Our food system is not broken.
In fact, global food production continues to steadily increase at a rate faster than population growth. We produce 17% more food per person today than we did 30 years ago – enough to feed more than 10 billion people!
Food System Challenges
But, there’s a catch. Food produced is different than food delivered. Although we produce enough food for 10 billion people, a staggering one-third of that food is wasted. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.2 billion people are malnourished and more than 795 million are severely hungry when they don’t need to be. What’s more, a majority of those starving are farmers.
Our current food system exploits the individuals and systems it purports to serve, and the outcome is destabilization on both social and environmental spheres. Neither the smallholder farmer in Peru who grows Cacao nor the chicken farmer under contract in Arkansas has the autonomy they deserve. Instead, our food system is designed to consolidate control of production. Four companies presently control over 75% of the world's grain production, and factory farms account for 72% of poultry production and 55% of pork production.
Smallholder Farmer Production
Yet, all over the world, smallholder farmers demonstrate great resilience, despite this unparalleled economic, social and environmental adversity. These smallholders produce 70% of the world’s food from only 20% of the world's land in production. Smallholder farmers use only a fraction of the land, water and agricultural resources that large-scale farms do, while producing more than 10 kilocalories of energy for every one kilocalorie expended. In contrast, industrial farms average 1.5 kilocalories of energy for every one kilocalorie expended. Despite smallholder farmers clear contributions, they are forgotten in our current food system. The system is expertly designed to produce calories, not provide nutrition, and to consolidate control, not democratize production. In this way, it’s inherently unjust, not broken.
It’s time to demand the humanization of agriculture and bring smallholder farmers to the forefront. This community, referred to as the Peasant Food Web, is approximately 2.5 billion people strong, almost 40% of the world's population, and the guardians of 95% of our agricultural biodiversity.
Our Part in Strengthening the System
After starting Navitas Organics, founder Zach Adelman identified an opportunity to confront these injustices. By opening economic opportunities for indigenous products to be sold in the United States, Navitas Organics could help support smallholder farmers while guaranteeing a fair and equitable wage. The partnerships we’ve developed with smallholder farms over the years have strengthened both local economies and communities in regions where we do business. To further these bonds and help foster a just food system, Navitas Organics has partnered with organizations that fight for income and social equality, including A Growing Culture, Whole Planet Foundation and Fairtrade.
Additionally, our partnership with A Growing Culture puts famers at the forefront of this change. By supporting farmer-led initiatives, we support their communities to take hold and reshape this unjust food system toward one of environmental, social and economic equity from the ground up. It’s time to listen to the ones who grow our food and stand together to create a better tomorrow!
In honor of World Social Justice Day, we want to extend our gratitude to all farmers for their unbridled support and expertise in their craft, and to acknowledge their impacts on social equity movements throughout the world. Our farmers are not just producers, they are our partners, and without them, Navitas Organics would not be able to deliver the superfoods we all love.