Jonathan Foley is the author of National Geographic Society’s cover story in the magazine’s May issue, “A Five-Step Plan to Feed the World.” Today at the National Geographic event, Food: A Forum, which introduced National Geographic’s collaboration with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for an eight-month series on food, Jonathan Foley detailed solutions for meeting the nutritional demands of the world’s growing population.
According to Foley, some of the main issues in feeding the world’s population include politics and institutional challenges, the global change to a meat-based diet, and high rates of land and water usage. Foley discussed his five-step plan to feed the world. First, he argues that the world needs to reduce deforestation. Second, emphasize the need to “deliver more nutrition on less land by solving the ‘yield gaps’ by keeping smallholders on the farm and empowering them to do better.” Third, 70 percent of the world’s water usage is used for irrigating crops, agriculture is affecting climate change, and producers and consumers need to reduce water usage. Fourth, eaters need to rethink diets and biofuels. “We could feed everyone if we had zero food waste and everyone was vegan.” This, Foley accepts, is not reasonable, but starting to make better food choices little by little is a good start. Finally, Foley stresses the capacity for eliminating food waste to solve much of the world’s hunger problem. He states, “Thirty to fifty percent of food is never consumed—globally and even in low-income countries.”
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