Every year, for at least a decade, it is estimated that society produces 4 billion tonnes of food. Roughly 1.3 billion tonnes, or 33%, gets lost either during food processing or simply as waste. In the US on the other hand up to 40% of the food intended for humans is never eaten.
So, before we start talking about the alleged need to produce more food to keep up with the growing world population, lets first reduce the waste of food that we already produce.
When we are feeding about 7.6 billion people with 4 billion tonnes of food and we lose 1.3 billion tonnes of it in the process then we can safely estimate that we can at least reduce the food waste by 50%. That is, we can reduce the waste by half only by addressing the throwing away of perfectly fine food. This 50% is about 0.65 tonnes of food. For the other 50% we will for now just assume that it is lost anyway during food production and processing.
With this 0.65 tonnes of food, annually, we could be feeding at least an additional 1.13 billion people without having to produce a single gram of food extra. In total this would allow us to produce food for at least 8.73 billion people.
When we take the projections for population growth into account, we are looking at a world population of roughly 8.6 billion people by the year 2030. So far we would still not have to produce more food for human consumption.
After 2030 we’d obviously have to organize an increase in food production but here is where the doomsday scenarios are way off target. The most common “estimates” would have you believe that society would have to increase its food production by 70%, of today’s levels.
That of course is factually incorrect and it assumes that there’s no hope that people can actually improve their diets instead of increasingly relying on processed foods that have ever lower nutritional values.
The change in attitude starts with the consumer, you and I. We decide what we eat and what we buy. Instead of buying prepackaged meals we all can return to cooking our own fresh meals, automatically increasing the nutrition values of our meals and automatically reducing the amount of food that gets lost as factories and food processing plants produce prepackaged low-nutrition food. We also decide how much food we throw away at home, so instead of throwing away perfectly fine food rethink the way you shop and consume. Prove the fearmongers wrong, prove to yourself and them that we ourselves can actually make sense of our lives and organize our own communities without the need for centralized global governance.