woman starving africa

This New Food Tank Hopes To Rehabilitate Our Troubled Global Food System

woman starving africa

There’s no doubt that the food system is broken. More than 1 billion people are obese, nearly 1 billion people go to bed hungry every night, and at least 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies.  We need solutions””from schools and hospitals to fields and forests and from boardrooms to parliaments.

Food Tank: The Food Think Tank, founded by food and agriculture experts Ellen Gustafson and Danielle Nierenberg, is a bold new voice in bringing attention to these crucial issues. The startup is set to launch on January 10 and hopes to propel change by fostering the growing community of voices on food issues. The site will be a heavily interactive global resource for food and agriculture related issues and a home base for connecting those involved in the food system, from producers and consumers to policy-makers and activists.

Co-founders Gustafson and Nierenberg bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the think tank — Gustafson is the Founder and Executive Director of the 30 Project and Co-Founder of the FEED project and Nierenberg recently visited more than 35 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia looking at environmentally sustainable ways of alleviating hunger and poverty. She currently serves as the food security adviser for Citizen Effect, an NGO focused on sustainable development projects worldwide.

Roughly a half-century after the Green Revolution””the first systematic, large-scale attempt to reduce poverty and hunger throughout the world””a large share of the human family is still chronically without food, reliable income, and access to education. And over the last 30 years, the Western food system has been built to promote over-consumption of a few consolidated commodities and has failed to be the harbinger of health as it spreads around the world. The epidemic of obesity, in industrialized and developing countries alike, is increasing the risks of diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, and other maladies.

In addition, we waste vast amounts of food””more than one third of all food worldwide is discarded (1.3 billion tons annually). In the developing world, roughly 40 percent of all food goes to waste as a result of pests, disease, and improper storage.

Food Tank is planning a 2013 Change the Food System summit, conducting on-the-ground research both domestically and internationally, preparing research reports and books, highlighting road maps for sustainable agricultural systems, and building an innovations database. The Food Tank site will be posting new research and insights daily.

If we start now, there is an opportunity to develop a better vision for the global food system. Fixing the system requires changing the conversation and finding ways that make food production””and consumption””more economically, environmentally, and socially just and sustainable.

The solutions, both big and small, are out there””in market garden projects in rural Niger, on rooftop gardens in Vietnam, at research institutes in Taiwan, and in individual communities all over the world. Unfortunately, these projects are not getting the attention and the investment they need. This needs to change and Food Tank: the Food Think Tank is prepared to take on that challenge!

For more information, watch the trailer here: www.FoodTank.org.

A version of this article was provided by Food Tank: The Food Think Tank

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Feature photo by Feed My Starving Children

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