Scarcity To Abundance: “The World Has A Global Food Problem, Or Thinks It Does.”

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With humans already consuming one and a half times more resources than the planet can sustain, one of the biggest challenges facing us is how to increase agricultural output by 60-70%, to feed the extra two billion people expected to live on earth by the year 2050. With profound implications for food prices, the environment, security and future planning by governments, new agricultural techniques and climate change impacting food production are of critical importance. The good news is… historically we’ve managed to increase food production faster than population expansion. But the solution is not only innovative food production techniques and technologies, it also resides firmly in food wasteGetting food from the farm to our fork eats up 10% of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50% of U.S. land and swallows 80% of all freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40% of the food in the U.S. today goes uneaten.

In his global food scandal campaign, Tristram Stuart sounds the warning bell on global food waste, calling for us to change the systems whereby large quantities of produce and other foods end up in trash heaps. This TED talk follows his story, which among other very compelling facts details how the UK, US and Europe have nearly twice as much food as is required by the nutritional needs of their populations, and if crops wastefully fed to livestock are included, European countries have more than three times more food than they need, while the US has around four times more food than is needed.

Intermarche, the third largest supermarket chain in France, last year decided to partner with its’ growers to ‘rehabilitate’ the 300 million tons of “inglorious” fruit and vegetables that would normally be thrown away. The result… 1.2 tons of product sold per store in two days, with a 24% increase in store traffic and more than 13 million people reached. The campaign for Inglorious Foods has been so successful, the products are now a permanent fixture in stores.

Urban Food Forests are popping up everywhere and so are new supperclubs that serve beautiful meals made from salvaged food. There’s even an app that deals with food waste. Every day in New York City, 6.5 millions pounds of food are thrown away. PareUp connects businesses with customers to buy surplus food at the end of a night, so instead of that ‘waste’ filling up the land, it can fill up our mouths.

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