In November of 2011 the world’s population reached 7 billion people and it is predicted to reach 9 billion people by 2050. Here at Nourish the Planet our goal is to “teach the world to feed itself.” However, with such massive population growth this goal can seem quite daunting. With increased population comes increased pressures on our limited resources such as clean water and useable land. To do this sustainably we must clearly use and develop better agricultural systems that maximize yields while being cleaner and more environmentally friendly. Some suggest we may have to double our food production by 2050 to accommodate this growing population.

When looking at the state of our world we can often become discouraged about this prospect. However, we can be heartened by the example of Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug. In the 1940s Borlaug took up the very unattractive task of turning around Mexico’s wheat production. At this point in time Mexican farmers were plagued with poor harvests and diseased crops. What is remarkable about Borlaug though is that he saw the past struggles to the opportunity to improve and succeed. Succeed they did and in the process gave the future a model for conservationists and the agriculture industry alike. “The past does not necessarily determine the future.” The business bottom line and the bottom line for the world’s food needs can be achieved sustainably. Now that is reason to have a bright outlook for the future.

Please see the link below to Mark Tercek’s (President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy) original article for his thoughts on Norman Borlaug and the lessons to be learned for the future.

http://blog.nature.org/2011/11/how-to-feed-seven-billion-and-counting/

http://blog.nature.org/2011/10/can-the-world-feed-itself-without-ruining-the-planet/

Written by Savannah Miller, Business Development Intern, Spring 2012

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