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Feeding a Hungry Planet vs A Chubby Planet

When I attended the Youth Ag Summit in 2019, one of the speakers noted that not only are we facing an issue of feeding a Hungry Planet, but also a Chubby Planet... Naturally, I felt attacked.

The more I thought about it though, the more the words rang true. Not only on a global scale, but even within our own cities. We see food deserts, food oasis', and food swamps within miles of each other. A food desert can be described as an area with limited access to affordable and nutritious food. On the contrary, a food oasis is an area with easy access to supermarkets and grocery stores. Way off in left field is a food swamp, where fast food, convenience stores, and liquor stores outnumber the grocers.

I have been privileged enough to be raised on the chubby planet side of things, where Food Oasis's and Swamps outnumber the Deserts. Despite being rural, access to healthy food was never an issue - even if some small town grocery store produce gets sketchy at times. This privilege, along with being apart of the food production system, heightened my awareness of the amount of food being wasted and the amount of people going without nutritious fruits and vegetables.

We throw away food at every level in production and consumption. From "ugly" produce, to bruised in transit, to ripe and over-ripe at the grocery store, and finally in our own homes, whether it be the celery we forgot about in the crisper, to the 1/2 a portion remaining that we don't save for leftovers.

So why is this an issue? According to the National Zero Waste Council 2017 study, In Canada alone, we waste 2.2 Billion tonnes of edible food each year, costing Canadians an extra $17 Billion and equating to 9.8 Million tonnes of carbon - about the same as 2.1 million cars on the road.

If these numbers aren't staggering enough, in 2018 the World Health Organization estimated 820 million people around the world don't have enough to eat, so 1 in 9 people go to bed hungry each night. Yet there were 672 obese adults around the world in the same year.

Food waste is obviously a major issue, that we as average citizens can help to reduce: so ask yourself, what can you do? I have my 3 little things to help feed a hungry planet, and reduce the gap with a chubby planet, what are yours?

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