You may have heard about the explosion in human population, rising oceans leading to lower food crop production and the famine that many are suffering from around the world.
For most of the latter 20th century the solution to starvation was to send food, and not to address the core of the issue. The underlying idea is that people need to be able to create their own nutritious food supplies, and find a sustainable population level for their region and environment.
There are many crops that could do more for the poor and hungry in the world, and one Peruvian based NGO is actively working towards sustainable solutions all over the world. The International Potato Center (CIP) is working to bring nutrient rich potato farming to the poorest areas of the planet. While their approach isn’t as sexy as a Tesla, it has the potential to change the balance of hunger among some of the most vulnerable people out there.
Many people don’t understand the pervasiveness of hunger, and the effects that it has on a society. When people are forced to eat the cheapest food available, in most cases, that means some serious nutrient deficiencies.
In practical terms, these deficiencies mean stunted growth, higher rates of illness, and even diminished brain development. While sweet potatoes are only part of the solution, they can provide the impoverished with a great source of many vitamins that would be impossible to obtain otherwise.
Not only can potatoes provide much needed vitamins, they are much less destructive to produce than other inexpensive alternatives, like wheat. They can also be farmed on a small scale, so local communities can take charge of their own food production. Unfortunately, they are not a native food in many areas of the world, so getting people up to speed can be quite a task.
Eat A Potato!
One of the biggest advantages that potatoes have over other staple crops is their ease of use. Unlike wheat or rice, there is no complicated process needed before they are eaten. Unlike wheat, there is no milling, and once the potatoes are removed from the earth, they are good to go!
Groups like the CIP are definitely on the right side when it comes to developing long term solutions to world hunger, and if you want to know more about who they are, just follow this link. The bottom line is that if we are going to find ways for people to eat locally, there will need to be some big changes to how we farm our food.