Solutions for a hungry world

May 2, 2012

By 2050, experts say, the planet will need at least 70 percent more food than it does today as its population soars, cities sprawl and climate change takes its toll. Will it be possible?

That’s a question AlertNet put to hunger fighters worldwide for a special multimedia report out today probing the future of food. Their answer: The planet can feed itself – but only if two “revolutions” happen, and happen soon.

The first would involve sweeping changes to entrenched policies and practices that are, in the end, unsustainable. Policies such as spending trillions on agriculture and fuel subsidies. And practices such as eating so much meat and dairy.

This would mean radical policy shifts including potentially a ban on turning grain into biofuel, or placing limits on food speculation. It would mean persuading millions of newly affluent people in China and India not to take on Western-type diets.

Luckily, the second revolution seems a little more in our grasp. That’s because it’s already happening – in farms and fields, in laboratories and government offices, in factories and markets.

Unlike the last century’s “Green Revolution”, which relied on new high-yielding crops and more irrigation to boost production, this revolution relies on countless “green bullets” to tackle hunger.

For our special report, we’ve broken these solutions into four “how-to” categories:

From “sack gardens” in Nairobi slums and green ghettoes under New York skyscrapers to a disaster-proof “super rice” in the Philippines and steps to give women title to land in India’s Andhra Pradesh, these are innovations tailored to specific local challenges.

We hope the list will continue to grow as readers contribute more ideas from around the world. Check out the Solutions for a Hungry World blog and leave your comments.

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