Feeding a Hungry Planet — Part I
The theme for Week 2 at Chautauqua Institution this year was “Feeding a Hungry Planet.” I was able to attend only two of the five morning theme lectures, but I did read about them in the Daily Chautauquan.
Monday’s lecturer, Dennis Dimick, called the problem of feeding a hungry world one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced. The population prediction for 2050 is 9 billion! With the affluence of more and more people, those who can afford it want to eat higher on the food chain. Appetites for meat and dairy are on the rise. Individuals need to begin thinking about eating lower on the food chain and trying to move away from meat and dairy. The percentage of people in our country today are far removed from farmers and the crisis that is looming in our future.
Tuesday’s lecturers, Amy Toensing and Tracie McMillan have an article coming out in the August National Geographic, “The New Face of Hunger.” They say that the stereotype of hungry people being lazy or unemployed, or making bad food choices is simply not true. They think the answer lies in economic and political choices.
I did hear the Wednesday and Thursdays lectures. They blew me away! Pamela Ronald is an expert on genetically modified foods and has written a book, Tomorrow’s Table which explains why genetic engineering and organic farming are essential for feeding the world.
I am one of the people she spoke of when she said many do not like the term GMO. If I know that a food item contains genetic modification, I don’t buy it! BUT. . . She said ALL of our food supply is genetically modified today. The ONLY nonGMO foods are a certain type of salmon on the West Coast and wild blueberries on the East Coast.
Then what can we eat to be healthy?? She praised what genetic modifications do to support our food supply. She mentioned foods we would not have today if they had not been genetically modified to survive the diseases they incur naturally. Papaya is one. We would not have enough food for the world today if we did not modify plants to produce more food with the ability to resist droughts or insects.
My take-away from this is – genetically modified food is the ONLY reason we have enough to eat today!