The issue of food insecurity has many dimensions and discourses. A common discourse is to look at food insecurity through an economic lens and link food insecurity to economic disparities. This discourse looks at prices, costs, subsidies and other incentives and proposes solutions that aim at mitigating and rectifying such economic disparities. Another common discourse is one that focuses on rights and balances of power. Those that frame food insecurity in these terms advocate for resolution of tenure issues, for giving voice to the voiceless, for facilitating the integration of vulnerable groups into markets and policy decision making. A third common discourse emphasizes knowledge, and seeks solutions that focus on knowledge sharing and the adoption of improved practices.
All these discourses are helpful. But, I believe, they are incomplete. In my very personal opinion, at its roots food insecurity is a symptom of a spiritual disconnect that, as a society, we have at three levels. First, a disconnect from each other, where we fail to see others as companions in a joint life journey or, as some traditions would say, as brothers and sisters. Would we do anything different if we looked at others as brothers and sisters? Second, a disconnect from the natural world where we fail to see the degradation we are causing at local and global levels as a result of human activities. Would we do anything different if we felt intimately a part of nature? And ultimately, a disconnect from ourselves, where we fail to see that some of the structures we create, and some behaviours that we pursue do not take us closer to inner happiness, peacefulness, and freedom. What habits of consumption, or relating to others, or of sharing would we embrace if we practiced listening to our deep conscience more consistently? In my opinion, cultivating connectedness with others, nature, and ourselves is another practice that will move us closer to a more humane and food secure world.
(Marco Boscolo, Forestry Officer, FAO, and is also a trained coach)