News and images of the world food crisis have been hard to bear these last few months—skyrocketing food prices have provoked desperate rioting in many countries, including Haiti, Kenya, Mexico, and Pakistan. Millions of people are in trouble, and it’s hard to know what to do.
Yet this catastrophe was almost entirely preventable. As Sojourners assistant editor Elizabeth Palmberg points out in her article "A Human-Made Disaster," this crisis isn’t hard to understand when we untangle the factors that produced it. Some of those elements include our overreliance on fossil fuels in farming, trade policies that benefit rich countries over poor, the use of biofuels, and the ways in which corporate deregulation has enabled a few agribusiness giants to reap enormous profits. In short, these and other factors add up to a system that actually creates hunger—all this in a year of record grain harvests.
A global food system that’s been designed by multinational corporations results in a system that is neither ethical nor democratic, writes Frances Moore Lappé in "The Shortage Isn’t Food, It’s Democracy." It also just doesn’t make any sense. How can citizens regain some control over their food security? Lappé outlines seven actions we can take to begin to restore balance to our local, national, and international food systems. It’s a good reminder that we have the power to create change—not just for ourselves, but for millions of people around the globe.