05/23/2017

With Climate Chaos, Who Will Feed Us?

A farmer cuts alfalfa in a field near the town of Bamyan, June 16, 2012. Many farms in the area are still planted and harvested entirely by hand. The Bamyan Provincial Reconstruction Team has been labouring to replace these kinds of outdated farming techniques with tractors and other modern advancements. Potatoes have become the main cash crop for the province, contributing millions of dollars to its economy every year.

Published 2014

The Industrial Food Chain uses 70% of the world’s agricultural resources to produce just 30% of our global food supply. Conversely, the Peasant Food Web provides 70% of the global food supply while using only 30% of agricultural resources.

The Peasant Food Web encourages diversity through breeding millions of varieties of thousands of crops, nurturing thousands of livestock breeds and aquatic species, while the Industrial Food Chain has narrowed this vast cornucopia down to a dozen crops, a handful of livestock species and collapsing fish stocks.

The Industrial Food Chain wastes two-thirds of its food production, devastates ecosystems, causes over $4 trillion in damages, and either under-nourishes or over-feeds 3.4 billion people. The Peasant Food Web is environmentally and nutritionally constructive.

1. Who feeds us today?

The Industrial Chain: Provides 30% of all food consumed (crops, fish, etc.) but uses about 70-80% of world’s arable land to grow 30-40% of crop-derived food; 1 accounts for >80% of fossil fuels 2 and 70% of water 3 used in agriculture; causes 44-57% of emitted GHGs annually 4; deforests 13 million ha 5 and destroys 75 billion tons of topsoil 6 each year; controls almost all of the 15% of food that is traded internationally 7 (i.e., 15% of all the food produced in the world) and dominates the $7 trillion commercial grocery market,8 while leaving almost 3.4 billion either undernourished or overweight.9 6

The Peasant Web:

Provides >70% of total food eaten by people:10 15-20% via urban agriculture; 11 10-15% from hunting and gathering; 12 5-10% from fishing; 13 and 35-50% from farms (harvests 60-70% of food crops from 20-30% of arable land); 14 accounts for <20% of fossil fuel 15 and 30% of water used in agriculture; 16 nurtures and sustainably uses diversity and dominates the 85% of the world’s food grown and consumed within national borders; 17 is the major (often sole) provider of the food that reaches the 2 billion hungry and undernourished.18

The Industrial Chain:

Provides 30% of all food consumed (crops, fish, etc.) but uses about 70-80% of world’s arable land to grow 30-40% of crop-derived food; 1 accounts for >80% of fossil fuels 2 and 70% of water 3 used in agriculture; causes 44-57% of emitted GHGs annually 4; deforests 13 million ha 5 and destroys 75 billion tons of topsoil 6 each year; controls almost all of the 15% of food that is traded internationally 7 (i.e., 15% of all the food produced in the world) and dominates the $7 trillion commercial grocery market,8 while leaving almost 3.4 billion either undernourished or overweight.9 6 The Peasant Web: Provides >70% of total food eaten by people:10 15-20% via urban agriculture; 11 10-15% from hunting and gathering; 12 5-10% from fishing; 13 and 35-50% from farms (harvests 60-70% of food crops from 20-30% of arable land); 14 accounts for <20% of fossil fuel 15 and 30% of water used in agriculture; 16 nurtures and sustainably uses diversity and dominates the 85% of the world’s food grown and consumed within national borders; 17 is the major (often sole) provider of the food that reaches the 2 billion hungry and undernourished.18

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE

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