IF THERE WAS one thing my membership on the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture did it was to stir my imagination toward ways of solving the world's food crisis. Much of the talk around the tables in Hot Springs had to do with ways of eliminating or ameliorating the age-old scourges of mankind--hunger, disease, poverty, ignorance, and war. My own interest lay in eliminating hunger.
The late novelist and experimental farmer, Louis Bromfield, was a friend of the Farm Bureau and whenever he found himself in Columbus he would have lunch with Perry Green and me. During one of our luncheons I told him what my feelings were about the world and its seeming inability to feed all its people decently. We agreed that history proved that in new countries everyone had to stay on the land if anyone was to eat, and ways of enabling one man to grow more food than he and his family could use had to be devised before any sort of civilizing process could begin. In the early days of our own nation more than 85 percent of our population lived on farms, devoting themselves to agriculture, while only some 15 percent lived in cities and towns, devoting themselves to manufacture or retail trade. Even with 85 percent of the population devoting its time to growing food there wasn't enough food because tools, methods, and techniques were fairly primitive. The standard of living wasn't very high. But as tools and techniques and methods improved, fewer and fewer people stayed on the farms to raise the necessary food. A