In a world that is slowing down amid the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty will accelerate, and hunger will follow. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, more than 820 million people across the globe are already suffering from hunger before the pandemic.
The immediate lockdowns and strict measures to minimize movements limit people’s ability to access nutritious food. This situation threatens to affect millions of people globally and exacerbates food insecurity in many areas. Weeks into community lockdowns, people fear that food supply will become scarcer – and hunger might consequently take more lives than the virus.
Fighting food insecurity and building resilience through Regenerative Agriculture
The good news is that this pandemic does not necessarily have to turn into a food security crisis. Activities like gardening and planting vegetables are transforming from a hobby into a way to fight food insecurity and build resilience.
One can rise to the challenges of the food crisis by empowering individuals and families to be self-sufficient by planting backyard and community food gardens. Gardens can drastically increase families’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables in urban or rural communities that are safe to eat.
IIRR has long been advocating Regenerative Agriculture promoting techniques that help arrest environmental degradation and for households to attain food security, one approach of which is the Bio-Intensive Gardening. BIG is a small-scale gardening method that promotes a wide range of nutrient-rich local vegetables grown organically. This approach offers a potential model for addressing malnutrition and food insecurity in developing countries.
BIG was piloted in public elementary school in the Philippines in early 2000, which has benefitted over 200,000 elementary school children then. Now, BIG is adapted in several schools supported by IIRR country programs in Africa and Asia.