What? You didn’t know today was World Food Day? Let’s celebrate! But first, let’s learn.
Today marks the 68th anniversary of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), an international effort to eliminate world hunger and malnutrition. The purpose of World Food Day is to raise awareness about the FAO and aspects of food that many of us take for granted, like access to healthy food and sustainable agricultural systems.
Even though access to healthy food is a basic human right, many people go without. In America alone 17.6 million people (14.5% of households) are food insecure (USDA 2012), meaning that they lack access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food. In other words, they are hungry. Every day. Worldwide, the number of people living with chronic hunger is 842 million (FAO 2013).
Keep in mind that the goal of the FAO is not simply to produce enough calories to feed every man, woman, and child on the face of the planet (we do that already), but to do so sustainably and equitably. That means food production with a focus on environmental and social justice. That means treating the land with respect, educating and paying agricultural workers appropriately, and distributing safe and healthy food to those in need.
Significant progress has been made in the past few decades, but a changing climate and a growing world population will continue to be a challenge. Please give some thought to the FAO, and the issues and the people they are fighting for. You can access the FAO’s latest report, “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2013”, here: http://www.fao.org/publications/sofi/en.
Food for thought:
- What can you do to address hunger in your community?
- Are you familiar with agriculture and food production in your community? In the United States?
- Do you grow any of your own food? Why or why not?
If you missed celebrating World Food Day (October 16th), don’t worry — October 24th is Food Day in the United States!
1. United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 2012. Accessed at http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us/key-statistics-graphics.aspx
2. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2013. Accessed at: http://www.fao.org/hunger/en/