Solving Food Insecurity (2024)

Written by Kristina Hicks-Hamblin

Solving Food Insecurity (1)What if the answer to solving food insecurity was within our individual reach? We certainly think that’s the case here at the Square Foot Gardening Foundation!

The SFG Method is an adaptable, organic approach, making it the perfect way to get food on the table – no matter who you are.

Created by Mel Bartholomew, this gardening Method is especially easy to adapt to different environmental situations and limited gardening skills, making it a benefit even in communities that lack access to land, gardening knowledge and financial resources.

In fact, with a bit of resourcefulness, this food growing solution can be used in nearly any environment and any ability to garden!

Ready to learn more about how Square Foot Gardening helps solve food insecurity? Read on!

A Flexible Growing Medium

Solving Food Insecurity (2)

Gardeners water their raised bed gardens in Guatemala.

While Mel’s Mix is used as a growing medium instead of soil in the SFG Method, Mel Bartholomew wanted gardeners to know that straight compost could be used instead.

Growing in straight compost makes this food growing technique more accessible to more people.

For instance, in Guatemala, gardeners working on a SFG project lead byCultiva International used compost from the local forest to fill their raised beds.

Other gardeners can take inspiration from this resiliency by creating a low budget growing medium made from their own homemade compost, or compost sourced from a local waste management program.

Mix and Match Materials

While new lumber is often used to create raised beds, this material is by no means the only option.

Many alternative materials can be used to form the four sides of a raised bed, including repurposed wood boards, logs, concrete blocks, straw bales, and more!

In fact, one Certified Instructor (CI) in Nigeria by the name of Bosede Olanrewaju, used plastic bags to create the sides of his raised beds.

And when it comes to those hallmarks of the SFG Method, the grids, there are plenty of low-budget, creative options as well.

Instead of wood slats, locally harvested bamboo or sticks can be used. Another inexpensive possibility is to fasten strings across beds to form grids, though this may need to be replaced as string breaks down in the elements.

Whether out of economic necessity or old-fashioned thriftiness, repurposing materials can help preserve forests as well as keeping perfectly usable resources out of landfills.

Solving Food Insecurity (2024)


What is the best way to solve food insecurity? ›

Summary. Food insecurity is linked to negative health outcomes in children and adults, and it may cause children to have trouble in school. Giving more people benefits through nutrition assistance programs, increasing benefit amounts, and addressing unemployment may help reduce food insecurity and hunger.

Why is solving food insecurity important? ›

Food insecurity – often rooted in poverty – decreases the ability of countries to develop their agricultural markets and economies. Access to quality, nutritious food is fundamental to human existence. Secure access to food can produce wide ranging positive impacts, including: Economic growth and job creation.

What is the response to food insecurity? ›

UNICEF works with partners to deliver humanitarian assistance to those impacted by food crises through a range of interventions, including: screening and treating children for malnutrition. providing safe water, sanitation and hygiene services to communities where these basic resources are in short supply.

What is the main cause of food insecurity? ›

Poverty, unemployment and low wages lead to food insecurity. It's why Feeding America helps people experiencing food insecurity get the food and resources they need by increasing access to food in their communities. We also work locally and nationally to expand economic opportunities.

Who is most affected by food insecurity? ›

Hunger can affect people from all walks of life. Millions of people in America are just one job loss, missed paycheck, or medical emergency away from hunger. But hunger doesn't affect everyone equally - some groups like children, seniors, and people of color face hunger at much higher rates.

Why can't world hunger be solved? ›

The world already produces enough food to feed everyone. This production is, however, unequally distributed across countries and across households and individuals within countries. Differences in technology, physical and human capital and labour across countries are a key driver of international inequality.

What will happen if hunger is not solved? ›

Hunger and malnutrition mean less productive individuals, who are more prone to disease and thus often unable to earn more and improve their livelihoods.

What are 3 effects of food insecurity? ›

Adults living in food-insecure households are more likely to also experience infectious diseases, poor oral health, injury, and chronic conditions, like depression and anxiety disorders, heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, back problems, and chronic pain.

How do people cope with food insecurity? ›

Food insecure households were using coping strategies such as changing consumption patterns (44%), eating inexpensive foods (72.4%), reducing meal frequency (62.4%) and selling household assets, such as household food utensils (30.8%).

Where is hunger the worst in the world? ›

Hunger is serious in both South Asia (where hunger is highest) and Africa South of the Sahara (where hunger is second highest). South Asia has the world's highest child stunting and child wasting rates.

How important is food insecurity? ›

People experiencing food insecurity often consume a nutrient-poor diet, which may contribute to the development of obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. People who live in food-insecure households also have difficulties in managing diet-related chronic conditions.

How to identify food insecurity? ›

The three least severe conditions that would result in a household being classified as food insecure are:
  1. They worried whether their food would run out before they got money to buy more.
  2. The food they bought didn't last, and they didn't have money to get more.
  3. They couldn't afford to eat balanced meals.

Is food insecurity a crisis? ›

The global food crisis is affecting millions of people around the world. In 2023, record levels of acute food insecurity persist due to protracted food crises and new shocks. In 48 countries, 238 million people are facing high levels of acute food insecurity – 10% more than in 2022.

What is food insecurity coping strategies? ›

Multivariable logistic regression model was used to identify factors associated with food security status. The most common coping strategies households used in response to food insecurity were: rely on less preferred and less expensive foods, borrow food, or borrow money to buy food and purchase of food on credit.

What are the interventions of food insecurity? ›

One critical strategy to address food insecurity and its negative consequences is to connect children and their families to the major federal nutrition programs that benefit children and their families – that is, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, ...

Is food insecurity getting better? ›

From 2021 to 2022, the prevalence of very low food security increased statistically significantly for most population subgroups. There were no statistically significant declines in the prevalence of very low food security from 2021 to 2022.

How can we solve food waste? ›

Aim to cook and serve the right portions for the number of people you are feeding. Freeze, pickle, dehydrate, can, or make jam/jelly from surplus fruits and vegetables - especially abundant seasonal produce. Don't leave perishable food at room temperature for more than two hours.


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