Our Global Food- the worms of the system

What are the inherent problems of our global food system? With what possible solution could we overcome them?


To support this discussion I will dissect Oran Hesterman’s 2011 book, Fair Food: growing a healthy, sustainable food system for all. Chapter two opens with the title:

The Problem Is…

You can imagine, and I am sure we have all had personal experiences with the problems of our food systems (here is a half bruised, half rotten peach that has spent two days traveling via a van in a crate of 20 other peaches, 4 of which have worms.. you get the point). Even if not, we all are certainly familiar with the commercials showing malnutritioned children.

Each year 3.5 million adults and children die of malnutrition. [1]

If you live near the shore, frequent the sea, or simply love eating seafood then you certainly must have noticed the increased prices of shell fish, decline of certain fish and increase in algae- all effects of Hypoxia, which I now know to be increased nitrogen and decreased oxygen levels in water [2]. If you live in the midwest or other areas known for their vast farmlands, you for sure have seen many farms close down and move out to make way for future development as farms closest to our urban centers are being bought out [3].

As you can see, there are many different ways to see the problems of our global food systems; however, it really can all be summarized as an imbalance if our systems. Right now we have efficiency, high crop yields and convenience, and that all sounds great- but at what price?


There is an imbalance of equity throughout the system, a lack of diversity, and poor ecological integrity. Hesterman makes it clear that the only way to have a successful food system is to work to achieve a balance between efficiency, high crop yields, convenience and equity, diversity, ecological integrity and economic viability.


As a person involved in the food system (we all are because we all eat the crops we yield each year), it is only right that we all work to achieve this balance. Continued education on the the problems of the food system, and lack of diversity and ecological integrity should allow us to continue fighting for a better system. We all make up the system so it is up to us to take an active stance in fighting for the change.





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