By Ed Nicholson
Most every Tuesday night when I’m around a computer, I try to drop in on an always-interesting Twitter conversation called AgChat. Moderated by the inexhaustible Michele Payn-Knoper, AgChat features discussion around agriculture and food production from a diversity of participants with an interest in how food gets to people. I typically listen more than I contribute. For one thing, I think farmers and ranchers should have a predominant voice in this discussion. There’s also the (unfounded) assertion by some that "big ag" has too much influence in the discussion. I don’t want to feed that impression.
Last night, question #7 in the discussion was: If you had to select one topic for our chat that would be useful to ag & draw farm & food tweeps, what would that topic be?
I had some ideas immediately, but again thought it better to refrain. So I’m going to pose some questions in this forum, the "one topic" being:
How are we going to feed the 6.7 billion people on our planet, one billion of whom are currently at risk of hunger?
How’s that for a big old topic? Here are some questions that could stream from the topic:
- Do you think the current food production system is broken?
- If you’re advocating the current food production system is broken, how would you fix it to ensure affordable, accessible food for all?
- Should governments mandate what kind of food we can buy/consume? If so, what?
- If you advocate for purely local production systems, what happens when those systems fail (as they invariably will, from time to time)?
- Can we make locally-produced food more affordable for those with limited means? If so, how do we do it, while keeping a fair return for the farmer?
- Can/should large agri-business play a role in local production? If so, how?
- How can hunger relief providers such as food banks get more engagement/donations from local farmers and ranchers?
- Should we fix our own problems of hunger in the U.S. before we start trying to help the rest of the world?
What questions would you ask?
You should join AgChat on Tuesday evenings, 8-10 PM EST. You can see a sampling of the conversation (and join yourself) here.