Can small-scale forest gardening ensure food security in the face of climate change and the biodiversity crisis?
Food security is everyone having physical, social and financial access to sufficient safe and nutritious food at all times. With the global population expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050 this is increasingly challenging. Climate change is resulting in more extreme weather and increasingly difficult growing conditions. Without addressing this fewer staple food crops will tolerate the conditions, increasing the risk of famine. The biodiversity crisis also presents a significant risk to food security as pollinators, which are vital for 87/115 main food crops, decline and pests and diseases increase. If the biodiversity crisis is not addressed this leaves a smaller gene pool to develop pest/disease resistant varieties and crops reliant on insect pollination may fail. Additional challenges include; fair distribution globally, affordability and nutritional quality of food.
Small-scale forest gardening, particularly with agroforestry and permaculture principles, shows promise to achieve and maintain food security throughout the current climate and biodiversity crises and increase sustainability. However, a number of challenges remain before this approach can be widely implemented.