Stories have been circulating recently about the world heading into a global food shortage due to climate change. It’s definitely a concern, but there are ways to avoid it.
I have only seen one article that actually emphasizes how the scientists who sounded the alarm said the crisis can be averted. Moves to more sustainable agriculture are a must. Luckily, there are tons of options to do things more sustainably and they are quite simple.
- Indoor vertical farming — This solution works quite well in many areas of the world, especially in urban areas. Plants are safeguarded inside a structure that can withstand harsh weather, and still be exposed to sunlight and natural fertilizers. Additionally, there are plenty of options on how to set them up, customized for different regions. Aquaponics (fish and plants in a closed-loop system), Aeroponics (utilizes a misting system to keep roots healthy), Hydroponics (Nutrient-rich water circulates through the system), and good old-fashioned dirt.
- For larger crops that won’t do well in enclosed systems, companion planting (planting various types of plants in the same area to supplement one another) or crop rotation are two ways of promoting biodiversity and minimize the ravages of monoculture. This can also increase yields of various types of food.
- Cover crops can be planted during the off-seasons to prevent erosion and add vital nutrients to the soil. Additionally, they can help reduce weed propagation and the need for herbicides.
- Stop tilling, or at least, till less often. Tilling can exacerbate erosion and lead to nutrient loss.
- For managing pests, there are a lot of environmentally friendly ways to keep them away. Some include planting barriers of plants that pests commonly avoid or introducing predatorial insects (such as ladybugs) to eat pests that cause damage to crops. There is a wide range of other methods that reduce the need for chemical pesticides.
- Combine livestock and crops. Most methods of current industrial agriculture keep plants and animals separate. Because of this, we must transport food for livestock or manure for plants large distances, adding to the burning of fossil fuels needlessly. Smart integration practices can reduce not only the carbon footprint but provide a more natural environment for both livestock and crops.
- Plant more trees and shrubs around livestock and farms. They can provide shade, protection, and reduce water evaporation. Not to mention, they might also be an added source of income for the farmers while also contributing to biodiversity.
In conclusion, while it is true we are facing some challenges ahead, I want to stress that fear-mongering is not the way to overcome these challenges. Far too often the media preys upon our fears to push an agenda when most adults really want to see things make sense. More sustainable agricultural practice just plain make better sense for everyone.