Future of Food

May 31, 2023 | Ed Scharringa

Future of Food

“And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be left.” John 6:12 ESV

We have the capacity in Canada to grow food, good food, sustainable food, and yes, lots of it! Does that mean we tolerate food waste, measures to limit production by restrictions of do’s and don’ts, and elites in positions of power dictating unsustainable practices?

And then there is the issue of food security. Our most vulnerable and financially insecure citizens are feeling the biggest burden of ever-increasing food costs. For many, it’s going as far as meaning hunger. All signs point to this trend continuing and even worsening.

“Why is it happening?” one asks. Some sobering facts one can find… up to 40% of food in the U.S. goes to waste... 40 percent! Unbelievable, and Canada can’t be far behind. That’s 130 billion meals or $400 billion a year.

The many elite and government officials are powerful and rich in the world. They have no fear of want or taking the food economy seriously. If they did, you would not see what we see today. Taking farms out of production, saddling carbon taxes on everything, and forcing reductions in fertilizers and plant protectants, even though the high costs already make one stewardly of its uses. We could go on. The livestock industry, the rules of inspections; the abattoir industry, the use of carbon producing fuels; lack of enough veterinarians - all contribute to higher costs.

Especially interesting is the difference in condemnation rules between our federal and provincial meat inspection rules. During our most recent CFFO Abattoir Committee Meeting, we learned that the federal inspection allows defects spotted in a carcass to be cut out and the process to continue, whereas the provincial inspection takes a defect as total condemnation of the carcass, to the complete loss for the farmer and abattoir, which ultimately adds to the increase of food costs, especially in proteins. The CFFO is taking abattoirs seriously and striving to address their issues.

With these pressures on our food systems, we can only expect costs to continue to rise. As farmers and producers, we like to champion that we are stewardly in production methods and are continually improving where possible. We have setbacks in weather, diseases, or out of control input expenses, of course, but overall, our food industry is one remarkable machine. From field to plate, we still have abundances. Thank you to all who are a part of this industry.

The other side of influence to food security is the movement against agriculture, against livestock husbandry, against modern productive methods developed in agriculture for the common good of all. One wonders “What are they thinking? That food grows on shelves? That we can cut back our farm industries and production but still maintain a viable food security?”

If this trend is allowed to continue, one will only see more food shortages, higher pricing, and ultimately will lead to even more poverty and inability for many to feed themselves or their household. It makes one wonder how we have gotten to this point in a modern society. God created what we see and has made all things good for us to live from. Do we do right by tampering or even eliminating what was meant for good; our food supply?

This subject of food waste, production cuts, restrictive measures on inputs, our inspection methodology, and possibly more unknowns coming in the future has only just begun. One thing is already sure: we are victims to higher costs, shortages, and ultimate food insecurity is expected to continue, especially for many who lack the means of affordability, and that’s all in a land of abundance…

The question can be asked, “How does our God in heaven see and interpret the direction this world is racing towards?” For many of us in the work of agriculture, we have always known our Lord God is still in charge, and we will rise to the challenges laid before us.

Ed Scharringa is President of the Board of Directors for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy.