FOOD MATTERS: Small-scale, intensive food production paying off

NANAIMO: We all have a right to adequate food. Many work to extend that right to less fortunate folk.

Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, will speak via with live webcast on The Right to Food: a Weapon against Global Hunger on Tuesday (Nov. 27) at Tufts University in Maryland.

If the intelligence and dedication with which De Schutter and others attack global hunger were applied to population, we might get some results.

We all know we have a right to adequate food. Many of us work to extend that right to less fortunate folk in our communities. All but sociopaths will reach out to help others who are hungry.

When I taught in the blackboard jungle of public education in the slums of Glasgow in the early 1960s, metal milk crates were delivered to all classrooms at recess. Few rejected the small bottles. Some of the biggest, toughest boys would come around to see if there was any extra milk after distribution and gulp it down.

There were subsidized hot meals for lunch, too, and nobody knew who had paid and who had not.

I cannot imagine how we could have got through each day without the food supplied by the city for kids who had little use for a day in class.

Meantime, we teachers were developing relationships with young people we would never have met any other way, and sharing what worldly wisdom we had in place of parents mostly too poor and discouraged to be of much use.

De Schutter knows that producing more food does not affect hunger when the extra food does not get to the hungry. He knows that until we deal with the political causes of poverty many people will go hungry while a few others waste precious resources. This is a nuanced understanding of the issue, meaning you look below the surface blend of poverty, ignorance, apathy and low self-esteem to find the tangle of bad policies which are the root cause of hunger.

If we get to a nuanced consideration of excess population, I expect we will find that the root causes are not irresponsibility of poor parents so much as the irresponsible behaviours of those who deprive others through greed.

Increased financial security is known to decrease population.

The agro-ecology strategies encouraged by De Schutter for small-scale, intensive food production in sub-Saharan Africa are already paying off.

When the tsunami of hunger caused by the failure of unsustainable global food systems hits the over-developed world, maybe it will be our turn to feel the pangs of hunger on an over-populated Vancouver Island while Africans are feeding themselves?

 

Marjorie Stewart is board chairwoman of Nanaimo Foodshare Society. She can be reached at marjoriean dalstewart@shaw.ca

Just Posted

Letter writer suggests ways residents and the municipality can address the problem of litter along the highway. (Stock photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don’t add to litter problem

Letter writer who picks up litter along Parkway Trail implores Nanaimo to be tidier

Janice Coady, left, Aimee Chalifoux and Linda Milford at a vigil for Amy Watts on Wednesday, June 16, outside Nanaimo city hall. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

The B.C. Ministry of Education has announced close to $44 million for the province’s schools for COVID-19 recovery. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school stakeholders say COVID-19 recovery funding can make a difference

B.C. Ministry of Education announces it expects a ‘near-normal’ return to class in September

Nanaimo artist Melissa Anderson has paintings on display at White Rabbit Coffee Co. for the next month. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo painter showcases coastal Island views in first exhibit in two years

Melissa Anderson presents ‘Seascapes’ oil painting exhibit at White Rabbit Coffee Co.

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Most Read