You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that there’s something wrong with the global food system. More than one third of all food grown worldwide is wasted. The drive to produce more, faster, is polluting our soil, air, and water. More than 1 billion people are obese; nearly 1 billion people go to bed hungry every night; at least 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Leaving these problems in the hands of industry and political leaders hasn’t yielded any answers, so it’s time for we the people to get involved.
The Food Tank, launched today, is a think tank meant to bring people together in discussing and solving these problems. Co-founded by Ellen Gustafson, a sustainable food system activist and social entrepreneur, and Danielle Nierenberg, an expert on sustainable agriculture and food issues, Food Tank hopes address domestic and global food issues by highlighting how hunger, obesity, climate change, unemployment, and other problems can be solved by more research and investment in agriculture.
Thanks to their own extensive experience and research, Gustafson and Nierenberg already know what world leaders have yet to discover. More commercial agriculture and factory farms aren’t the solution, they’re part of the problem. Through Food Tank, they “want to tell stories of hope and success in agriculture and highlight the innovations that are working on the ground to help alleviate hunger and poverty while also protecting the environment, and shine a spotlight on these initiatives so they get more attention, more research, and ultimately more funding and investment.”
Nierenberg and Gustafson plan to build a “Johnny Appleseed fund” to award small grants to such innovative food and farming projects, shining a light on them to attract the attention of bigger foundations. “The funding community tends to focus on big, sexy technologies,” Nierenberg told Grist. “But they often don’t live up to their promises. All these things that are already working — why not invest in them?”