Food and You
Dallas E. Boggs, PhD
THE CURRENT FOOD CRISIS has been compounded by the energy crisis, but it has been coming on for a long time.
Like air and water, food is often taken for granted; and this is more likely to happen where it is abundant. The areas where food is plentiful seem to be shrinking as the world population continues to grow at an alarming rate. The present increase in population is approximately 1.0% per year, and it is estimated that there are now about 7.2 billion people in the world. This means that at least 180 thousand hungry youngsters will be here for breakfast tomorrow that are not here today!
Next year more than 60 million new inhabitants will arrive to swell the earth's human population. How will they be fed? Does anybody have plans to meet the demands of this hungry horde? The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is fully aware of this critical situation and is already showing good progress in several directions. The problem is being studied in terms of population density, mini¬mum food requirements for health, arable land available, crop yields with present agricultural practice and possibilities for in¬creasing yields without depletion of the land. The task faced by the FAO is staggering in size and complexity, but it is very much worthwhile; it may even turn out to be more important than all of the other activities of the United Nations combined.
Well fed people usually are friendly neighbors. It is evident that the relation of food to the welfare of man is a problem of international scope and, at the same time, uniquely personal. More than half of the earth's inhabitants find it difficult if not impossible to get enough to eat. This means that these peo¬ple have little choice of food; they must be content with what¬ever is available. It is easy to understand that such a situation might lead to grossly inadequate eating patterns. On the other hand, the person who is fortunate enough to live in an area of abundance should not feel complacent about his personal food problems. It often happens, even in the midst of plenty, that ignorance or faulty food habits cause many people to select seriously faulty diets.
Furthermore, we must not remain complacent about the sustainability of the modern industrial agricultural
practices that have created that abundance; however, reverting to inefficient farming methods is not the answer.