World Food Day. That is what is being observed today.
Question – do you have food in your home, enough to feed your children, enough for your entire family?
Why Do We Need A World Food Day?
Good question. Why exactly do we need such a day?
According to the website of World Food Day Canada, “World Food Day (WFD) was founded by the United Nations’ (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945. It has been observed annually, every October 16, since 1981. The event was established to increase awareness of world hunger and poverty and to inspire solutions for world change.”
Growing up in Jamaica, I can honestly say that there was never a day that I went without anything to eat. My mother would always name our meal of plain white rice and sardines as “poor people food.” Initially, that was not my thought about the meal. However, she said it enough times to convince me that there was something substandard about it. Now, at 55 years old, it is a favourite meal of mine. Not only does it full my tummy, but the sardines are also so nutritious.
Food insecurity is a reality in many parts of the world, including here in North America. The COVID-19 pandemic is not helping.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought distinct challenges to many sectors of the food supply chain. This has reshaped their operations with physical distancing, the use of personal protective gear and equipment modifications – all of which are contributing to rising costs.”
That was from a recent news item on a local television station.
Why is this that so?
The definition of food security refers to the availability of food and one’s access to it. A household is considered food secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation. Worldwide, close to one billion people are chronically hungry. This is due to extreme poverty, while up to 2 billion people lack food security intermittently due to varying degrees of poverty (source: FAO, 2009).
As the article quoted above explains, there is no simple answer to why the world is experiencing food insecurity.
“…The causes are complicated and often political, economic, social, and environmental.
- National policies
- Environmental degradation
- Barriers to trade
- Insufficient agricultural development
- Population growth
- Low levels of education
- Social and gender inequality
- Poor health status
- Cultural insensitivity, and
- Natural disaster
These may all contribute to the food security of a country.”
How Can Each Of Us Help?
There was a time when could eat a house. Not anymore, though. Only one of my meal each day is of a reasonable size. The others are nibbles really. That however will not end the food insecurity. However, my not wasting food I want to believe in so small measure helps to ensure that someone else somewhere, maybe Downtown, Edmonton has access to one bite more. Somehow.
Here are a couple of global facts:
- According to the United Nations, 800 million people currently live in hunger and 39 countries have been identified thus far this year (2018) as needing external food aid in order to feed their people. That’s 13 per cent of the global population or roughly one in nine people on this planet.
- Around 1,3 billion tonnes of food is wasted each year. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that this amounts to one-third of the food produced for human consumption.
With all of that data in mind, aside from not wasting food, what can each of us do to contribute to increasing the amount of food in our communities?
Starting Today, World Food Day
- You could start as we did. Projects like the one we supported for Hyacinth to raise chickens is one option. “Supporting smallholder farmers is also key, because these small-scale producers contribute as much as 80% of the food in many countries.”
- What about supporting and/or providing educational opportunities for young people? This will ensure that they, in the future, be able to feed their families through their earnings. “Promise of a steady income in the future means your students will be much less likely to experience food insecurity themselves.”
- Donate or even set up a Food Bank or pantry in your community
- By spreading the word, making more people aware that there are communities in crisis is a simple way of assisting.
These four steps will put us on a path to having more people fed, less children going to bed hungry and more communities feeling safe. Will you help?
Peace and Love,