Food and an Increasing Population

T. Adam Wichelmann's Blog

As the human population continues to grow, the food shortage problem becomes increasingly more severe.  With our food unit, we have routinely discussed the impacts of a growing population and the subsequent demand for more food, especially from the meat industry.  As I was checking out the seed magazine website I stumbled on an article that directly touches on this issue and the discussion revolved around it.  This particular article was entitled Carnivores Like Us and focused specifically on China's changing appetite.

With a changing world comes a changing demand for food.  As China's population has increased its raw demand for food has subsequently increased.  A further change has been the type of food that China is currently demanding.  As the Chinese culture has developed per capita income has also increased.  Similar to the United States, China has increased meat consumption with increased wealth.  This increase in meat demand has lead to many potential problems becoming increasingly more real, such as a meat/food shortages, an unhealthy society (the article states that China's obese population is increasing), more water contamination from livestock, and controversy surrounding grown animal products.  These problems need solutions, but how do we effectively control the food for our growing population?

The discussion around providing answers to the food shortage problem have almost all been linked to agriculture.  As mentioned in class, I think we really need to improve our means of distributing food because countries like the US and China have more than enough food.  Distribution of food will help curve food shortages.  Developing ways to improve agriculture seem like a prime example of a "technological fix" to a bigger problem.  Almost all of the solutions to a food shortage problem have focused on catering to this increasing population.  Rather I think we need to see the bigger picture and develop ways in which we can address the population problem rather than the food shortage problem which results from too many people.  This planet can only sustain so many and I think we need to really focus efforts on halting the increasing population.  Although I don't have solutions to curbing the increasing population, I think we should put our effort into developing solutions because this will subsequently solve a lot of problems discussed in our class.


Growing populations of newly developed and developing countries are directly related to the growing demand for meat. As the populations of these countries gain stability of food and money they are able to support bigger families and have excess income. The little extra money they have is most often spent on meat to add to their diets.
This leads to an obvious problem because it takes more food to feed the increasing population, but the demand for meat is also on the rise. Feeding grain to animals to use for meat is far less efficient than allowing the grain directly into the food supply. So with both the demand for meat and the number of people living on earth on the rise is it wrong to meet the demands of carnivores?

It seems like the countries in the world that are well off in world can afford meat. The article talks about how we have a natural craving for meat. Our craving for is evolutionary and natural which may be true, but is it right for us to eat meat when less fortunate countries in the world our suffering? It seems like to big of a luxury when other people are suffering. It takes a ton of energy, agriculture to raise ducks, cows so it leads to inefficens and envirionmental problems. Instead of directly feeding people with argiculture we feed animals instead. I agree with you that it is a food distribution problem-can we stop eating less meat and try and distribute agricutlure that is used for making meat to countries that really need food?

I do agree that the earth can only sustain so many people, however, how are we going to tell someone that they can only have so many kids or not have any at all? This was a major controversy in the past when there were civilizations that were trying to control the population. I don't think we can keep people from having children. There are people that have personal beliefs and want to pass on their name, and they will not be happy with not being able to have children. I feel the answer is increasing the amount of food we have and also solve the distribution problem that we face.

It is true that in America, meat is a necessity. People expect to have meat on the table every day, and for every meal. I am currently taking a nutrition class this semester, and we are also discussing about the same issue. My instructor mentioned how meat in other developing countries is not a top priority, and how people survive on plants and grains. This is true, since the country where I come from, we barely ate any meat. Meat was only purchased for holidays or other special occasions. And now, that I came to America, I realized how much people consume meat here. It is pretty scary.....

I have not really thought to put the growing population as the problem. This is an interesting concept of population control. Country's like China have done this in the past with only allowing so many kids, but it is an interesting perspective having only so many people because of a determinant like food. I do believe we will reach a tipping point sometime with our population, but it seems that the more pressing issue is how much energy we are expending transporting food now.

I think China is small country, therefore they need to limit the number of population. As my personal thinking, China need to deal with population problem other while they won't have enough food to feed their people and will not have enough space for them to live. Think about how many dinner one person eat a day? and how many food one person can eat per meal? One person can not eat one meal per day, and if we do caculation, China need to produce a lot of food so they will have enough food for their people. It is a big problem if their population is still growing.

I think it's easier for us to say we should distribute food than to do it. One factor that affects other from getting equal amount of food is money. Some people can afford it, while other cannot. People with a higher socioeconomic can get a larger share than low-income people. In reality, there will also be an unbalance share in food and there will be people who do not get enough. To think, improving agriculture systems may increase the distribution of food, but again, who will these be aimed at. There are people who prefer cheap food and another group prefers organic products. Like you said, improving agriculture may be a technological fix to a bigger problem, for example health issues. In addition, the public might not be aware of the consequences for picking out certain foods.

I don't necessarily think there is a food shortage in the world, but more of a distribution problem. The wealthier countries do tend to have more food for their population because they have the money to spend on food. there is also the issue of wast. This also affects distribution. If food was distribut4ed more evenly there wouldn't be as much waste. I also agree that there needs to be some regulations on population. Countries are becomeing overpopulated that it could lead to food shortages in the world.

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This page contains a single entry by wich0053 published on December 7, 2009 11:46 PM.

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