We are often grouped based on our generation. There’s the traditionalists, baby boomers, generation X, Y, and Z. However, all of these generations belong to the “foodie generation”. We all love food so much that our most important question of the day would be: “What’s for breakfast.” Food is always a top of the mind for us. Have we ever thought about “will there be enough food to love in the future?”
Agriculture, the art and science that makes it possible for us to have food, has always been with us. It’s timeless. In the case of the Philippines, agriculture coped up with every period in our history, with every civilization, and with every revolution. Philippine history and our survival owe a lot to agriculture, especially to the people who were working in this sector.
At present, Philippine agriculture, and the people working in this sector, continue to cope up. Climate change, apathy in agricultural issues, declining age of young farmers, lack of agricultural profitability, food waste, and many more, continue to challenge our timeless agriculture sector. This is an alarming state; all of us need to help our agriculture sector to cope up.
How can the foodie generation revitalize and secure a sustainable future for agriculture? Everyone can be part of the solutions.
1. Let’s recognize our farmers
For the foodie generation, food is life. But for our farmers, food is their life’s work. They have always been our everyday heroes, making it possible for us to have food in our tables. They deserve our recognition and empowerment. Yes, “magtanim ay ‘di biro”. Let’s not make the agriculture sector and our farmers a “biro”. Let’s not be apathetic, but instead be supportive on policies and recent developments that are beneficial for our farmers.
For those of us who can, let’s be the initiators of these policies and developments. Our farmers need innovations that that can give them assurance of a good harvest, and at the same time, agricultural processes that can ensure their health and the health of our environment. Our farmers also need policies related to sustainable finance, good farm-to-market roads, and access to markets.
2. Let’s be “woke” on the present state of our agriculture sector
The Philippines is an agricultural nation. With globalization, the rustic appeal and lifestyle of the countryside, particularly in agriculture has been overlooked. Migration is pervasive, especially to the younger generation, who prefer to have jobs in the big and bustling cities. Moreover, the average age of the Filipino farmer now is 57. Youth from agricultural areas on the other hand, are continuously leaving the potential of their areas for a more lucrative jobs in the cities. Agricultural land conversion is also pervasive. We can grow food, but not lands. With these present realities, the future of our food is in an alarming state.
Knowing the current state of our food and agriculture will empower us to become more supportive and proactive on how we can contribute solutions in our own ways. Let’s be woke, and contribute solutions in any way we can.
3. Let’s invest in agriculture
We invest on areas that are “sure win” for us. The agriculture and food sector is a sure win. Food as a basic human need will never run out of style. Remember, it’s timeless.
We can venture into agripreneurship, and be agripreneurs (agricultural entrepreneur)! Agripreneurship is the application of entrepreneurship in agriculture. It is an opportunity and necessity in improving the agricultural sector, employment to vulnerable section of the society especially the rural poor and future food security. Agripreneurship adds value to agricultural products, making it more competitive, and worth the investment.
4. Let’s be food-savvy
All of us may be guilty of wasting our food. We should not let ourselves be so used to this lifestyle. Let’s buy, cook, and eat what is enough for us to avoid food waste. Globally, around 1.3 billion tonnes of food are lost or wasted every year. This can actually feed the world’s hungry and food poor. So make sure your next meals will not contribute to this statistics.
We can grow our own food, too. It’s easy and fulfilling. We can have simple vegetable gardens in the convenience of our own homes. Growing our own food can save our time, money, and environment. Schools can also be food-savvy by having vegetable gardens. School gardens can spread awareness to the younger generation on the importance of food and agriculture.
5. Let’s revitalize agriculture
Agriculture and food is connected to everything in this world. We need to embrace and appreciate it more. Revitalizing agriculture should start with each one of us. Let’s look at our agriculture sector in a fresher lens, and with positivity. Let’s all work towards a sustainable future for our food by: empowering our farmers through policies and innovations, being woke and contribute to the current issues of the sector, contributing to agriculture’s competitiveness by being agripreneurs, and having a sustainable farm-to-fork lifestyle in our own homes or schools.
Are the foodie generation food secure? I leave this to you not as a question, but a call-to-action. Let’s all work to revitalize and secure a sustainable future for agriculture!
ABOUT THE WRITER: Christine Jodloman is an agriculture and food security advocate. For writing collaborations, you may contact her at email@example.com.