The atrocities of the brutal war in Ukraine are immense and horrifying. The Russian invasion has shown what appears to be clear war crimes and possible genocide. There are notable implications of this unnecessary war that could have drastic consequences globally.
Beside the question of how Western Europe may struggle with access to Russian oil and gas, there is perhaps the more important issue of food production.
Russia is the largest exporter of wheat in the world, accounting for 24 per cent of exports. Ukraine ranks fifth with nine per cent. Much of the combined 33 per cent of world wheat exports would generally be shipped via Ukrainian Black Sea ports to the Middle East and African countries, which are heavily reliant on breads, pastas and animal feed.
These already food insecure regions face an impending crisis, a by-product of Russian tyranny.
The farming of wheat in Ukraine will likely be non existent this year and perhaps for the near future. The stress of an impending food shortage in some of these marginalized countries will likely lead to internal socio-political unrest and potential conflicts.
We are lucky in North America that we are comparatively stable politically. Canada is the second largest wheat exporter in the world and seventh largest grower. The United States is the third largest exporter and fourth largest grower.
Food security, and indeed, food sovereignty, is more vital than ever, and it is important that we reflect on ways to ensure that we all understand supply chain dynamics and learn about local food security. A logical way to better understand the food economy and the agri-food and agri-tech sectors is through education. Future generations will undoubtedly face food related challenges as pressing issues such as climate change, supply chain obstacles and perhaps pandemics, continually disrupt the status quo.
At a micro level, regional food hubs complete with processing capability, will help to more effectively manage the concept of farm to table - an important notion in a changing world.
At a super micro level it has been very encouraging to see the families of the hundreds of children that I work with on a daily basis embrace simple life skills such as growing their own food and many have built backyard farms.
These baby steps now, may help to ensure that there is the potential for a broader appreciation of farming and food production in the future.
Mike Schneider is founder of Project Pickle and likes to write about growing, cooking and eating food.