Well, this week is back to school—and while many people will be sharing their “What I did this summer” stories, we are asking: What are you excited to learn about this year?

Here’s something to get your wheels turning: How will we sustainably feed the world in 2050?

Whoa, that is a big question! And this question is at the heart of a one-of-a-kind education program for grade 7-12 students at the Agrium Western Event Centre on Stampede Park. It’s called Journey 2050.

Journey 2050_1
Journey 2050 students

Intrigued? Here are 10 things students learn in just one day about the challenges our world faces, sustainability and agriculture:

1. The world’s population is estimated to grow to 9 billion people by the year 2050. That’s an extra 2 billion more than we have today! Our food production will need to rise by 60% in order to feed the extra 2 billion people on our planet and we will need to do it on the same amount or less land than we are currently using.

2. Sustainability means we are meeting the economic, social and environmental needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future. Sustainable agriculture involves using best management practices and technology to grow the most food and fibre on the land for long term economic, social and environmental success.

3. Only 30% of the Earth is covered in land. Of that, only 10% of land is ideal for growing crops. That means only 3% of the entire Earth is ideal for growing crops!

4. 70% of the Earth is covered in water, but only 2.5% of it is freshwater and only 0.3% of that is accessible for us to use.

Earths water

5. We lose approximately 1 hectare (or 2 soccer fields) worth of productive land every 8 seconds to causes like desertification, erosion, urban sprawl, industry expansion, deforestation and climate change.

6. There are an estimated 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty and nearly 900 million people that are hungry, malnourished and food insecure.

7. Over 25% of our current food supply is wasted. In developed countries food is thrown out and over consumed. In developing countries food is lost to unreliable storage and transportation. Hunger is often caused by food waste and inequality of distribution, not scarcity.

8. Over 1 billion people (1 in 3 of eligible workers) work in agriculture/agribusiness. In Canada, 1 in 8 people work in agriculture/agribusiness.

9. 98% of farms are family farms. In the 1900s a North American farm produced enough food for 10 people in a year; today’s farmer feeds over 120 people.

Alberta Farms

10. The UN is also committed to sustainability! They have committed to 17 Sustainable Development goals. Which one will you help with?

Journey 2050

Journey 2050 is a program created in partnership with Agrium and the Alberta Conola Producers and is free for schools to attend. Want to try your hand at sustainable farming? Search “Journey 2050” in your app store for our custom farming game.