Over the past few months, awareness about food insecurity and crisis faced by the farmers has surfaced to the top. Along with small businesses, farmers are another segment of the economy, badly hit by the pandemic and shutdowns worldwide, especially in Canada where we deal with extreme climates.
According to the United Nation’s World Food Program “Food insecurity refers to the lack of secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal human growth and development for an active and healthy life. For people to be food secure, food must be both consistently available and accessible in sufficient quantities and diversity. Households must be able to utilize (store, cook, prepare and share) the food in a way that has a positive nutritional impact.”
135 million people around the world were already facing an acute food shortage. The numbers are now expected to double by the end of this year. That is 265 million people, globally, being pushed to the brink of starvation. Experts say, this hunger crisis is global and caused by a multitude of factors and the ensuing interruption of the economic order: the sudden loss in income for countless millions who were already living hand-to-mouth; widespread shortages of hard currency from tourism drying up; overseas workers not having earnings to send home; and ongoing problems like climate change, violence, population dislocations and humanitarian disasters.
Logistical problems such as planting, harvesting and transporting of crops is facing hurdles like never before. According to Sylvain Charlebois of Dalhousie University’s Food Analytics Lab, in the past, there wasn’t usually much relation between the food supply chain and retail costs, but now costs are going up all around because of the current scenario. That’s why food prices cannot drop.
In 2017, the average Canadian household spent $8527 annually on food. While the typical rate of inflation is 1.5 to 2%, it is expected to increase to 4% by the end of this year. While we continue to battle the global issues, there are some things we can do on a personal level to minimize effects and be responsible with what we have. Mentioned below are some points to begin with:
- Save the seeds from fruits and vegetables to plant them in the appropriate season. (make sure to buy organic ones to avoid the effects of chemicals in the seeds)
- Get re-purpose glass jars and food storage containers. They can be used for a multitude of things.
- Find creative ways to stretch meals or replace ingredients. For example, instead of throwing away or composting overripe fruits, blend it with some honey or maple syrup and freeze it for homemade ice cream/sorbet.
- Propagate herbs and vegetables to grow more/share with friends and family
- Stock up on non-perishable food for emergency such as rice, beans, quinoa, dried pasta, lentils, spices, canned fruits and vegetables, dehydrated foods etc. Meanwhile, just buy enough at present to sustain your family.
- Do not waste food. Freeze in advance what you think you may not be able to finish.
- Refill your medicines and stock up sensibly on vitamins and first aid.
- Cook extra if you can and freeze a portion using the food storage containers you might already have. Be mindful to not invest in new plastic products but use what you have to the best of your ability.
- Learn best practices and techniques from homesteading programs.
- Start Hydroponics at home with what you have. It is a process of growing food without soil. Read more about Hydroponics here.
Our aim here is to not buy and store food abundantly but to avoid any wastage and find creative ways to sustain ourselves in the time of crisis. This is the perfect time to start growing food for ourselves and teach our children the importance of being self-sustaining. Find a list of emergency food here. It is also important to be mindful of any waste we might be creating in this process. While plastic zip bags and other plastic food storage containers can be used in freezing food, it is important to use what we have and invest in sustainable containers such has bamboo, steel or cloth bags for dried food. For more information, visit the links provided below. Share these tips with your friends and family. We can all play our part and do our best to minimize damage in the crisis that is yet to come. The best time to prepare for food emergency is as soon as we anticipate it, but at the same time not overbuy and leave the shelves of stores empty.
Whenever possible, donate to food banks and shelter homes. Remember, everyone needs some food to survive.
For causes, that affect mankind, our children and future generation, it is imperative that we start preparing now. For this, we need your help. Your generous donation can help us reach our goal of building green schools. Click here.
Photo by Megan Markham on Unsplash