Thursday, June 20, 2013

So, we’re running out of food?

Another week, another gloomy report. This article details a recently published study that warns that we may run out of food by the year 2050. Filled with doom and gloom scenarios and dire warnings, the study looked at four crops—corn, soybeans, rice and wheat—and determined that the rate at which these crop yields are increasing isn’t fast enough to meet our growing population.

If you skip to the end of the article, you’ll notice an interesting quote taken directly from the study, which mentions that one of the possible solutions is for people to switch to a “plant-based diet.” Yes, you read that correctly. In order to make corn, soybeans, rice and wheat last longer, we need to eat more of them!

The theory behind this states that since animals that are conventionally raised for food production consume much of these grains—especially the corn, soybean and wheat—we would be better off either consuming those grains ourselves or dedicating the land used to grow them to growing other crops for human consumption.

This is, of course, missing the point entirely. Animals aren’t supposed to eat those grains! The answer isn’t for humans to eat a plant-based diet; it’s to make sure our animals are eating the proper one. We are stuck in a loop where we are growing environmentally unsustainable crops to feed to animals that were never meant to consume those crops in the first place.

In essence, we agree with the study authors when they point out that too much land is being used to grow crops for animal feed. That land should definitely be used to grow crops for human consumption. The kicker is that we can do that and still have plenty of land left over to feed our animals. Contrary to what the doom and gloomers would have you believe, there is plenty of land to raise both healthy animals and healthy crops. We know, because that’s what we’re doing at Beyond Organic.