As the population expands and we continue to practice monoculture farming, our resources are becoming scarcer. According to the World Bank, by 2050 the world will need to produce at least 50% more food to feed the 9 billion people living on this planet. And that’s without taking the effects of climate change into account, which has the potential to cut crop yields by more than 25%. To feed the world and keep people healthy for years to come, we must change our unhealthy habits now.

Here are top ways to accomplish that important goal:

1. Support local agriculture

One of the reasons for food scarcity can be attributed to our current farming practices. With the desire to cheaply produce mass quantities of GMO crops, we have taken up industrial monoculture farming, a practice that has spread across the world. This practice results in soil that lacks nutrients and land that becomes barren. If we use up the important land upon which our food depends, we will soon find ourselves without food. We must therefore restore degraded farmland, rotate sustainable crops, combat climate-change with farming techniques and support our local farmers rather than large farm industries.

2. Make grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers more accessible

Food deserts have become a growing problem in cities in the U.S. Defined as parts of the country devoid of fresh fruit, vegetables and other healthful whole foods, these food deserts are usually found within impoverished areas. As a result, the people living in these areas are at increased risk for chronic conditions. If vendors—grocery stores, farmers’ markets, small retailers and corner stores—are developed and properly equipped with healthful whole foods, and made readily available to low-income communities, this can help solve the food desert problem.

3. Focus on nutrition, not junk

When people work harder and longer, searching for work, they tend to turn toward food that is convenient, meaning they replace traditional staple foods with processed foods. As compared with whole foods, such as rice, wheat and maize, these quick meals are high in sugars, fat and salts, and studies have shown that they lead to myriad health problems, such as obesity. If we are to avoid a global epidemic of obesity and fight against malnutrition, then it is imperative that we look to more nutritional processed foods instead of junk.

4. Use natural food stabilizers

Recognizing that people enjoy the convenience of fast food, we need to continue making processed food but without the health worries. Turning to natural additives and stabilizers, such as carrageenan, can therefore be a solution. In addition, because carrageenan comes from seaweed that is farmed by small coastal farms in developing countries, by utilizing this product, we are keeping these farmers in business, which in turn gives them an increased income to buy better foods to feed their families.

At the moment, hunger and malnutrition are the number one risk to health worldwide, and it is a problem that will only worsen as our global population increases. By employing a variety of solutions like supporting local agriculture, making whole food providers more accessible, focusing on eliminating junk and replacing it with healthful natural additives, we can start to combat this serious problem. And hopefully by now you’re hungry for change.

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