How sustainable food production can restore ecosystems

Commercial farming is the main source of food production in South Africa as in many parts of the world and as the population grows this method of producing our food is quickly becoming impractical and is no longer fit for purpose.

The production of food is one of the biggest source of deforestation and extracts a large amount of water, whilst contributing to the loss of biodiversity and soil erosion, ultimately contributing to climate change.

Pesticides, hormones, overfishing and over tilling are a few activities that have led to the imbalance in natural systems and have shrank the number of limited resources, threatening the supply of food which in turn causes food insecurity.

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) states the ability to produce food has gone up by nearly 300% over the past 50 years with a third of the food produced ending up in landfills, while the number of people affected by hunger increases.

This is a clear indication of the connection between humans and nature and further highlights the importance transforming our current food system.

Making use of systems and processes available in nature as a boost along with the following actions will assist in the way we use our natural resource and lead to the creation of a circular food economy:

• Regenerative agriculture

• Recovering and recycling organic waste

• Growing diverse crops and planting trees.

By empowering smallholder farmers (most of which are in rural areas) we can ensure the safe production of food regionally, addressing food insecurity in those communities while tackling issues such as food loss and waste. Through this a circular food system is established with the clear focus of reviving the natural environment that will produce nutritious food to feed people and feed animals now and beyond.

The sooner we realize that a healthy environment will not only help end hunger, but also contribute the increase in the overall quality of our lives and that of future generations the better it will be for all.