Food System

What are the inherent problems of our globaltem? With what possible solutions could we overcome them?

food_system_chart_ Apr14

When we take a look at how our food was grown and processed before we consume it, then we can probably trace back to the inherent problems of the food system. I conclude the problems to two types, which are long term formed physical environment and systematic social behavior. Long term formed physical environment includes soil and water overuse, loss of production of land, and climate change(Hesterman, 2011). On the other hand, systematic social behavior includes the diet habit of the society and also the unfair treatment within the food processing industry(Hesterman, 2011). Besides, the social structure also has its affect to the food system. When our society enters the aging era, the diet changes follows.

Facing all the problems, there comes a lot of solutions. Correspondingly, the solutions can also be concluded to 2 aspects. The physical solution is to improve the environment conditions, such as use of rooftops or unpopulated urban areas for growing food (Hough, 2004) and implementation of the system of rotation farming to restore the farmland. As for the social level, respecting the wisdom of natural is essential. The four principles: Equity, diversity, ecological integrity and economic viability(Hesterman, 2011) concisely articulated the direction of the solution.

More innovative solutions and ideas should always be encouraged, one of which is the city farming. When I was learning landscape architecture, one of my teachers is devoted to city farming. He spends all his weekend in the communities to instruct people to carry out the whole sowing and cultivation process. Any small change counts and any person’s effort counts, he thinks.


Oran B. Hesterman. 2011. Fair food: growing a healthy, sustainable food system for all. New York: PublicAffairs. – Chapters: 02. The Problem is (pg. 21 – 45)

Michael Hough, 2004. Cities and Natural Process: A Basis for Sustainability (London: Routledge, 2004, second ed.) – Chapter: 5. City Farming (pg. 160 – 188)


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