against disease and minimize the risk of crop failure. It means varieties of fruits and vegetables are grown based on their ability to be shipped, so oranges, bananas and fresh tomatoes can be a staple in our North American diet year round and can be shipped thousands of miles before they end up on our plate.
In my lifetime our food system has changed from one that was basically local to one that is primarily global, but the emergent edge of food is hyper-local and small, made up of urban agriculture, heritage varieties and artisan products.