Fixing the food system

5th Jul 2012

My name is Miriam Quinn I am a pupil at Sir John Lawes School, Harpenden. I, like many people, have become aware over the past few weeks of the desperate situation in the Sahel region, West Africa, where more than 19 million people are facing serious food shortages. I was shocked and appalled by the scenes depicting communities clearly desperately in need of food. These people clearly need our help in the here and now, and I find it heart-warming the number of people who play their part in making the lives of people in an emergency situation better, and trust that our generous nation will, as always, play our part in solving this immediate crisis.

What bemuses me is why it has to get to this desperate state before the food crisis becomes an issue people are talking about. The crisis currently happening in West Africa is by no means sudden, unexpected or with an immediate end in sight. The undeniable fact of the matter is that the food system is broken. This leaves us with two choices. We can allow people to constantly go hungry, with another crisis always around the corner. Or we can put things right. Oxfam have decided to try and put things right, which is why they are prioritising their Grow campaign. Grow is working to control land grabs, so that innocent farmers and their families can't simply be evicted from their land with little warning or compensation, to sort out food spikes, sudden rises in the price of food that leave millions of people hungry and to help small scale farmers, particularly women, who already provide food for one third of the world's population, and, with the right support, can provide a sustainable way forward for the food system.

In order to solve a problem rooted so deep in society, we all need to play our part. This could be by supporting the Oxfam Grow campaign, and adding your voice to the 31,000 people already supporting Grow (http://www.oxfam.org.uk/get-involved/campaign-with-us/our-campaigns/grow). This could also be by making simple changes in our lifestyle - we can buy locally sourced food, such as from our wonderful farmer's market, and therefore support our local small scale farmers. I hope that you'll agree that the only way forward which is fair, sustainable and kind to our fellow humanity is to make a change and put things right.