The latest FoodInsight video, shared for World Food Day, takes us through a bit about our food, where it comes from, and everything that goes into it. I am an agriculture enthusiast, but I could count my farm days on my fingers (with room to spare!). So in honor of World Food Day learnings, I wanted to own up that even I had plenty to learn from #Farm4Thought.
Here are the three things that surprised me the most:
1. It’s not just about Siri directing you to the nearest food truck, communications and GPS technology is helping farmers manage their crops.
I am a great lover of having Siri find me a pizza place every time I get somewhere new. But even I have to acknowledge, that sort of pales in comparison to applying an exact drip of water to a particular thirsty seed. GPS and information communication technology have made farmers even more efficient and precise.
2. A different seed variety can help combat major health problems in low-resource environments, like child blindness in India.
When we talk about biotechnology in the US, we frequently talk about productivity and being able to produce more. Don’t get me wrong, this is incredibly important, and in fact there are a lot of other benefits to US consumers. But the benefit that gets me the most excited is biofortification- using biotechnology to make staple foods like rice more nutritious. Many children growing up in countries with high rates of micronutrient malnutrition eat staple foods regularly, and rice that’s been biofortified with beta-carotene can help fight Vitamin A deficiency and child blindness across these countries. That’s quite an achievement for a seed!
3. Farmers are working 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Recently someone told me that farmers don’t need to work anymore because computers do everything. When I told this to a farmer, he laughed out loud, practically to the point of crying (though those tears may have been more than laughter). The amount of responsibility that farmers shoulder is incredible and brings together cutting edge technology, managing teams, and, occasionally, negotiating with a finicky cow or two. This holiday season, while I enjoy days off with my family, I’ll be thinking of the many farmers around the country (and the world!) who won’t be taking the day off.