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GLOBAL HUNGER: Food Insecurity in an Age of Affluence

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GLOBAL HUNGER: Food Insecurity in an Age of Affluence

  1. 1. GLOBAL HUNGER: Food Insecurity In An Age of Affluence A CounterPublics Digital Report By Daniel Drache and Paul Longhurst York University, May 2012 http://www.yorku.ca/drache
  2. 2. The Key Question: Why today are there more people than ever who are food insecure while crops produce the highest yields in history and food distribution systems are global?
  3. 3. The consensus is that it’s a world of feast and famine. This tragic story is best told in facts and numbers.
  4. 4. The High Cost of Basic Foods As the Food and Agriculture Organization's recent Food Price Index shows, since 2007, commodity prices have shot to unprecedented highs.
  5. 5. The recent doubling of the cost of staple foods has had the greatest impact upon the most vulnerable. Tragically, many people today are forced to choose between paying for food or for shelter.
  6. 6. On average, people of the Global North spend less than 10% of their household income on food. In contrast, families from the Global South spend nearly 50% of their income on food.
  7. 7. Where food insecurity exists, malnourishment is sure to follow.
  8. 8. Undernourishment continues to be the #1 problem facing the South. Meanwhile, obesity has become an out of control health crisis for the North.
  9. 9. Global Hunger will cease only when Food Security is achieved. Food Security has a specific meaning: “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.” -1996 U.N. World Food Summit
  10. 10. Billions are spent every year to address food insecurity, yet widespread hunger persists. Since these efforts are not meeting the needs of the hungry, alternatives need to be implemented.
  11. 11. Experts agree that the world has enough food to feed its population. Agriculture today produces 17% more calories per person than 30 years ago. In the Global South, 80% of malnourished children live in countries that produce a food surplus.
  12. 12. Since there is enough food to feed the planet, the food crisis must be a result of the systems of food production, distribution and access.
  13. 13. 5 key factors have been identified as being at the heart of the food crisis.
  14. 14. The Surging Price of Oil For every calorie that we eat, 1 calorie of fossil fuel is required to get that food to us. As the price of oil has climbed to +$100/barrel, the cost of feeding a family has risen accordingly.
  15. 15. A Carnivore’s World Food does more than simply sustain us: What we eat reflects our social status. The growing middle class in India and China have begun to eat more meat. The result is that the grain that once fed the poor ends up sizzling on a King-sized grill.
  16. 16. Climate Change & Crop Failures Experts have linked recent unprecedented global crop failures to the volatile weather patterns that accompany climate change. For example, in 2006 and 2011 drought decimated wheat harvests Australia and Argentina, while flooding in Southeast Asia destroyed rice crops.
  17. 17. The Western Thirst for Biofuel The boom in Ethanol has caused 300% increase in the price of corn in recent years. This thirst for “greener fuels” has caused the diversion of prime agricultural land from food to biofuel production.
  18. 18. Wall St. and Food Markets Today, commodity speculation and agricultural hedge funds are viewed as a AAA investment opportunities. In 5 years, investment in this sector increased by 1900%. From April 2007 to April 2008, global food commodity prices rose by 85%. This is the largest annual rise in food prices ever.
  19. 19. Wall St. & Food Markets part II Commodity futures are agreements to buy or sell a set amount of a commodity on a set date for a set price. They provide a secure way to hedge risk in commodity markets. A futures contract lets the buyer and seller know the price of their future transaction, regardless of any changes in the market.
  20. 20. As there are many factors that have contributed to the food crisis, there will be no single remedy.
  21. 21. On a positive note, the food crisis has been a catalyst for long overdue change. Government, business, and civil society have agreed that the status quo isn’t working and have begun to take steps to improve the global food system.
  22. 22. This Crisis Must Be Addressed On Multiple Fronts: 1. Through Humanitarian Aid 5. Through Policy Reform 6. Through Grassroots Movements None of these approaches can succeed alone.
  23. 23. Humanitarian Aid & the Food Crisis The world food program needs a full range of resources to enable it to respond to acute malnutrition. The affluent nations of the world must be prepared to quickly assist where lives are at immediate risk.
  24. 24. Improving Humanitarian Aid Emergency Aid must not only be delivered quickly, it must also be delivered ethically. Aid programs often flood an already precarious local market with food purchased from North America and Europe. Aid is an essential stopgap measure, but it is only the first step.
  25. 25. Policy Reform Nations have slowly begun to adopt the UN’s position that access to food is a human right. Brazil has been a leader in this regard with their “National Food and Nutritional Security System” policy. For too long, politicians have allowed the rights of the market to eclipse the rights of people.
  26. 26. Existing food policy has enabled transnational agri-business to enter new markets easily. “Lands Grabs” are the most recent crisis facing the small-scale farmers of poor nations.
  27. 27. Land Grabs Since 2000: - there has been over 1000 major lands grabs documented - they account for over 70,000,000 ha - 10% of investors account for 80% of all transactions - just under 50% took place in Africa Land grabs occur when prime agricultural land in a poor nation is purchased by foreign entities as a way to secure their privileged positions within the commodity cycle.
  28. 28. Who is Responsible for Land Grabs? 1. Nations that rely on imported food are buying up huge amounts of cheap farmland for offshore farming. 2. The food industry and private investors see foreign farmland as an important source of revenue. As a result, poor nations become more food insecure, rural livelihoods become more threatened.
  29. 29. Seeds of Change: Grassroots Solutions to the Food Crisis Civil Society has been a leader in thinking outside of the box when it comes to addressing the food crisis.
  30. 30. Food Sovereignty: an alternative food policy framework created by the global grassroots peasants movement La Via Campesina (the peasant’s way) in 1996. Food Sovereignty addresses the failures of the Food Security policy: it promotes food as a human right, agrarian reform, environmental stewardship, global/local food trade and social stability. “Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture system.”
  31. 31. A Shared Struggle: North/South Solidarity While citizens of the South struggle to retain access to their land and establish sovereign food systems, many citizens of the North have begun to also distance themselves from unsustainable food systems. Many community-based sustainable food projects, like The Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto, bring diverse citizens together to grow, cook, eat and learn about food justice and mutual aid.
  32. 32. Democracy may be coming through a crack in the wall …however, in Leonard Cohen's words, we don’t have to look far to see the continued “homicidal bitchin’ that goes down in every kitchen to determine who will serve and who will eat.” There are reasons for hope, but today we continue to live in a world of the stuffed and the starved.
  33. 33. Image Credits 1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ciat/5366712179/sizes/l/in/photostream/ 2 http://www.flickr.com/photos/moran/359702003/ 3 http://www.flickr.com/photos/un_photo/6350299439/ 4 http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/wfs-home/foodpricesindex/en/ 5 http://www.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-4543251396 6 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ciat/5366712179/sizes/l/in/photostream/ 7 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ifrc/3099606131/ 8 obesity- http://www.flickr.com/photos/78428166@N00/3829063385/ by tobyotter starvation- http://wwwhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/un_photo/6069724572/sizes/l/in/photostream/ 9 http://www.flickr.com/photos/carol_moshier/3257912877/ 10 all corporate logos used under academic fair use policy and are the copyright of the respective owners 11 http://www.flickr.com/photos/57402879@N00/261930788/sizes/z/in/photostream/ - bugman50 12 www.xkcd.com 13 http://crazyicecube.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/thinking-about-problem-vs-thinking-about-solution 15 www.flickr-3182238046-hd.jpg 16 http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2435909 17 http://www.freefoto.com/preview/07-01-3/Oilseed-Rape 18 http://www.flickr.com/photos/carlossg/2585690638/ 19 www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@NO%/68 20 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cammyclaudia/3796601302/ http://freeaussiestock.com/free/Northern_Territory/slides/dusty_riverbed.htm21 21 http://aetos-grevena.blogspot.ca/2012/05/blog-post_3189.html http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/860599 22 http://photozou.jp/photo/show/1274031/63055983 23 http://www.tesionline.com/intl/focus.jsp?id=1759 24 http://feedthehungryuk.blogspot.ca/2011/09/report-from-northern-kenya.html 25 http://www.flickr.com/photos/h_de_c/3292792218/ 26 http://www.flickr.com/photos/10159247@N04/4249889278/ 27 http://prairiedust.net/Postcards_from_Kansas/index.php/archive/access-road/ 28 http://ian.umces.edu/imagelibrary/displayimage-1093.html 29 http://intercontinentalcry.org/wp-content/uploads/mst-2007.jpg 30 http://www.foodfirst.org/fr/node/47 31 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tobanblack/3819186125/sizes/o/in/photostream/ 32 www.flickr.com photographer: bdinterface & 3534729769_329a6ab868_z.jpg Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  34. 34. GLOBAL HUNGER: Food Insecurity In An Age of Affluence For questions or comments, please contact: Daniel Drache: drache@yorku.ca or Paul Longhurst: paullonghurst@riseup.net

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