Saturday, March 12, 2016


 The National Geographic  has long been one of my favourite magazines. It's been bought by Rupert Murdoch so we have our fingers crossed that he leaves it be.

One of the magazine's recent and most distinguished initiatives has been a special eight-month series exploring how we can feed two billion extra people by 2050. The first one (pictured left) was May 2014. You can read the whole series starting here.

Particularly interesting was 'How To Farm a Better Fish' , the second piece in the series, which reveals that the world already produces more farmed fish than beef.

The latest issue (March 2016) features as its cover story 'Eat Me: How Ugly Food can help feed the planet'. We are immediately hit with this bald fact:

 About a third of the planet's food goes to waste. 

That's enough to feed two billion people.

The article is by  Elizabeth Royle and reads in part:

'Across cultures, food waste goes against the moral grain. After all, nearly 800 million people worldwide suffer from hunger. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, we squander enough food—globally, 2.9 trillion pounds a year—to feed every one of them more than twice over.' 

'In developing nations much is lost postharvest for lack of adequate storage facilities, good roads, and refrigeration. In comparison, developed nations waste more food farther down the supply chain, when retailers order, serve, or display too much and when consumers ignore leftovers in the back of the fridge or toss perishables before they’ve expired.

'Wasting food takes an environmental toll as well. Producing food that no one eats...also squanders the water, fertilizer, pesticides, seeds, fuel, and land needed to grow it. 

'Globally a year’s production of uneaten food guzzles as much water as the entire annual flow of the Volga, Europe’s most voluminous river. 

'Growing the 133 billion pounds of food that retailers and consumers discard in the United States annually slurps the equivalent of more than 70 times the amount of oil lost in the Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, according to 'American Wasteland' author Jonathan Bloom. 

'These staggering numbers don’t even include the losses from farms, fishing vessels, and slaughterhouses. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world, after China and the U.S. 

'On a planet of finite resources, with the expectation of at least two billion more residents by 2050, this profligacy, Tristram Stuart argues in his book Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, is obscene.'

Read complete article here 

See campaigning group Feedback here

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