A billion people are going hungry, but small-scale farming, and environmental sustainability are key parts of the solution, and not just increased food production by developed countries like New Zealand.
That message emerged from a sometimes passionate debate at an open forum - devoted to the theme "World Without Hunger?
Population growth, food production and a finite planet" - and held at the University of Otago on Thursday.
Taking part in an associated panel discussion were Dr Chris Rosin, deputy director of the university's Centre for Sustainability: Agriculture, Food, Energy, Environment (CSAFE), Will Watterson, New Zealand director of the Global Poverty Project, and Scott Willis, manager of the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust and community activist.
Organised by CSAFE and the university Centre for Theology and Public Issues, the gathering was chaired by the respective two centre directors, Dr Janet Stephenson and Prof Andrew Bradstock.
About 50 people attended, and the event was also streamed live as video via the university's website to about 60 other locations, including overseas.
Mr Watterson noted "really scary" recent developments, including food prices doubling in some developing countries.
He remained an optimist, noting the world already produced more than enough food to feed everyone and said small-scale agriculture in developing nations had a key role to play.
Dr Rosin said the distribution of food ultimately was "as much a political question" as simply a matter of food supply.
He urged people to form a "new vision of a better world, a world without hunger".
A "productivist" ideology was sometimes evident in some New Zealand agricultural circles, which emphasised our role in increasing food production to meet the world's food needs, but with little focus on sustainability issues.
New Zealand kiwifruit producers already appreciated the economic benefits of environmental sustainability. Today's kiwifruit were produced with much less chemical spraying, and had accordingly gained a market premium, he said.