Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Why Can't We Feed Everyone?

If a mother and father fail to feed their children for any long period of time, the government will step in for the sake of the children and take action. When citizens of Canada fail to have access to food, with some living on the streets eating garbage, average people walk around them as if to pass some sort of refuse. Sadly, much of this problem does not even affect Canadian adults, but their children.

So, I am going to take a complex problem and simplify it into a question.

 Why can we not feed everyone in Canada? 

Is it a lack of political will? 

Yes, to a certain extent, the government does not have the political will to fight poverty and hunger directly, instead pouring money into programs that often either compete with each other or handle very large numbers of people with the bare minimum of a budget.

Are we cruel? 

I would have to agree that society is still quite cruel, while we have advanced to become more technologically savvy( Kind of), we are still very cruel to each other. We hate too easily, live with too much stress and view our fellow Canadians as adversaries, contrary to the belief that Canadians are nice to everyone.

Are Food Supplies Short? 

This has to be the most upsetting thing about our current system and problem. While we have people either going without the proper nutrition or just in general hungry, we actually have more than enough food to feed everyone.

So much so, that even if our food supplies are low, we have the technology to develop and maintain food supplies, even into the winter months.

So, Whats Up? 

It isn't even what is up, but more accurately what is down. Since the majority of our food comes from either California or Mexico, we often fall victim to the pricing and conditions of other markets that directly affects Canadians. The problem overall is that we are not organized enough in Canada to use every bit of our food supply chain to its maximum efficiency.

Throw in the risk of law suits and public scandal and you have even more food put to waste instead of being redistributed to those in great need. I remember personally working for a large Canadian supermarket chain, who would rather throw everything out each night as opposed to take a loss in price with the high risk of someone complaining about illness.

This problem isn't just with commercial enterprise though, as the typical Canadian tends to waste a lot of food annually, an average of $400.00 in some cases.

My background is Italian, so in my family it was natural to ensure that no one went hungry. Whether we were growing and cooking our own food or cooking in bulk at home to ensure food was available. This changed though as members of family began to become more and more integrated into Canadian society. The best example would have to be with younger family members, who have entered the habit that purchasing food instead of making it from scratch is the way to go and they aren't alone.

People have forgotten the traditions of their family in many cases and naturally lose the ability to cultivate, prepare and cook their own food from scratch. This isn't all their fault though, as society has become more demanding in Canada. Job security for one thing is no longer present in many industries and while our advances in technology have been cool, they have also led to more demanding requirements from employers, which sadly leaves less time for activities in the home and with the family.

This may seem perfectly natural, but it has ripple effects that are leading to the average person losing quality in their life and with others being left behind or ignored.

When you look at the charities on tv showing famine on the continent of Africa, you often see many children eating a mushy rice, which will provide them with a basic nutritional value. In Canada, many people are forced to pick between different canned foods, which often contain a lot of fat and salt. I often argue that rice may fill a persons belly, but pasta puts a smile on their face!

In a country as rich as Canada, we shouldn't be witnessing the ever growing need for food banks and rampant hunger among the poor. Italians faced many years of poverty after World War II, which supported the Cucina Polvera concept. This concept would be an important addition to Canadian mindsets, as it basically means poor kitchen. What it entails is the utilization of various ingredients that are basic and easy to make available, in doing so, it creates flexible recipes that create food in small portions that allow people to eat.

Whether Canadians in need adopt this policy or not, it is important that their ingredients remain natural and not canned and processed with large amounts of salt and sugar. In doing so, we are investing in lower health care costs and hopefully lower social assistance costs, as healthy people have the strength to not only survive, but also thrive.

It has become sadly evident that the various charities and social programs currently in place are not adequate enough to solve the problem, they are becoming overwhelmed and cannot address the numbers in need. Climate change will only make this problem worse in the near future, as our food sources become vulnerable to more extreme weather, which means the number of people expect is only going to grow internationally, which includes Canada.

Salvation Army Hunger Campaign

Do you agree with what I have said in this post? Does Canada have the resources available to end poverty and hunger from sea to sea to sea?

The Political Road Map


  1. I did a couple of online university courses in global food security. I used the assigned readings as a starting point for some independent study. In these materials I first became acquainted with the global problem of soils degradation and exhaustion. Consider it the aftermath of the Green Revolution that permitted mankind's numbers to double over the past half century.

    These various studies were digested into a 2014 report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, UN FAO, that warned mankind has about 60 harvests left before the bulk of the planet's arable farmland fails.

    India is one example. Before the Green Revolution India endured periodic famine. Afterward, India became a significant exporter of foodstuffs. The Indians had learned that a combination of groundwater irrigation coupled with generous applications of agri-chemicals (fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides) could guarantee bumper crops. Few considered the long-term consequences of agriculture on steroids. Groundwater resources became depleted and the steady use of agri-chemicals for intensive agriculture left the soil exhausted, thin and useless. In some of India's major agricultural regions, getting a crop now requires double the application of chemical fertilizers. That's like battling lung cancer by going from two to three packs a day.

    It takes between 500 to 1,000 years to produce less than an inch of topsoil. We've ignored that harsh reality.


    1. Thank you for your comment! I love the link and can appreciate the anxiety created with soil degradation as an issue in and of itself!

      Looking at Canada though, we seem to have missed the opportunity to really use science and technology in order to grow our food.

      My neighbour built an Aquaponics system a few years ago and it blew my mind. No soil, just water, fish and a special kind of rock that is used to house the plants and is sustainable.

      He grew a garden with fresh fish in an area that could easily fit into anyone's basement storage space.

      The issue though is that in Ontario, our hydro rates are too expensive at the moment and the technology to heat and light the plants is here, but needs investment to bring the cost down.

      We could be building these systems throughout Canada easily with government intervention and in doing so, would not only secure a year round food supply, but also invest in a technology that will be required in the future, as our planet and the weather changes around us.

      Thank you again for the comment as your focus is an important one, people do not realize the impact our society and our ignorance has on the earth!

  2. Anthony, you should get your hands on a copy of Attenborough's Planet Earth II. The sixth and concluding episode examines cities and the progress being made to accommodate them to forestation and the return of wildlife. The transformation underway in London is astonishing. Elsewhere municipalities are mandating rooftop gardens for highrises, commercial and residential. In cities such as Detroit, derelict slums are being cleared and the lots used for urban agriculture. While, overall, the accomplishments are still modest they show how much may be possible through a change in our outlook.

    1. I will definetely check it out! Thank you for the recommendation.

      The reality of the situation is that we need to look at a multitude of solutions to fix our current overall problem.

      Climate change and population growth are complex issues, but standing around with the excuse of ignorance is not a solution, so anything positive to keep feeding people in a sustainable and healthy fashion is always a good thing.