Spotlight: FoodTank Challenges Global Food System to Improve

Danielle Nierenberg is an expert on agriculture and food and co-founder of Food Tank: The Food Think Tank www.foodtank.org. She is an expert on sustainable agriculture and food issues. She recently spent two years traveling to more than 35 countries across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia looking at environmentally sustainable ways of alleviating hunger and poverty. Her knowledge of global agriculture issues has been cited widely in more than 3,000 major publications including The New York Times, USA Today, the International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post, BBC, the Guardian(UK), the Mail and Guardian (South Africa), the East African (Kenya), TIME magazine, Reuters, Agence France Presse, Voice of America, the Times of India, and other major publications. Danielle worked for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic and also currently serves as the food security adviser for Citizen Effect (an NGO focused on sustainable development projects worldwide).

There is no doubt that the food system is broken. More than one billion people are obese, nearly one billion people go to bed hungry every night, and at least two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Roughly a half-century after the Green Revolution—the first systematic, large-scale attempt to reduce poverty and hunger throughout the world—a large share of the human family is still chronically without food, reliable income, and access to education. And over the last 30 years, the western food system has been built to promote over-consumption of a few consolidated commodities and has failed to be the harbinger of health as it spreads around the world. The epidemic of obesity in industrialized and developing countries alike is increasing the risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other maladies. Ironically, the “solution” to hunger—increasing production of starchy staple crops—has also created the problem of obesity.