For some the definition of food security is that the population of a country has adequate nutritious foodstuffs available to them on a daily basis so that they can have a healthy productive life.
Of course the bulk of this number (578 million) indicates the populations of Asia and the Pacific and then from my own continent – 239 million people who do not have enough food in Africa.In 2010 it was estimated that there were 925 million people who are hungry. This does not only mean that they did not have any food, but that many of these people were eating the wrong type of foods. Empty calories, foodstuffs that lack the necessary nutritional elements and lack of proteins all refer to the “hunger” issue in our world.
I watched a young woman open her cupboards showing her rows of canned produce and she announced: “Food Security at its best!” and this got me thinking about what I see and understand about what this term means to me.
In 2008 we took the first tentative steps in learning how to grow our own food. At the time my focus was on saving money and reducing my food miles. What was one vegetable patch turned into becoming our whole garden over a 3 year period.
During this time our focus shifted from growing vegetables for saving money, to rather providing a high quality nutritious diet for our family and animals. We also found that as we “grew” in growing vegetables we needed other skills, like learning how to can food, how to freeze produce correctly, cooking methods to retain flavour and nutrients and more.
Following onto this, we started becoming much more aware of what we were putting into our bodies via bought foods and became label readers. We decided that if we did not know what a number was on the ingredient list we would not eat it. We also became much more aware of how farmers grow their food to keep up with demands of a growing population.
Fertilizers, pesticides and GMO foods all produce the perfect vegetables and fruits that we buy off the grocery store shelf, but when you grow food yourself, you realise that organic produce looks very different – and may be subject to a hole or two, and all the cucumbers off one vine are definitely not the same size or shape.
For us food security began to become a feeling of security about what we were feeding ourselves, what we were growing, how we were preserving our foods and vegetables and what we would do if we faced a changed world environment where we would only be able to buy empty calories.
Perhaps you are wondering how you can start taking the steps towards food security for your own family?
Here are some simple steps to follow:
1. Grow some of your own produce. No matter where you are, you can grow herbs in pots on a sunny windowsill if that is all you have, or you can take steps to convert your flower garden into a food garden.
2. Start to read labels of everything you buy! If there is something there that you do not identify immediately as food, then do not buy it.
3. Learn to make your own basic foods like bread, pasta, yoghurt, jams and other foods that you eat often.
4. Find local organic suppliers of food. This is becoming easier and easier with time as organic farmers are sensing the demand for their healthy produce and setting up local farmers markets across the globe.
5. Start to read about nutrition. Look for whole food cookbooks (see this page’s margins for my favourites!)
All these little steps will begin you on a food security journey that will excite and inspire you and those around you to take back your health and the health of your family.
Find out about your tap water!Take a sample to a health shop to have it tested for heavy metals and other nasties! If it is not pure, then invest in a water distiller.