According to the article “A Five step Plan to Feed the World” on the National Geographic Site, by 2050 the world’s population will reach approximately 9 billion. Since agriculture is one of the greatest contributors to climate change and has one of highest water uses of any industry in the world, finding a way to produce enough food for a rapidly growing population in an increasingly hotter and dryer climate will be difficult.
In the past whenever we have had to produce more food, we’ve plowed more grasslands or cut down more forests to make room for farms. In human history we have cleared out an area roughly the size of South America for farming. Agriculture alone has accelerated the loss of biodiversity more than any other practice; as we have claimed territory for agriculture, we have destroyed the habitats of countless species. We can no longer afford to take more land and instead must find ways to maximize our yield with what we have by utilizing more sustainable agricultural practices.
Whole Foods is taking a step in the right direction: I learned that while Whole Foods is a chain, they recognize the importance of buying locally grown food. One of the primary ways to decrease the impact of the agricultural industry’s impact on the climate is to minimize the distance food has to be transported; one can do this as well as supporting the regional economy by buying locally. Whole Foods Has a program called “Whole Trade Guarantee program” in which profits help fund projects like community centers and schools in developing nations.
On a side note, Whole Foods also plans to label all their products containing GMO’s by 2018.