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‘Our actions are our future; better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life.’

WORLD Food Day is celebrated across the globe on October 16 to mark the anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, which was created in 1945. This day aims at tackling global hunger and striving to eradicate hunger across the world.

The day is in keeping with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015 – a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries-developed and developing-in a global partnership.

The SDG 2 “Zero Hunger”- End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. On this day, governments and organisations promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to achieve zero Hunger, ensuring food security and nutritious diets for all. World Food Day is a chance to call for greater commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2.

The theme for World Food Day 2021 is “Our actions are our future- Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life.”

The food we choose and the way we consume it affect our health and that of our planet. It has an impact on the way agri-food systems work. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the foremost need of a human being is food. Yet, we find that a staggering nine million people worldwide die each year because of hunger. Combined with the current COVID-19 pandemic, political instability and climate change, things can take a turn for the worst.

If we as a civilisation really give it a thought and employ more natural and holistic ways to solve some of the seemingly unsolvable issues in terms of producing more organic and nourishing foods, thereby ensuring global food security, we will be able to save the world in its darkest hour.

The grim reality is, we have contributed to these negative externalities by our own horrendous actions, such as massive deforestation and rapid industrialisation, which has produced lots of bolts and nuts, but not a single grain of rice. Inorganic agricultural methods such as ‘Genetically Modified Organisms’ (GMOs) and artificial fertilisers and pesticides negatively impact the quality of soil and the nutritional value of food.

Indeed, the saying “we are what we eat ” has more variety than we would like to accept. Food is our medicine and if it is not nutritional, then it will only cause diseases and deficiencies. Therefore, inorganic, processed, synthetic foods simply won’t do. Interestingly, the quality of our lives greatly depends on the food we consume, the water we drink, and the air we breathe, all of which depend on the soil’s quality. We have seen civilisations fail because of insufficient agriculture; lamentably, we seem headed in this direction. However, if we make a turn in the right direction, we can see the day when all will be well-fed and happy.

Understanding that we need to cooperate with nature rather than compete is the first step. When Mahatma Gandhi was asked, “What is the greatest culture?”, he replied, “agriculture.” However, better than agriculture is “permaculture.” A compound word of ‘permanent’ and ‘culture,’ it simply means to develop natural agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. By creating such a food forest, there will be an abundance of fruits, vegetables, grains, milk and honey. Even though these systems take some time to develop, the results will be prodigious.

Another solution is ‘Holistic Land Management,’ a system originally developed by the Zimbabwean scientist Allan Savory. It involves systematic grazing of cattle and other livestock to improve the fertility of the soil and consequently its agricultural productivity. In the same way, on a smaller scale, we can also compost our organic refuse by using a composting worm, technically called vermicompost. Heat-producing bacteria can also break down organic material in heaps. These methods will produce full organic fertiliser, which can be used to grow a home kitchen garden.

Healthy food can be produced anywhere, by anyone, once we have fertile soil. Therefore, everyone can produce what they need and use what they produce. Consequently, the physical activity of gardening can be a better, healthy hobby for both mind and body.

In conclusion, by living a more natural way of life, as stated previously, producing more nutritious and organic food, clean, drinking water, fresh air, and good sleep accompanied with lots of physical activities, our quality of life will dramatically improve. Then, as we satisfy the basic needs, we can actually find time for the more important things in life that really matter, such as our family, friends and relationships. We, therefore, emphatically petition everyone to compost! Compost! Plant! Plant! And ensure a food-secure future.

Special thanks to the Organic Guyana Environment Club for their contribution to the article.

You can share your ideas and questions by sending letters to: “Our Earth, Our Environment”, C/O ECEA Programme, Environmental Protection Agency, Ganges Street, Sophia, GEORGETOWN, or email us at: Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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