Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How will farmer's feed the world?

Lots of ideas

While at the National FFA Convention I noticed the Farm Journal Foundation booth. Their theme was based on Farmer's Feeding the World. Definitely something that is important to me. I know that each day the beef my family and friends is raising is going to help feed our families, our communities and people that we have never met before.

FFA and Farm Journal are partnering to spread hunger awareness in their own communities and in communities around the world. In the Farm Journal booth they had a huge white board that you could write down how you would help fight hunger.

FFA members wrote their thoughts and ideas down about how they could help fight hunger. 

These are all fantastic ideas. I agree that those that are more fortunate need to be aware that there is a very strong need by people in less fortunate situations. According to the National FFA Foundation Executive Director Rob Cooper, "In the U.S. 44 percent of people live at or below the poverty level and can't afford food for themselves or their families."

But what about a lot of the ideas that were left off the board. Like using technology to produce more with what resources we are given in. Farmers are able to produce so much more with much less because of improved agricultural practices.

 Even those people that want to have a little garden in their bag yard have the capabilities the improve their soil with fertilizers, and ward of pests with pesticides and insecticides. That is probably the last thing that some of you want to hear, but if I have put my blood and sweat into growing that tomato I am going to make sure it has every chance to survive! Now if you choose to go the all natural route, good for you. That is why agriculture is so awesome - lots of choices in how we produce our food. 

So although food drives and food pantries are great, let's think a little broader about how we can fight hunger. What would you have wrote on this board?


  1. Crystal, did you know that the first Food Bank in Canada was set up in 1981 in Edmonton AB as an "emergency measure" due to the crisis caused when the National Energy Program gutted Alberta's economy (bankruptcies rose in that province by 150% after the program took effect compared to 50% in the rest of Canada). These were meant as temporary relief, but sadly they have become embedded in our communities as more and more of the onus on government to assist individuals in becoming self-sustaining and able to feed themselves is diminished. For example, the Employment insurance qualifications have been so restricted that when jobs were lost in the past about 75% of people qualified; whereas now, only about 38% do. I believe this is representative of many countries (as in, the social safety net has shrunk or is non-existent and more and more people are relying on charitable organizations to feed them).

    So to make a difference in people's lives and "feed the world" I see two solutions:

    1) if we can afford to, we must contribute to those organizations who are bridging the gap (either through food or dollars). Note that excess food or cash, from any source and in any amount, is always welcome.

    2) we must all use our voting power to elect people who can balance the art of running the country without running its people into the ground. We need to strengthen our social safety nets but balance that with getting people back to work so that they don't need them. We need to recognize that in the beginning, the scale will be tipped more toward support and retraining and gradually will begin to balance itself out (in other words, there will be pain for all of us to pull this off). Jobs are crucial, and rethinking how we educate our young to better prepare them for the future job market are key. How does this translate to farmers/ranchers you ask? Agriculture can utilize technology to improve its yield and/or decrease costs but our kids need to know about this before it can be implemented. So if we can afford it, we should also consider contributing to our youth in the form of scholarships for ag education and press government to gradually assume this responsibiltiy.

    Whew! Lots of heavy thinking for first thing in the a.m. Crystal! I'll get off my soap box now :)

  2. I am a graduate student majoring in Agricultural Education, and as part of my Program Planning course I am currently taking, we are working on an assignment that involves a fictional program in which children and their parents/caregivers play a computer game called Food Force. (It is a game that you can download from the internet.) The purpose of the program is to increase awareness of issues in agriculture and global hunger among urban people. The program is a joint effort between 4-H and extension. Even though it is a fictional program for the purpose of the assignment, the concept behind it is a great concept. It would be great to see a program like this actually being implemented on a regular basis nationwide.

  3. Suzie, I always love when you get on your soap box. You are very informative.

    Jess87 - that would be very cool. Where are you going to school at.


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