Sunday was World Food Day. And Blog Action Day, which this year, focused on food. Sunday was also the first day of Share Our Strength’s annual Conference of Leaders, which is why I’m two days late in getting my Blog Action Day post online.
For sixteen years, I’ve had the privilege of working for a company that feeds people. I’ve been directly involved in Tyson’s hunger relief efforts for eleven years. Today, there’s a more robust discussion than I’ve seen before about how the world is going to be fed. This is a good thing. People need to know where their food comes from. They need to understand just how much food it’s going to take to feed the seven billion mouths we have in the world now, and how we’ll do it as the population number continues to explode.
Of course, there was a bit written on this Blog Action Day about how “broken” the world’s food system is. Count me as one who disagrees with this notion. We can always improve. We must improve the way we produce food. But I’m a bit concerned about the idea that the current system should be thrown out the window. I’m wary of some of the systems being suggested as wholesale replacements.
People need to understand how much labor goes into producing food. In my humble opinion, that’s an often overlooked factor. The kind of high-yield food production many people demonize is hard work. Long hours. High risks. Lots of manual labor. While some of the current alternative food systems sound great, they will require that more people undertake the risks inherent in agricultural production. They will require harder labor. Who will do it? And ultimately, who will pay the (justifiable) price for that kind of work? I’m concerned that those currently at risk of hunger won’t be able to pay that price.
I know there will be those who will disagree with me. But on this World Food Day, I believe we can all agree on one thing: Nobody in this world should go hungry. If we can all work toward the common goal of seeing that people in need are fed, then perhaps we can find common ground on other serious issues our world faces.