Remember the days of our parents, the Baby Boomers? Majority of them had a kitchen garden as a permanent feature of the homestead. Subsequently, households had access to fresh vegetables, fruits, tubers and legumes.
What changed so that nowadays many rural households with access to land are relying on the market to meet the food and nutritional needs of their families?
Evidence of the outcome is all over. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, up to 815 million people worldwide suffer from hunger, and billions of people are malnourished due to poor diets. The latest figures from the Global Nutrition Report 2017 indicate that there are two billion people worldwide who are overweight or obese, a situation which costs the global economy three and a half trillion dollars a year.
Where did we go wrong? Why do majority of people have to wait for development projects to tell them that they need to eat a balanced diet?
What changed so that parents can now comfortably make a public announcement that their children do not like or want to eat vegetables, or pulses or fruits? The most surprising part is that we then delegate the feeding responsibility to school teachers and medical personnel.
The situation is worrying, for further figures in the Global Nutrition Report 2017, indicate that of the two billion people worldwide who are overweight or obese, 41 million are children.
Something must have happened. What else could it be that some families are not concerned that their children are growing, but rarely in height?
What changed? Today we have to wait for the international development community to call our attention to the fact that our population, especially children under the age of five are malnourished: “155 million are stunted (too short for their age), 52 million wasted (too thin for their height), and 41 million are overweight.” (Global Nutrition Report 2017).
The sad part is that we wait for a funded project to tell us that the beans, bananas, vegetables and fruits on our gardens are the cure for what ails our children, our population.
For example, in the last few days, international organizations have launched informative reports, and are now discussing content therein: The State of Food and Agriculture: Leveraging Food Systems for Inclusive Rural Transformations, #SOFA2017. The Global Nutrition Report 2017, #NutritionDecade and more. The least we can do is read the freely available documents and find a way to relate the information to our realities, our needs.
What changes have occurred in the food choices of people where you live? What can household members do to access and consume food of nutritional value to family members?