Food Systems

In the second chapter of Fair Food, Oran B. Hesterman does a great job of listing out the problems inherent in a global food system. Some of these include pesticides, GMOs, bad policy, poor diets, food insecurity. I think all of these problems can be grouped under a bigger umbrella of the globalization of foodways, their hegemonic power, and the geographic and conceptual distance they create between the food and the consumer.

In May of 2014 Jonathan Foley’s  National Geographic cover story  A Five-step Plan to Feed the World, addressed some of these inherent problems. Foley’s solutions to the global food crises were based around the argument that the biggest problem in our global food system is the inability of the way in which we produce food to feed a growing population. He said, by the year 2050, we will need to feed over two billion more people than we do currently and that the way we produce food will not suffice for an increasing, and increasingly urban, world population.

His solutions dealt with limiting our agriculture footprint by maximizing where and how we grow food, using resources more efficiently, minimizing demand, and reducing waste; Not changing the way in which our food systems are very much global and linked, but in making that system more efficient at a global scale.

On the contrary, Hesterman proposes that the solution lies in redefining the ownership structures in our food system. This gets more at tackling the hegemony imposed by our current food structure. Currently, our global foodways create interdependency and market-based integration across, because of, and in spite of multiple cultures. Yet a system that stewards the natural environment locally, like Hesterman suggests, could diversify food production in a way that also creates more conscious consumers.

-AS

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