How to feed the world

As the world battles to cope with the economic challenges of recent times, life’s essentials are coming under the microscope and it seems we are finally taking a closer look at what we are eating.

Books like Eric Schlosser’s brilliant Fast Food Nation and films such as Food Inc., by director Robert Kenner, has done their bit in trying to change how society thinks about food by scratching open the dark and disgusting underbelly of the gargantuous food industry, questioning the health of our eating habits and the way in which food gets produced. But that is only one side of the food story.

To understand the real impact food has on the world, one has to look at economics and, for the most part, the economics governing food is a complex minefield of market fluctuations, financial swindling, politics and the basic need for survival, something that involves every one of us. Our diet and our choices about food, it seems, has made us part of the problem, but it can also be the solution.

A few months ago, as part of Bon Appétit, an exhibition aimed to educate mainly kids between the ages of 9 and 14 about healthy eating, held at Paris, France’s Cité des Sciences, director Denis van Waerebeke created this educational film about the socio-economic impact the economy of food has on the world. This brilliantly quirky and entertaining video succeeds in simplifying the complicated economics of the production and consumption of food and suggests simple, yet effective ways in which average people can get involved to help bring about much needed change in the way we approach our diet and every day food choices. Films like this, more in-depth features such as Food, Inc. and books such as Fast Food Nation create compelling arguments for consumers to demand more sustainable food production and choose healthier, more conscientious diets.

In the last decade we’ve had to radically alter how we view energy consumption and the impact it has on the environment and the global economy. Food, it seems, is next on the menu.

This post originally appeared on 31 October 2011