Updated: May 12, 2020
The Coronavirus pandemic is changing the world in unprecedented ways. And one of the biggest changes we've seen in our day-to-day lives is the way we purchase and consume food.
We no longer have the freedom to go to the shops as and when we please. And we are confronted, perhaps for the first time in our lifetime, with empty supermarket shelves. Heck, I haven't seen an egg in over three weeks!
For the past 50 years, we haven't had to worry about food shortages due to the abundance of our food system. But as borders close, and restrictions to import and travel are put in place, people are questioning whether our food supply could in fact run out. And many of us are feeling insecure about food for the first time as we realise that our food system is not as strong as we once thought.
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Tim Lang argues that Britain has “a false sense of security about food”. There’s an assumption that, as a wealthy nation, we will always be able to buy the produce we need from abroad, but this is a risky assumption in times of crisis.
A country with the UK’s climate will never be fully food self-sufficient, but Lang argues that far more land should be used for food production, to prevent potential food shortages in the future.
And it's not just the UK, about 16% of the world’s population depends on food produced elsewhere. And this number is forecasted to rise to 50% by 2050, due to the exhaustion of farmland and the impact of climate change.
But, we can prevent that number from rising and countries that have traditionally not been able to produce their own food can become more food self-sufficient, with the innovation of food production.
The pandemic has the potential to act as a catalyst for greater food self-sufficiency and innovation. We have already seen countries like Singapore investing heavily in urban agriculture and local food production, as a response to COVID-19. Singapore currently imports more than 90% of its food but aims to produce 30% of its nutritional needs by 2030.
For food self-sufficiency to be improved all over the world, we need new techniques and technologies. The emergence of vertical farming and aquaponics is really exciting, as they enable the production of a wide range of crops, and are less dependent on external factors such as climate and weather.
At BeoBia, we’ve developed a sustainable insect growing pod, enabling users to create their own source of high-quality protein at home, by reusing fruit and vegetable waste. Our mission is to empower everyone to be more food self-sufficient, no matter where they live.
While we are concerned about what the pandemic is yet to bring, we are also optimistic that something better will emerge on the other side.
COVID-19 has highlighted the flaws in our food systems, and we have already seen countries and individuals taking steps to become more food self-sufficient. So, we are optimistic that the pandemic will act as a catalyst for change in the way we produce and consume food all over the world.
We now urge everyone to join us on the sustainable food revolution!
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By Lucy O'Connor