Giving Compass' Take:

• Four farmers who attended the Global Summit on Food Security share their pressing hopes and concerns for the future of the food system. 

• How can funders work to support the farming and system-level practices suggested by these farmers? What are the farming and food needs in your community? 

• Learn about investing in small, local farms

Four food advocates from across the United States may challenge your preconceptions of today’s farmers. They shared their views recently on the challenges of providing healthy, sustainable food and ending hunger. Each attended the Global Summit on Food Security, organized by Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance (KFLA) and supported by W.K. Kellogg Foundation, with media sponsorship provided by Food Tank.

What key issues around sustainable agriculture and ending hunger are people not talking about enough?


“One big issue is climate change. Our political leaders are not actively engaging in the conversation nor looking for solutions to help small or sustainable farmers in the future. There’s no political will to do something about climate change at this point.

The other big issue is the commodification of water in smaller regional areas. There is a movement to commodify water and transfer it from indigenous communities into more urban settings for what some perceive as more beneficial uses. I believe the most beneficial use is to grow food locally to help protect the environment and ecosystem. Then you can distribute that food locally and regionally, not only to your community members, but also to everyone who needs it in a fair and equitable manner.”


“People aren’t talking enough about the root causes of hunger and poor nutrition. The problem is not that we’re not producing enough food. The problem is we have political and economic systems that exclude certain people from access and concentrate wealth and abundance in the hands of others.

We can’t solve the problem of hunger unless we are addressing, in an unapologetic manner, the question of race and how it affects the food system. In American society, race and class intersect and intertwine, so it’s hard to talk about one without talking about another."


“We’re talking about a food system that doesn’t need to be fixed. It’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing. It’s marginalizing the poor. The fact that we have poverty and hunger in the greatest country in the world should be shameful.

We grow enough food. We waste enough food. Everyone can look and see the issue—we need to get better at sharing wealth. We need to have that conversation. Why do we have hunger? It’s not rocket science.”


“People aren’t talking about a living wage. The people who comprise the farm labor barely receive a minimum wage. And the farmers, who are in vegetable farming especially, don’t usually get a wage themselves. They pay wages. Food production is a marginally paid profession.”

Read the full article about farmers' perspectives by Teresa O'Connor at Food Tank.