Posted by: bklunk | October 1, 2006

Food Security?

What exaclty does food security mean?

Salwa gives us these thoughts about food security:

I was a little discouraged by this topic at first. Food
security sounds like a very broad and obscure topic. After doing my analysis of
another blog I got a vague idea of what food security might entail, but I still
was not sure what I was up against. After all food security is not exactly “the
hot topic.” News would much rather cover the war in Iraq or some other pressing matter. The only time food security gets air time is on
those “only 5 cents a day” infomercials. What does that say about the state of
the world right?

Anyways, to get a better idea of what food security actually
is and the different categories of study it entails I went to Wikipedia: The
Free Encyclopedia. I understand this is not the most reliable source around,
but in my opinion it is the best place for a brief overview and a quick rundown
on topics and subtopics.

Wikipedia begins with a description of food security: “a
situation in which people do not live in hunger or fear
of starvation.”
Though brief and seemingly straight forward this sentence struck me as deep and
eye opening. I realized that food security is not a merely an issue complex
agencies find themselves hashing over, but an issue millions around the world
find themselves struggling with everyday. Food security applies to individuals,
real human beings, rather than numbers. My perception coming into this topic was
that I would be struggling with policy not, but this definition puts the
idea on the ground as a situational issue not just one concerning government
and policy.

Which is not to say that this is NOT about government and policy.  The world produces plenty of food.  What the world does not do is distribute it so that people do not needlessly suffer.

Of course when I read the sentence these thoughts hit me all
at once like a barrage of insight, which affected the way I took in the subtle
fact that nearly 1 billion people around the world die every day of extreme poverty.

Tens of thousands of people die each day due to extreme poverty, but not a billion

Meanwhile,
approximately “2 billion people lack food security intermittently due to
varying degrees of poverty.” This is quite a distressing thought. There are
about 6.5 billion people in the world today. That would mean that little over
one six of all the people in the world are starving to death and about
one-third of the world’s total population has to worry about whether or not
they will have anything to eat that day. The biggest challenge I face every day
is choosing a pair of shoes to match my outfit. Food has always been a given. I
know this is bad and I also know that I am not the only one in

America distracted by such trivial and narrow pursuits. Like I said before it just is
not the “hot topic.”

For now, I think this would be a good place to stop. A few
sentences alone have provided us with a great deal to think about and afforded
us with the knowledge that we have only hit upon the tip of an iceberg. Next
time I plan to explore even further what exactly this topic entails and why it
is that food security is not getting the media coverage it deserves.

 Why does this situation prevail?

 

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Responses

  1. For some time I have thought about the extraordinary poverty many in the world live in today, the luxury I live in as an American, and, in regards to these two realities, what standard I ought to have for myself as to what is morally right for me to own. Very practically, how is it that I can spend all sorts of money on things like going out to eat weekly or more, going to a sporting event, or going skiing out west. For the price I pay for Internet service, I could give a child a shot at life through Christian Children’s Fund. When I could make significant cuts in so many areas of my life, still live a perfectly happy life, and by so doing offer funds to people that they may live with the dignity that is theirs as humans, how is it defensible that I don’t? I don’t believe that it is.

  2. The extreme poverty around the world is truly unacceptable in my opinion. I believe that we should find ways to help improve the lives of the hungry and the sick. We should do it not as Americans and because it is our “duty”, but we should do it because we are human beings and we should want to help other human beings. Granted I live a “luxurious” life compared to the billions of poverty stricken people throughout the world and have given little back. I realize that my own actions are unacceptable.
    Making a big difference in someone’s life can be done for what seems like a small price to us. There are many organizations out there that ask for a dollar a day or other gifts. However, personally the greatest organization in my opinion that I have come across is Heifer International. Heifer International is an organization that allows people to donate buy purchasing all different sorts of animals like chickens, sheep, pigs, cows, ect. The extraordinary thing about the program is that by giving a family these animals they are able to use them for food as well as income. Families can buy more food, medicine or send their children to school buy selling the eggs of the chickens or the wool of the sheep. Heifer International also makes sure to educate the people receiving the animals from how to care for the animals properly, to rejuvenation of their land, to HIV and AIDS education. The organization also makes sure the people who have received a gift “pass on the gift” to other families within the community who are in need. They do this by giving away offspring from their animals. The goal is to give these people suffering in poverty knowledge, resources and skills which in time will help to improve the conditions of entire communities. And think it will be done through the help of purchasing goats, pigs, chickens and other animals at a price we would consider small. I feel we should all help to contribute to this project because I think in the end it will help to improve the lives of thousands of people today, yet it will have a domino effect where it will end positively effecting generations to come.

    Here is the link for Heifer International. I encourage everyone to at least check out their website to understand fully what the organization is.

    http://www.heifer.org/

  3. I think for many Americans, me included, food is something that is taken for granted; I’m sure many of us don’t even think twice most of the time if we don’t “clean our plates” and end up throwing perfectly good food away (that is, if it’s not saved as leftovers). And honestly, food security is a concept that I haven’t really even heard of, which makes sense taking into account my own background and just the simple fact that I am an American; I have never had to worry about if I was going to have food to eat and I’m sure I never will have to worry about such a thing. But there are so many more people in the world that do worry about having food and this blog certainly addresses that fact. I completely agree with Prof. Klunk’s statement, “The world produces plenty of food. What the world does not do is distribute it so that people do not needlessly suffer.” What is being done to combat this problem? Heifer International, the organization Anna brought up, seems to be working quite well and helping some of the problem and I’m sure there are other organizations out there, too. But what about individual states? Are they doing anything to combat this problem? What can be done to better distribute the world’s supply of food? I certainly have more questions than I do answers in regards to this topic and I can only hope that this is not something that is just left by the wayside.

  4. What an interesting topic. I agree that when looking at the definition of “food security” it turned out to be much different than what I expected. I was expecting something about regulations and recent outbreaks of e.coli on spinach and lettuce… but then again I realized that I am so used to living comfortably, and I’ve never had to go without food. It is so easy for us to forget about how many people live in this world and how many people go without clean water and basic nutrition. I am especially touched when I’m watching the discovery channel and they show all of the little children in African tribes… you know the ones that are so frail with the protruding tummy. So what can WE do about it? I know there are lots of ways to get involved. I think one of the most notable organizations is the Mocha Club. This is an easy way to help out so many of the impoverished people in Africa. Here’s the website if you’d like to know more about it: https://www.africanleadership.org/mochaclub/welcome
    Anyway, another thing we might want to consider besides donating money is what we can do as successful nations to ease the problem of hunger in countries. I think the biggest problem a lot of time is the lack of knowledge concerning how to produce food. I know that there are many areas that go through droughts and they have a lot of trouble farming. But I have to think to myself that there has to be something, if we put the time and effort and experimentation into it, there has to be something we can do to give these people a hand UP. To help them help themselves.

  5. World hunger ia an issue that few tend to think about except when they are viewing a comercial that shows a child that looks like they havnt eaten in a week. I always find it odd though that person doing the talking looks they havnt missed a meal in over a year. This issue is one that is commonly over looked by the news world. Even more saddening is that most of it is taking place in Africa, an area that already has a lot going wrong in it. There is no quick easy solution for food security, if there was one would hope we already had started to right the problem. All in article like this really does for me is just make me want to ask more questions about what is actually being done? Why isnt more being done? How do you decide who gets help and who doesnt? Are we sending in food, if so how is it being dispearsed to which countries, and then how do they delegate where the food goes? Do we have restrictions on what they can do with it? Do we give help without expecting anything back, or do we have terms to which we will help? And what happens if they won’t take things like crops that have been genetically engineered? These are just the questions that come to mind when I read or hear things like this.


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