From Farm to Table: Where does food come from?

Aug 30, 2021|2Zero Hunger

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In modern cities and towns across developed countries, we are used to buying anything we need from the supermarket. Have you been to the supermarket with your parents or family members? Have you seen the variety of foods available to buy? 

 

Where does food come from? 

Take bread, for example. There are many varieties of bread available in our supermarkets, such as multigrain, low-carb, brown, white, etc., and many types of bread -burger buns, hot dog bread, sandwich bread, with crust, without crust, etc. Then we have different brands of the same type of bread. Which bread brand does your family buy? Can you remember without looking in the pantry? 

However, not all countries are as lucky. In some societies, the options are limited by local production. Also, in some countries, the production of new products works at a smaller scale. For example, have you ever been to a farm and witnessed the wheat planting and harvesting process? Did you know that to produce the bread you eat at home, the journey starts in a farm where farmers plant and harvest wheat kernels, sell the harvested grain to flour millers who then grind the grain into different types of flour – whole wheat, all-purpose, bread flour, etc. This flour is then sold to companies that produce bread or sell the flour directly to customers for home consumption or bakers and restaurants that make baked goods. Without the farmers, the whole process wouldn't be possible. 

The UN goal number 2, Zero Hunger, focuses on making sure everyone has access to food. And with more than a quarter of a billion people potentially at the brink of starvation, swift action needs to be taken to provide food and humanitarian relief to the most at-risk regions.

According to the UN, by 2030, we must double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment. But perhaps the starting point is to educate people about the origins of food, how to produce food sustainably and how to provide more opportunities for farmers and local producers. 


 

Helping Local Farmers

When it comes to the changes needed to optimize our food systems, rural small-scale farmers are the on-the-ground experts: not only do they know what it's like to navigate challenges like climate change, but they also know what it takes to produce good food for all. Small local farmers also know what governmental changes allow for smoother processes both for agricultural development and good quality produce from farm to table. Many seem to agree changes in access to finance and training are urgently needed. By accessing better financing to get small farmers started, buying grains and cattle, getting established, and having better access to education for the younger generations, we can optimize food production long-term. 

RURAL VOICES – BHUTAN – KINLEY PENJOR video


 

With this in mind, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) project Rural Voices focuses on gathering information from small rural farmers and food producers worldwide. The IFAD is an international financial institution and specialized United Nations agency based in Rome, at the UN's food and agriculture hub. Since 1978, they have provided US$23.2 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached an estimated 518 million people. The IFAD invests in rural small-scale farmers and empowers them to increase food security and improve the nutrition of their local communities. 

In which ways do you think you could help local farmers where you live? 

 

Agriculture, Old but Still Cool 

Did you know agricultural communities developed approximately 10,000 years ago when humans began to domesticate plants and animals? 

According to experts, the first crops humans started cultivating included emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, hulled barley, peas, lentils, bitter vetch, chickpeas, and flaxseed. Many of these are still around today. 

Head over to the bonus content section at the end for an easy, yummy lentil recipe you can make for your whole family. 

Agriculture is at the center of the economy. Agriculture drives exports and imports and keeps the population fed. Agriculture is the single largest employer in the world, providing livelihoods for 40% of the global population. Yet often the general population knows so little about what it takes to be a sustainable local farmer. 

 

Bonus Content: Food Waste Warrior, let's cook together! 

Your mom or dad made lentil soup, and you have some leftovers. What do you do? In our previous end hunger post, we talked about becoming a food waste warrior; let's try to put that in practice once again.

Let's make lentil fritters. You will need: 

Ingredients

  • leftover lentils (300g approx.)
  • A handful of chopped herbs (parsley or cilantro) 
  • 1 chopped spring onion
  • 50g gram of any flour
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 zucchinis 
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil 

Method

  • Mix the leftover lentils with the chopped herbs, spring onion, and flour, then set aside. Use a peeler (or ask a grown-up to help) to cut the carrots and zucchini into long ribbons. Mix the sesame seeds, sesame oil, and lime juice and add to the carrot and zucchini ribbons. 
  • Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan. Very carefully spoon in four dollops of the lentil mixture and flatten into patties. Fry each side until golden and serve with the ribbon salad. Enjoy it!
     
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Thinking Cap On: 

Do some online research with your family and find a local farm that sells fresh produce. Plan to head over there to see the products they sell and speak with the farmer or shopkeepers about their harvesting and seasonal produce. Then make a poster explaining the pros and cons of buying local produce. Is it better for the environment? Carbon footprint? Local economy? How can you help your community by educating more people about the pros of buying local?

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