Hella people are hungry and have been for a while… Food insecurity is a complex issue and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to stopping that shit. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization defines food security as “a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” I could write a book on this issue (and I probably will), but I want to share what I feel are a few major concepts that play into each other and perpetuate a system that allows people to starve, be hungry, and stay there: Capitalism, Patriarchy, Antiblackness, Cognitive Dissonance, and Fear. These are, in my humble opinion, the top 5 core contributors to food insecurity and understanding how and why it persists, despite the multitude of international efforts. They are not in any particular order outside of capitalism being number one because it is the system in which the unsustainable practices are fostered and nursed into fruition…
When you’re bred into a neoliberal system — like most of us — that was built on free labor and thrives on a false sense of competition it begins to alter the way one perceives the resources around them. It promotes a sense that everything, essentially food, is either yours for the taking, or that anything you get ultimately must come at the expense or detriment to someone else, when in reality there is more than enough food to go around: the things that matter are abundant (and if it matters and is not in abundance, it is systemically scarce or classified as scarce for profit).
I’m referring to the wide spread denial of value in peoples of darker hues even to the extent of disassociating oneself from their historical roots. For example, Israel’s mass deportation Africans, Trump’s beef with Mexicans, and the difference between Dominicans and Haitians bubbles down to aesthetics. These differences are defining factors in mass poverty and food insecurity. Antiblackness can be seen through — but not limited to — acts of racism, colorism, and the lesser talked about texturism (in many places where blacks were/are so light they could/can pass for white, hair texture was/is the last straw determining your social status… shout out to Dr. Donna Oriowo). In the words of Sensei Andre’ 3000, “Across Cultures Darker People Suffer Most. Why?”
It can be argued that sexism predates any other social issue. In many religions and spiritualties, the earth has been associated with women as being life giving, the mother of all life. Societal perceptions of menstruation shifted over time from something that made women powerful to something that makes them weak and vulnerable. History and plenty of gender studies also hint to a correlation between the decline of the quality in the earth’s biosphere (the part of the atmosphere for living things… like humans and platypuses and shit) and the societal treatment and value of femininity and women on a global scale.
This is my fancy way of saying privilege. Now granted everyone has some form of privilege, but the lack of acknowledgment of said privilege is what makes it so dangerous — especially white and male privilege, which are international phenomena. Some people have advantages over others and this is evident when it comes to the international food system in cases where the amount of food is not the issue but the allocation, accessibility, and affordability is (yet some still argue that the solution is to produce more food). The ability of us as humans to turn our heads and accept some injustices over others, considering some wrongs more acceptable than others, is a major problem that perpetuates itself. This selfish perpetuation stems from a lack of respect and empathy generated from the sense of competition that capitalism creates.
Fear is a by-product of capitalism. Being in a constant state of stress over survival and happiness and the fear of what may happen if you can’t do what it takes to live the life you either feel you deserve or someone told you that you needed to live. Fear is probably why we keep sticking with and trying to make capitalism work even though everything is telling us that it kind of sucks…
Again, I could go on for days, but such a complex topic needs to be understood from its essence and causations.
These top 5 are all social issues because food security is a social issue. I will definitely zero in and go more in-depth on each of these factors on an individual basis, but this is just a snap shot of the surface level hindrances to global food security. I hella encourage you to look at your interests and your fears. Think about your role in society and check your privileges daily to understand how, as individuals, we can begin to come together and fix our world. What problem are you passionate about that has been around for a while? What are the top 5 things keeping that problem alive? How do you plan to change the world? Please comment, follow me on IG, Twitter, and Facebook, tell me if you agree or disagree and why? Let’s figure out solutions together because democracy will never work while people are hungry.