Earth Day 2018: Food Security & the Environment

Earth Day should, in fact, be every day. Efforts to recycle more and use water less have become more and more prominent among a wider range of people. The push to take care of our planet is, if not widely accepted, widely circulated even among those who would not necessarily label themselves as environmentalists. What is more, we are all making an effort to acknowledge the natural resources we might be putting in jeopardy through our daily routines. Lifting people out of poverty can include what the Nature Conservancy calls “sustainable intensification,” or the inclusion of science and technology that advances our use of water and conservation of soils.

Despite our efforts, there are still some areas in which we could give more attention regarding how we contribute to global environmental issues. We sometimes ignore the harm we cause to our planet, but April 22nd provides us an opportunity to be more mindful about our choices and to, possibly, start again with less harmful ecological habits at home and on the farm.

At the World Food Bank, we believe food security is an environmental issue , and we use every opportunity to better our ecosystem through soil inputs and fertilization that replenish farmland, as well as irrigation systems that help maintain the land during dry periods so that we are not only farming for the present but also farming for the future. With advancing technologies, we are able to monitor planting, harvesting, irrigation, and overall crop maintenance such that we ensure the most sustainable outcomes for years ahead.

Earth Day Network is also making an impact on the East African farming community through their reforestation projects: “In 2015 and 2016, 310,000 fast-growing and multi-purpose trees were planted in in Busia, Uganda to support local farming communities,” and they supplemented the planting with educational resources to help continue to transform farming land in Busia. These reforestation projects provide a useful environmental solution to several linked problems and aids in the steps WFB takes to combat global food insecurity.

Food security, for the WFB community, comes out of the organized ecosystem. Our ecological emphasis revolves around natural cycles that enhance the smallholder farmer’s experience. Our food drying and storage technologies extend the shelf-life of food, but that food emerges from a natural system that includes cycles in rain, crop rotation, and crop diversity. Attention to the environment can provide global food security, but inadvertently, it has its economic advantages as well. With healthy soils and good seed variety, smallholder farmers are provided with methods to an economically viable solution to poverty.

With the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day approaching in 2020, we are all setting goals to make positive contributions to the planet through conscious, green farming practices that implement our evolving technological advances. We can educate ourselves on sustainable farm efforts and impact our farm communities in small and large ways through local resources. As we make decisions that favor a balanced and mutually-beneficial ecosystem, we are looking to improve not only the quality of agriculture but also to improve the overall farming experience in relation to the most sustainable practices.