Don’t Feed the Hungry

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.” — Archbishop Hélder Câmara

Suzanne Lindgren writes at Utne Blogs:

When it comes to feeding the world, most of us support the idea. We are taught from a young age that if someone is hungry it’s our moral duty to feed them, whether they live down the street or in another country. For decades, agriculture companies have used the noble goal of “feeding the world” to increase yields by any means possible, from genetic modification to the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This logic has justified ecological destruction from prairies to rainforests. It has wreaked havoc on indigenous and small-farming communities. And with 870 million chronically undernourished people on earth right now, it has failed to get food to the people who need it most.

Instead of a fed planet, we have monoculture farms, poisons on food, and toxic runoff in our land and water. Into our air, the global agriculture industry emits about 14 percent of total greenhouse gases, according to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). If we include agricultural deforestation, that number jumps to 27.5 percent. “[I]t’s impossible,” writes CGIAR, “to address climate issues without including agriculture—and vice versa.”

Fortunately, real solutions aren’t difficult to imagine. Raj Patel interviewed one Wisconsin farmer, Jim Goodman, who seems to have a lot of this figured out.

Read more here.

5 Comments on "Don’t Feed the Hungry"

  1. BuzzCoastin | Dec 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm |

    it’s one thing to agree with this idea:
    Global Industrial Agriculture is not sustainable
    & it’s another thing to do something about it

    if you are at this stage of the game
    and you don’t know anything about:
    growing food, harvesting renewable energy, building Eco-friendly habitats
    don’t worry, all that shit you know about the Illuminate, Big Foot & 911 will save you

    • Against The Current | Dec 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm |

      So much activist-energy is spent on screaming at big agriculture and the big heads in government, as if they would be intent on righting their own wrong doings, if only they came to their senses.
      Very few seem to take the knowledge they have acquired and put it to good use- enacting small changes in their own lifestyle and becoming involved in local politics. Despite many people’s disdain for what is happening in the world and the reaction of the mainstream, some of those same people still adhere to the conventional lifestyle that is destroying most facets of humanity. It is easier to be upset and vocal about something that is too glamorized and enormous to do anything about (illuminati, 9/11) then to get to the root of the problem(s) and fix them from the ground up.

  2. Most of the water used in industrial agriculture is wasted through inefficiency. The alternative is more water efficient and expensive techniques developed for desert agriculture. At this point, that’s why there is stress on water systems that provide water to urban areas and farms.

  3. Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness | Dec 28, 2012 at 11:42 pm |

    Small scale, sustainable, local, perennial polycultures will never feed the human population alive today. They WILL however, feed everyone who eats in the future. You do the math.

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