Part of the Big Picture: The History of Global Food Security

December 22, 2018

 

At times, the small picture is not relatable to individuals who do not struggle with the direct effects of instability in areas such as food security. However, it is important to stay connected to these issues. The history of global food security in combination with the goals of Feeding Laramie Valley instigate such motivation for growth and success in these fields that many of us feel disconnected from. The inevitable truth is that these circumstances affect us all in our shared community. 

 

As I have mentioned in other posts, as a student I did not realize that food security and food equality were a problem pertinent to my own life, nor did I understand how my family had been aided by those who sought to bring solutions to this problem to my community in Pinedale, Wyoming.  

 

However, in glimpsing the work of Feeding Laramie Valley and in learning about the history of food security, the application of this community and non-profit effort have become major components in my understanding of our Laramie community. 

 

In my research of food security, I found that the first global movement occurred following World War II as food rationing continued for many rich countries extending past the end of the war. This created immense fear when the world’s richest nations could not even sustain themselves. 

 

Combined with medical improvements and population growth, this fear turned into each nation seeking individual food security. According to the U.K. cross-government programme on food security, this “green revolution” —as it was titled—originated in Mexico.  

 

“In 1943, Mexico imported half its wheat but by 1956 the green revolution had made Mexico self-sufficient, and by 1964, Mexico exported half a million tons of wheat.” Following this model, the paddy fields of Asia and other nations began to find self-sufficiency and a new market. 

 

From these accounts, food security appears to be a problem of the past, especially when the work of Norman Borlaug began developing wheat as a stockier, more durable plant that produced greater yields of wheat with less chaff. The output of wheat from small plots was incredible! But food security remained unresolved. 

 

The problem with the green revolution was the increased amounts of water this kind of production warranted as well as a heavy application of fertilizers and pesticides. This was only a temporary solution and even Norman Borlaug recognized the remaining need for food security. 

 

In his Nobel speech, Borlaug stated simply, “The green revolution has won a temporary success in man’s war against hunger and deprivation; it has given man a breathing space. If fully implemented, the revolution can provide sufficient food for sustenance during the next three decades.” 

 

This solution was only short term according to Borlaug and his critics, but it created a temporary security at great cost to farmers in developing countries, to the soil quality, and to the future generations who would be raised in stability and become adults in a world threatened by famine. 

 

The initial work of Borlaug and other scientists and farmers avoided famine after WWII, but their work was not finished. This incomplete solution is where organizations such as Feeding Laramie Valley step up and complete the process. 

 

As we continue to work towards food security, Feeding Laramie Valley brings solutions to the community and to the global discussion alike. And the solutions we find in lived-experience are key to resolving the global crisis of food security. One solution is found in simply sharing progress. Feeding Laramie Valley shares it’s work and is not an individual endeavor, as a result, growth and production emphasize caring and sharing rather than marketing and individual progress.  

 

Another solution is relying on local food sources. Feeding Laramie Valley relies on local crops which are naturally sustainable in the given climate. They also utilize healthy fertilizers that replenish the soil and do not overuse the resources in the earth. To conclude, as the world searches for global food security perhaps they should look to their smaller components as we search for food equality and food security for all.  

 

 

Information sourced from FAO, Nobelprize.org, and foodsecurity.ac.uk 

 

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