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Taking the Pulse of Family Farmers
By Erica Oakley, Associate, Humanitas Global

September 23, 2014 2:34 PM

Each year on October 16th, the world observes World Food Day, a day to highlight the challenges and achievements made in the fight to end global hunger, malnutrition and poverty. This year—because it is the International Year of Family Farming—the theme for World Food Day is focused on the important role family farmers, big and small, play as local, regional and international leaders in feeding the world and stewarding natural resources.

To spur the conversation around family farming in North America, Humanitas Global and Food Tank in collaboration with the World Food Day Network are "taking the pulse" of current and former family farmers through a brief survey. The findings will be used in advocacy and awareness efforts in collaboration with the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization to support World Food Day held annually on October 16.

The survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/familyfarming. We ask that you respond by Wednesday, October 1, 2014.

We hope that you will participate in the survey and share with your friends, family and broader network. Please email Erica at oakleye@humanitasglobal.com with any questions.

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World hunger falls, but 805 million still chronically undernourished
By The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

September 16, 2014 8:36 AM

MDG target to halve proportion of world’s hungry still within reach by end of 2015

SOFI_2014_Cover-page1_600_resize.jpg16 September 2014, Rome - About 805 million people in the world, or one in nine, suffer from hunger, according to a new UN report released today.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI 2014) confirmed a positive trend which has seen the number of hungry people decline globally by more than 100 million over the last decade and by more than 200 million since 1990-92. The report is published annually by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

The overall trend in hunger reduction in developing countries means that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of undernourished people by 2015 is within reach, "if appropriate and immediate efforts are stepped up," the report said. To date, 63 developing countries have reached the MDG target, and six more are on track to reach it by 2015.

"This is proof that we can win the war against hunger and should inspire countries to move forward, with the assistance of the international community as needed," the heads of FAO, IFAD and WFP, José Graziano da Silva, Kanayo F. Nwanze and Ertharin Cousin, wrote in their foreword to the report.

They stressed that "accelerated, substantial and sustainable hunger reduction is possible with the requisite political commitment," and that "this has to be well informed by sound understanding of national challenges, relevant policy options, broad participation and lessons from other experiences." 

SOFI 2014 noted how access to food has improved rapidly and significantly in countries that have experienced overall economic progress, notably in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia. Access to food has also improved in Southern Asia and Latin America, but mainly in countries with adequate safety nets and other forms of social protection including for the rural poor.

Hunger reduction has accelerated, but some lag behind

Despite significant progress overall, several regions and sub-regions continue to lag behind. In Sub-Saharan Africa, more than one in four people remain chronically undernourished, while Asia, the world's most populous region, is also home to the majority of the hungry - 526 million people.

Latin America and the Caribbean have made the greatest overall strides in increasing food security. Meanwhile Oceania has accomplished only a modest improvement (1.7 percent decline) in the prevalence of undernourishment, which stood at 14.0 percent in 2012-14, and has actually seen the number of its hungry increase since 1990-92.

The agency heads noted that of the 63 countries which have reached the MDG target, 25 have also achieved the more ambitious World Food Summit (WFS) target of halving the number of undernourished people by 2015. However, the report indicated that time has run out on reaching the WFS target at the global level.

Creating an enabling environment through coordinated actions

With the number of undernourished people remaining "unacceptably high", the agency heads stressed the need to renew the political commitment to tackle hunger and to transform it into concrete actions. In this context, the heads of FAO, IFAD and WFP welcomed the pledge at the 2014 African Union summit in June to end hunger on the continent by 2025.

"Food insecurity and malnutrition are complex problems that cannot be solved by one sector or stakeholder alone, but need to be tackled in a coordinated way," they added, calling on governments to work closely with the private sector and civil society.

The FAO, IFAD and WFP report specifies that hunger eradication requires establishing an enabling environment and an integrated approach. Such an approach includes public and private investments to increase agricultural productivity; access to land, services, technologies and markets; and measures to promote rural development and social protection for the most vulnerable, including strengthening their resilience to conflicts and natural disasters. The report also emphasizes the importance of specific nutrition programmes, particularly to address micronutrient deficiencies of mothers and children under five.

Case studies

This year's report includes seven case studies - Bolivia, Brazil, Haiti, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malawi and Yemen - that highlight some of the ways that countries tackle hunger and how external events may influence their capacity to deliver on achieving food security and nutrition objectives. The countries were chosen because of their political, economic - particularly in the agricultural sector - diversities, and cultural differences.

Bolivia, for example, has created institutions to involve a range of stakeholders, particularly previously marginalized indigenous people.

Brazil's Zero Hunger programme, which placed achievement of food security at the centre of the government's agenda, is at the heart of progress that led the country to achieve both the MDG and WFS targets. Current programmes to eradicate extreme poverty in the country build on the approach of linking policies for family farming with social protection in a highly inclusive manner.

Haiti, where more than half the population is chronically undernourished, is still struggling to recover from the effects of the devastating 2010 earthquake. The report notes how the country has adopted a national programme to strengthen livelihoods and improve agricultural productivity by supporting small family farmers' access to inputs and services.

Indonesia has adopted legal frameworks and established institutions to improve food security and nutrition. Its policy coordination mechanism involves ministries, NGOs and community leaders. Measures address a wide range of challenges from agricultural productivity growth to nutritious and safe diets.

Madagascar is emerging from a political crisis and is resuming relationships with international development partners aimed at tackling poverty and malnutrition. It is also working in partnership to build resilience to shocks and climate hazards, including cyclones, droughts and locust invasions, which often afflict the island nation.

Malawi has reached the MDG hunger target, thanks to a strong and persistent commitment to boost maize production. However, malnutrition remains a challenge - 50 percent of children under five are stunted and 12.8 percent are underweight. To address the issue, the government is promoting community-based nutrition interventions to diversify production to include legumes, milk, fisheries and aquaculture, for healthier diets, and to improve incomes at the household level.

Conflict, economic downturn, low agricultural productivity and poverty have made Yemen one of the most food-insecure countries in the world. Besides restoring political security and economic stability, the government aims to reduce hunger by one-third by 2015 and to make 90 percent of the population food-secure by 2020. It also aims to reduce the current critical rates of child malnutrition by at least one percentage point per year.

The findings and recommendations of SOFI 2014 will be discussed by governments, civil society, and private sector representatives at the 13-18 October meeting of the Committee on World Food Security, at FAO headquarters in Rome.

The report will also be a focus of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in Rome from 19-21 November, which FAO is jointly organizing with the World Health Organization. This high-level intergovernmental meeting seeks, at a global level, renewed political commitment to combat malnutrition with the overall goal of improving diets and raising nutrition levels.

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Perspectives on Family Farming
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

September 15, 2014 5:10 PM

In just one month we will observe World Food Day for the 34th time! 

World Food Day, October 16, marks the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and on this day since its inception millions around the world have joined FAO to draw attention to the problem of hunger. 842 million people globally don’t have enough to eat and even more lack the nutrients needed for a healthy, active life. On World Food Day we take action, we speak out, we engage more people, and we take seriously the UN Secretary-General’s challenge for a Zero Hunger World. 

In conjunction with the 2014 International Year of Family Farming, this year’s World Food Day theme is “Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth”. Please join the FAO and the World Food Day Network in appreciating the role that family farmers play in our communities and world. Not only do they provide the food we eat three or more times a day, but they care for the land, water and air we also need to live healthy lives. It should be surprising then that the majority of the world’s hungry people are farmers. This World Food Day, let’s recognize family farmers for their contribution to eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, boosting rural economies, managing natural resources, protecting the environment and achieving sustainable development.

Today we launch the 2014 Perspectives Essay Series. We hope you enjoy this selection of essays from family farmers from Canada, the United States and around the world, as well as, contributions from leaders and experts in agriculture, economics and conservation. Starting today through October 16, new selections will be offered daily. The series promises to be provocative, insightful and educational, and we hope it demonstrates to us all that family farmers deserve our attention and support.  

Read the introductory essay by Barbara Ekwall, Senior Liaison Officer in Washington, DC for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and check back in tomorrow for two videos that will take us to the farm!  

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The New Face of Hunger – Why are people malnourished in the richest country on Earth?
By Sunhye Park

August 01, 2014 11:26 AM

By Tracie McMillan, for National Geographic

This article is part of National Geographic’s special The Future of Food Series.

 

One out of six Americans doesn’t have enough to eat. If hunger in America still conjures up a “depression-era image of the unemployed scavenging for food,” check out this eye-opening article from National Geographic in which three photographers have captured three very intimate faces of hunger in rural, suburban, and urban America.

“This is not your grandmother’s hunger. Today, more working people are hungry because wages have declined,” says Janet Poppendieck, a sociologist at the City University of New York. Today, 48 million Americans are considered “food insecure” and experience hunger in their households. Half of them are white, and two-thirds of those with children have at least one working adult in a full time job. In the suburbs, once the home of the American dream, the number of hungry people has doubled since 2007. The suburban poor do not face actual starvation – some even drive cars, and dress decently with thrift shop items. But their next meal often can’t be counted on.

Many working poor are also stranded in a “food desert,” a low-income region with few or no grocery stores to get fresh food. They are left with the usual pantry staples that are high in salt, sugar, and fat. The abundance of processed foods made with subsidized crops leads to a daily diet of low nutritional value, further driving the paradox of hunger side by side with obesity. Tracie McMillan explains, “for many of the hungry in America, the extra pounds that result from a poor diet are collateral damage – an unintended side effect of hunger itself.”

Read the article at: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/hunger/

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Family Farming Exhibit Premieres Today!
By Anonymous

July 18, 2014 11:10 AM

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Summer is the season of exhibits. Among them, some are entertaining, some are educational, and this one will surely touch your heart. An integration of photography and storytelling, the new exhibit will pay homage to the families working every day to feed the world.

The “Born to Farm” Exhibit premieres July 18-27, 2014 in the K-Days in the Farm Hall at Northlands in Edmonton, Alberta.  Incorporating the story of multiple generations of family farmers, along with #FARMVOICES submissions posted to social media by farmers from across the globe, the exhibit is designed to give consumers a glimpse into the world of farming through the eyes of real farmers.

Family farmers are the heart of the food chain, many knowing from a young age that they were born to the calling.  What many may be surprised to know is that the majority of farms in the world are owned and operated by families. However, in the past 75 years North America has lost 70% of its family farmers. 

“We believe that the future of a responsible, sustainable food system lies in the success of family farmers,” said Sarah Wray, with the International FarmOn Foundation.  “Because food produced by family farmers is just different.  They have a passion and commitment to farming because it’s not just a business, it's their life, legacy and home.”

Visit www.farmon.com/farmvoices for more information about the “Born to Farm” exhibit and the #FARMVOICES Movement.

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Blog Carnival: Why the farmer to farmer approach works.
By Anonymous

July 17, 2014 12:50 PM

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As we approach World Food Day this year, we are focusing on the role that family farmers play in feeding us and caring for the earth.  So this Blog Carnival by Agrilinks on the John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program (F2F) is especially relevant and highlights American family farmers working in hand in hand with family farmers around the world.

F2F provides technical assistance from American volunteers to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses, service providers and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries.  From July 14 to July 18, this Blog Carnival will communicate stories to the world from volunteers, partners, beneficiaries, and key participants as they describe their experiences with F2F.

Every story in the series is unique and filled with human touch: a rabbit changing the lives of a family of six, the deep bonds that can develop between a volunteer and beneficiary, women empowered to improve farming productivity in northern Ghana…and the list goes on. Check out the whole series here.

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Family Farmers Hold Keys to Agriculture in a Warming World
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

May 02, 2014 12:54 PM

Half a billion small-scale farmers are helping pioneer sustainable techniques.

 

This story is part of National Geographic's special eight-month Future of Food series. To learn more about it, join our Food: A Forum live-streaming event on May 2 at 2 p.m. EST.

 

By Andrea Stone for National Geographic

 

An aerial photo of a tractor harvesting wheat.

This aerial view shows combines harvesting a wheat field in Kansas. Agribusinesses use fertilizers and pesticides to yield bumper crops of single grains like corn and wheat.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JIM RICHARDSON, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

The challenge is huge but the solution may be small—very small.

Faced with global warming and a population that will swell to nine billion by 2050, a growing number of experts say that the way to feed the masses as climate change makes growing our food more difficult is to focus on family farmers, who often can barely feed themselves.When policymakers in the developed world talk about feeding billions of extra mouths in the decades to come, it's multinational agribusinesses—which operate industrial-size farms—that usually get most of the attention.But in the long run, it's small-scale farmers in the developing world, using low-tech but sustainable agricultural techniques, who may be best poised to lead the way in adapting to a warmer world and ensuring the security of the global food supply.There are more than 500 million family farmers who produce at least 56 percent of the world's food. Most are subsistence farmers, scratching out barely enough to feed their own families, with little or nothing left over to take to market.

A photo of a robbed grave.

A grandfather holds his granddaughter in a field on their family farm in San Prospero, Italy.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JAY DICKMAN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

report on family farms released in March by the sustainable agriculture group Food Tank credits these small-scale farmers with contributing to global food security—that is, having sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis—through the use of more sustainable agricultural practices.For instance, while agribusinesses use fertilizers and pesticides to yield bumper crops of single grains like corn and wheat, smallholder farmers are growing indigenous plants that help protect increasingly stressed natural resources (like water) and that improve the density of nutrients in crops.That helps explain why the Food Tank report, which crunched data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other sources, concluded that smallholder farms "are not only feeding the world, but also nourishing the planet."The United Nations, for its part, has designated 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming to raise the profile of these unsung agricultural workers and spotlight the roles they could play in the face of challenges like climate change, malnutrition, and poverty.

A photo of farmers harvesting potatoes in Peru.

A farmer and his sister harvest potatoes on their family farm in Pampallacta, Peru.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JIM RICHARDSON, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Small-Scale Vulnerability—and Resilience

A sobering report released last month by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned of cataclysmic consequences of global warming that are already being felt, including drought, extreme heat, and flash floods.Those changes have an outsize impact on farmers.For years, civil wars, corrupt governments, poor infrastructure, and other political conditions were the major impediments to food production and distribution.But Jerry Glover, a U.S. Agency for International Development agroecologist, says there's been a "significant shift ... In many regions, an emerging cause of food insecurity is the lack of ability of those farm fields to support yields that are necessary because of land degradation and the effects of climate change."Glover and sustainable agriculture experts like Danielle Nierenberg, president of Food Tank, see smallholder farms in the developing world—and sometimes on city rooftops in the developed world—as leading the way in navigating an increasingly uncertain agricultural landscape.In its recent report, Food Tank cited the many low-tech "agroecological approaches" used by smallholder farms "to combat climate change and create resilience to food price shocks, natural disasters, and conflict."Among them: agroforestry, which integrates trees and shrubs into crop and livestock fields; solar-powered drip irrigation, which delivers water directly to plant roots; intercropping, which involves planting two or more crops near each other to maximize the use of light, water, and nutrients; and the use of green manures, which are quick-growing plants that help prevent erosion and replace nutrients in the soil.Former U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman recently returned from Guatemala, where farmers are adding vegetables—and biodiversity—to traditional corn and bean fields, rotating coffee with other crops to fight a deadly leaf fungus, and using drip irrigation techniques to grow mangos and plantains.Such labor-intensive methods haven't been widely adapted by big agriculture, which has generally been more focused on increasing yields on some of the world's most productive lands.Indeed, large-scale monoculture farming, with its heavy use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified seeds, has contributed to the disappearance of about 75 percent of plant genetic diversity over the last century, according to the FAO.At a time when Food Tank says that 30 percent of the world's arable land has been depleted of nutrients and has become less productive because of unsustainable agricultural methods, family farmers who plant a variety of indigenous crops are obtaining 20 to 60 percent higher yields than farmers who cultivate only one crop.And "forgotten crops" like millet, sorghum, and the now-trendy quinoa—often staples of smallholder farms—can go longer without water and can better resist disease than mass-produced and resource-thirsty corn, wheat, soybeans, or rice."These are the crops often referred to as 'poor people's food' or sometimes even 'weeds,'" Nierenberg says, "but these are foods that can be resilient to the impacts of climate change."

A photo of farmgirls on their ravaged farm land.

Girls stand in a drought-ravaged farm field in New South Wales, Australia.

PHOTOGRAPH BY AMY TOENSING, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Farming Out of Poverty

Even as they demonstrate ways to help feed a more crowded, warmer world, small-scale farmers are among the most threatened by climate change and the surging population.Many family farmers till two hectares (about five acres) or less, often on marginal lands susceptible to changing climate and catastrophic weather events in developing areas of sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Central America.And despite their vocation, they're among the world's poorest and most malnourished. To make matters worse, they live disproportionately in regions that are expected to see the largest population bumps by midcentury, making limited resources even scarcer."Most of the poverty in the developing world is in rural and agricultural areas," says Glickman. "To the extent that we can give family farms [and] smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia additional tools to use better farming methods, better seeds, better fertilizer, more technical information to grow better crops, we help pull them out of poverty."According to a UN Millennium Project Task Force report cited by Food Tank, about half of the world's hungry live on smallholder family farms.Investing in these "stewards of the land," as Nierenberg calls them, so that they can grow more nutritious food will not only help raise them out of poverty but also help a warming planet.

Editor's note: Glickman, Glover, and Nierenberg are scheduled panelists at Friday's Future of Food forum at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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FAO & NatGeo focus on #FutureofFood in 8-month Series
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

May 01, 2014 10:13 AM

Partnership kicks off with live-streamed May 2 event in Washington, D.C., and May cover story in National Geographic Magazine

 

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Workers harvest celery near Greenfield, California, in the United States, from the May issue of National Geographic magazine.

 The National Geographic Society and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are teaming up to raise awareness on food and agriculture issues as National Geographic begins an eight-month, in-depth report on food issues starting with a May cover story in National Geographic magazine and online at NatGeoFood.com.

The official launch of the collaboration will be marked by a three-day event taking place 2-4 May 2014 at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., beginning May 2 with an afternoon panel discussion, Food: A Forum, which will highlight issues of food security and sustainability. The event will be live-streamed at NatGeoFood.com.

The panel discussion will be followed by a two-day Future of Food Hackathon May 3 and 4, during which scientists, data journalists and programmers will develop apps and tools to address solutions for feeding the planet by exploring broad FAO data sets that shed light on food distribution, transportation, costs and environmental legacy over the last 50 years.

From May through December, FAO experts will provide perspective and data for National Geographic’s food coverage, which includes in-depth articles in the magazine each month and additional features on theNatGeoFood.com website. Both organizations will share content and participate in related events to help educate and promote awareness about hunger and nutrition.

Among the themes that will be addressed are food and agricultural statistics and trends, feeding megacities in a world of changing demographics, reducing food loss and waste, the role of animal and insect protein in diets, and global forestry issues.

“Combining FAO’s specialized expertise with National Geographic’s 126 years of award-winning photography and reporting is very exciting, and this agreement will help bring up-to-date information about hunger and nutrition challenges and solutions to a very wide public audience,” said Mehdi Drissi, FAO Chief of Media Relations.

National Geographic magazine, the Society’s official journal, is read by more than 60 million people each month in 40 languages, while the Society’s digital media receives more than 27 million visitors a month.

“Reporting on food is a natural extension of our coverage of water, population and environmental issues,” said Chris Johns, editor in chief of National Geographic magazine. “We believe offering clear-eyed information about issues surrounding this essential topic is an important service to our audiences, and we are thrilled to partner with FAO, an organization that is on the front lines working in this area.”

The two organizations plan to collaborate on a number of initiatives throughout the year, including the Committee on World Food Security (13-18 October 2014), World Food Day (16 October 2014), the Second International Conference on Nutrition (19-21 November 2014) and the International Year of Family Farmingthat runs throughout 2014.

National Geographic editorial staff met with senior FAO experts in Rome in February to gather information for the series and develop a framework of collaboration that will be formalized with the signing of a memorandum of understanding later this year.

The Future of Food series is the latest in a number of large-scale National Geographic investigations that have included energy, climate, water and population.

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Live Below the Line Challenge
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

April 08, 2014 2:33 PM

From April 28-May 2, join us in spending $1.50 a day on food and beverage for five days to change the way people think about extreme poverty – all while supporting The Hunger Project’s work in villages worldwide.

Thousands of people around the world are taking the Live Below the Line challenge to raise funds and awareness for the 1.2 billion people in our world who live in extreme poverty. The Hunger Project is partnering with this campaign in the U.S. and the U.K.

We need you to be our ambassadors! Sign up for the Live Below the Line challenge and invite your friends and family to support your efforts by investing in The Hunger Project!

Sign up now!

 

The Live Below the Line site allows you to create your own page to ask for donations, form teams and create a workplace network for your company. Plus, it has a blog feature for you to share your thoughts, and gives you tons of tips for raising funds via social media as well as recipe ideas and more! Find out more.

In 2013, with 21,000 participants, Live Below the Line raised over $4.4 million globally, and gained support from celebrities, influencers, students, mothers, communities of faith, and world leaders.

Bridget Moynahan, Rachel Brosnahan (House of Cards), Bonnie Wright (Harry Potter series), Hunter Biden and Tamzin Merchant (The Tudors) have committed to Live Below the Line in 2014 between April 28 - May 2. Previous supporters of Live Below the Line include Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Josh Groban, Malin Akerman, Dr. Jill Biden, Nick Lachey, Sophia Bush, Jonah Hill, Chef Carla Hall and Minka Kelly.

The Hunger Project’s Live Below the Line campaign can be followed on Twitter @HungerProject with the hashtag #BelowtheLine.

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World Food Day Internships in Washington, DC
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

March 31, 2014 3:16 PM

Are you a food security advocate?  Do you have top quality communications skills that could be used to mobilize people across the USA and Canada to end hunger?  We need YOU!

Two World Food Day Internships have just been opened at the Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN in Washington, DC. 

Check them out here.  

The deadline to apply is THIS Friday, April 4, so send your applications now!  To apply, email a resume and cover letter to Kaggwa Lubega, kaggwa.lubega@fao.org. 

 

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More Crop per Drop
By Danielle Nierenberg

March 22, 2014 9:00 AM

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by Danielle Nierenberg, President, Food Tank: The Food Think Tank

Today, March 22nd, the world celebrates World Water Day. Water and agriculture are inextricably interlinked and interdependent. Agriculture is a major user of both ground and surface water for irrigation—accounting for about 70 percent of water withdrawal worldwide.

Modern irrigation practices, including center pivot irrigation systems, can help improve crop productivity and yields. Unfortunately, irrigation is also the source of excessive water depletion from aquifers, erosion, and soil degradation. But using rainwater harvesting, zai pits, micro-irrigation, bottle irrigation, gravity drip buckets, rotational grazing systems, and other water-saving practices can all help create diverse landscapes, supporting wildlife and culture.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 47 percent of the population could be living under severe water stress by 2050. “The world is thirsty because it is hungry,” reports the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). We all consume around 3,800 liters of water everyday and 92 percent of that is used to produce the food we eat, making sustainable practices and reducing water consumption in food, also known as “virtual water,” even more necessary.

Europe uses, on average, 44 percent of water for agricultural use. In the United States, agriculture accounts for around 80 percent of consumptive water use. And in Western U.S. States, such as California, over 90 percent of water use is for agricultural purposes.

California is also facing the worst drought since records began, 100 years ago—approximately 95 percent of the state remains in a drought, with about 23 percent experiencing “exceptional” drought. The state also happens to be America’s breadbasket, supplying nearly half the country's fruits, nuts, and vegetables, and is a major producer of almonds, artichokes, grapes, olives, and other products.

But all over the world farmers are using innovative practices to utilize water more efficiently and in lesser quantities to produce more nutritious foods. And eaters can profoundly reduce water waste and consumption through the food choices they make each day.

In Syria, in the four regions hit hardest by groundwater shortages, the FAO helped the Ministry of Agriculture improve irrigation technology and management techniques. The project benefited 2,750 farmers by providing drip irrigation systems and training farmers on their installation. Drip irrigation saves both water and fertilizer inputs by allowing water to drip slowly through a network of tubing to the roots of plants. And it’s something that can be used on both small large farms all over the world.

Drip irrigation was also introduced on Cape Verde, helping boost the island’s horticultural production from 5,700 tonnes to 17,000 tonnes over an eight year period. And now more than 20 percent of the country’s irrigation has been converted to drip irrigation. Rethinking crop production has helped conserve water resources as well—farmers on the island converted their sugar cane plantations, which are water-intensive, to more diverse crop production, including cultivating peppers and tomatoes, that require less resources and are more suitable to the region’s climate.

In Israel and Spain, farmers have started re-using drainage water from urban areas mixed with groundwater for supplying water to crops. And in California agricultural waste water from irrigating crops is being reclaimed and treated for re-use, benefiting the environment by avoiding discharge of chemicals into surface water and helping retain soil nutrients by preventing them from being washed away with the run-off water.

Across India, the Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR) regenerates watershed communities by harvesting rain water, organizing communities to sustainably manage the land, optimizing irrigation, and planting crops based on water availability. WOTR has reached more than 300,000 people in 300 villages, rejuvenating 200,000 hectares of land.

And eaters and consumers can all do their part to save water by incorporating more native foods into their diets, eating more locally grown foods and less meat, steaming vegetables rather than boiling them, reducing food waste, reconsidering lawn and garden irrigation methods, and supporting family farmers that use less water intensive practices.

On World Water Day this year, Food Tank honors the projects, people, and programs working tirelessly to achieve more with less water and creating innovative systems for the future.

This article was originally posted on FoodTank.org

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Let's plant some trees, it's the International Day of Forests!
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

March 21, 2014 3:17 PM

Forests and trees sustain and protect us, providing clean air and water, safeguarding biodiversity and acting as a buffer against climate change. For many people, they also offer food, shelter and employment.

Here are ten facts about trees you might not be aware of:

  • The  world’s forests store 289 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon in their biomass alone.
  • Deforestation accounts for up to 20% of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The five most forest-rich countries (the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America and China) account for more than half of the total world forest area.
  • Ten countries or areas have no forest at all and an additional 54 have forest on less than 10 percent of their total land area.
  • Legally established protected areas cover an estimated 13% of the world's forests.
  • The oldest trees in the world can live to 4,600 years old.
  • Trees in the right place can reduce air-conditioning costs by shading buildings.
  • Approximately 14 million people worldwide are formally employed in the forestry sector. Many more depend directly on forests and forest product for their livelihood
  • 80% of the world’s forests are publicly owned.
  • Wood is not the only resource taken from forests. About 80 percent of people in the developing world use non-wood forest products for health and nutritional needs and for income.

Join the Food and Agriculture Organization in celebrating the International Day of Forests on 21st March and share the video to spread the message and help raise awareness.

Show the world how trees make a difference in your community by planting a tree! Share photos of your tree with us by tagging them on Twitter or Facebook with #unfaozhcidf. Please ensure to only use your own photos. We will select some of the photos and share them via FAO's social media channels.

This article was published by the Food and Agriculture Organization http://www.fao.org/zhc/detail-events/en/c/216853/. 

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It's time to get serious about hunger.
By Stephanie Gandy

February 14, 2014 2:39 PM

Stephanie Gandy is a graduate student at Auburn University.

The 2014 Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH) Summit is an event where participants gather to share best practices and inspiration, in addition to listening to world-renowned keynote speakers. It is going to be an incredible time and YOU should be there! Why? Because the Summit gives you the opportunity hear from some of the world’s most prominent leaders and participate in a number of panels and interactive sessions. Hunger is a true issue for many people throughout the world. Many of us cannot even imagine the feeling of being hungry for longer than lunch to a late dinner. The UFWH Summit is more than an event, but a show of support and advocacy for those who suffer from hunger daily. We care for those who feel hungry for extended periods of time. The Summit allows participants to not only be motivated, but identify practical and replicable actions that they can bring back to their campuses and communities.

Speakers from around the world have agreed to come to Auburn, Alabama, for the Summit. When you register for the Summit, you are also signing up to hear from Alfred Orono Orono, Senior Advisor, Rule of Law at United Nations Mission in South Sudan. Orono Orono spent part of his youth as a child soldier fighting the oppressive military rule of the dictator Idi Amin. Now an international criminal lawyer, he has a unique perspective on issues facing war-torn countries. His survival and subsequent success makes him a leader in this community. In addition to Orono Orono, Mick Jackson will also be a speaker at the Summit. Jackson is the founder of the WildHearts Group, which is committed to launching companies that use their profits to fight poverty. In 2008, Mick was voted Entrepreneur of the Year and Top Scot by the Scottish public, an honor he shares with JK Rowling and six time Olympic Gold medal winner, Sir Chris Hoy.

The Summit will be the only place you can see these two amazing speakers, plus more, in one place. Not only do we have some great speakers, there will also be a Stop Hunger Now food packing event and the HungerU bus stop tour will be here. We are getting serious about ending child hunger – in America, and around the world. Moreover, we believe in advocacy and teaching students to become strong activists for causes in which they believe. You can help us become a 21st century food security leader.

With your help, we can make strides toward a world where no one goes to bed hungry and no child has to worry about where their next meal will come from. With your help, hunger becomes an issue of our past, not our future. We hope to see YOU at the UFWH 9th Annual Hunger Summit at Auburn University February 28th-March 2nd, 2014.

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Event Alert: The Zero Hunger Challenge: Achieving the Right to Food for All
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

January 29, 2014 2:13 PM

TOMORROW: Thursday, January 30, 2014, 12:15pm Eastern Time             

Watch LIVE

Join the conversation: @IFPRI, #zerohungerchallenge

Each and every man, woman and child should be able to realize their right to food, but this right is far from reach both globally and at home.  In a world of plenty, living with hunger and malnutrition today and in the future should not be tolerated. It is precisely why the United Nations has launched a bold new call to action known as the Zero Hunger Challenge, which calls on the elimination of hunger and malnutrition in our lifetime. Strengthening and expanding partnerships, and deploying our collective strengths and knowledge to fill gaps will aid us in our goal of a hunger-free world.  More importantly, it will change the lives of millions of people who go to bed hungry each night.

FAO Assistant Director-General, Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, will be in Washington, DC to shed light on what the Zero Hunger Challenge means and how it will transform the face of hunger and malnutrition around the world.

Join us, Thursday, January 30, for a panel discussion co-hosted by FAO, Community for Zero Hunger, and IFPRI entitled: The Zero Hunger Challenge: Achieving the Right to Food for All.

This panel brings together the unique perspectives of representatives of the United Nations, government and civil society to discuss the Zero Hunger Challenge, a UN-led initiative to end hunger, eliminate child stunting, make all food systems sustainable, eradicate rural poverty, and minimize food waste.

It will identify concrete actions taken so far at global and national levels as leaders mobilize around this important call to action, and draw attention to efforts still needed by a wide range of organizations, social movements, the private sector and individuals to build a world where the right to food is a reality for all. 

PANEL:

Chair

  • Shenggen Fan, Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute 

Panelists

  • Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Director-General, Coordinator for Economic and Social Development Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Nabeeha Mujeeb Kazi, President & CEO, Humanitas Global and Chair, Community for Zero Hunger 
  • Richard Greene, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Food Security, USAID
  • Sam Worthington, President & CEO, InterAction  

 

WHERE  :

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

2033 K Street, NW

4th Floor Conference Room

Washington, DC 20006

 

WHEN: 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

11:45 am – 12:15 pm            Informal luncheon

12:15 pm – 1:45 pm              Panel discussion

 

RSVP to attend in-person here.

The event will also be broadcast online.

 

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NYC 2013 Walk to Feed the Hungry–The Gift of Life, the Gift of Love
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

December 17, 2013 10:51 AM

This article was originally posted on the blog of Buddhist Global Relief on November 6, 2013

by Deena Scherer

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The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect, the joy was palpable, excitement rippled through the air, and the cause was noble. On November 2, nearly 200 people gathered in New York City’s Riverside Park to join BGR’s fourth “Walk to Feed the Hungry.” All were in complete accord with BGR’s motto that “no one needs to go hungry.”

What a day! The walkers acted and walked with conscientious compassion to ensure that hungry people all over the world are fed and that girls in particular would be given an opportunity to gain an education instead of being exploited to earn money to feed their families.

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The walk, four miles in all up and around the park, was led and inspired by BGR’s founder and chair, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, himself a native New Yorker. With zest and vigor his friends and students, supporters of BGR, and people from a variety of congregations and backgrounds gathered in the green near 79th Street, eager to put their feet to work in generating funds to combat global hunger and malnutrition.

After a short talk by Ven. Bodhi on the origins of the walk, and blessings chanted in Pali by Ven. Kondanna of the Staten Island Vihara and in Chinese by the monks and nuns of Chuang Yen Monastery, the walk took off.

The walkers formed a virtual United Nations of ethnic origins. They included Buddhists, people of other faiths, people with no avowed faith, and clergy wearing a rainbow of robes from mustard yellow to red and mahogany to gray, brown, and black. All walked together in peace for a cause dear to their hearts.

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After the walk, the weary walkers gathered at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church on 82nd Street for a mouth-watering vegetarian lunch provided by volunteers. In appreciation of our purpose, the church kindly granted us use of the premises without charge.

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There were some marvelous speakers, including representatives of two BGR project partners—Harry McNeary III of Urban Rebuilding Initiative and Dan Fiedler of Helen Keller International—and monastics from temples in the greater metropolitan area. Roshi Joan Hoeberichts, a BGR adviser, served as emcee. A raffle was held to offer gifts to the walkers, and at the end green tea cake topped off the meal.

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The walk, one of thirteen BGR walks worldwide, raised well over $60,000. The funds will go toward BGR’s projects for 2014, which will provide food for the hungry, promote the education of girls, and support ecologically sustainable agriculture from Cambodia to Kenya to California. The Buddha said, “The gift of food is the gift of life,” and by their generosity both walkers and donors have given the gift of life–as a gift of love–to many unseen people both in the U.S. and around the world.

All photos by Richard Rethemeyer, Rethemeyer Photography

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Nelson Mandela
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

December 12, 2013 4:46 PM

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The words of Nelson Mandela will continue to embolden us into the future as we face the task that some may say is impossible: to free the world from the injustice and inequality of hunger.  We mourn the loss of this great hero who has so inspired all who have sought to right the wrongs in our world against all odds.   Let these words give you determination and fortitude to continue your work to end hunger in your communities and around the world.  

 

15 of Nelson Mandelas best quotes (also includes a brief video about his life's work)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2013/12/05/nelson-mandela-quotes/3775255/ 

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New report lays a plan to end hunger in USA by 2030
By Miaozhu Yuan

November 27, 2013 12:43 PM

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An anti-hunger advocacy group in the U.S., Bread for the World, released its 2014 Hunger Report titled “Ending Hunger in America” on November 25. The report calls on President Obama to commit to ending hunger in America and to work with Congress to develop a plan to achieve the goal within 10-15 years, by 2030.  

The 2014 Report also calls on the U.S. government to work with the international community to develop a universal set of  goals succeeding the MDGs, which will expire in 2015. The new development agenda should include ending hunger and extreme poverty and achieving global food security and good nutrition for all by 2030.

The report highlighted key statistics about hunger in America including:

  • In 2012, 14.5% of American households were considered food insecure. (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • The average incomes of the top 1 percent of households rose by 19.6% in 2012, while the incomes of the other 99 percent grew by just 1%.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP) recipients are children, elderly, or disabled.
  • Among SNAP households with children and at least one working-age, non-disabled adult:  62 percent work while receiving SNAP and 87 percent work in the prior or subsequent year.
  • In 2012, the poverty rate for African American children was 37.5%, for Hispanic children 33%, and for non-Hispanic White children 12%.
  • While children make up roughly 24% of our total population, they comprise one-thirds of the nation’s poor.

To read the full report or the Executive Summary, click here.

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World Food Day Partners Support the Philippines
By Lily Michelson

November 22, 2013 5:18 PM

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On Friday, November 8, 2013 Typhoon Haiyan’s record winds and devastating tidal surge wreaked havoc across the Philippines. The death toll officially reached 5,209 as of Friday, November 22, 2013 with more than 1,600 still missing. The turmoil has disrupted the livelihoods of millions of Filipinos--over 4 million have been displaced from their homes, 1 million of whom are children.

Lend your support

Our World Food Day partners are working relentlessly to deliver much-needed relief aid and support to the Philippines. To sustain their efforts, they need your help! The following list provides a brief description of each organization’s work and a link to their donor page:

Church World Service (CWS):

CWS is supporting early response and recovery efforts of fellow members of the ACT Alliance that have significant operations in the Philippines. These partners include the United Methodist Committee on Relief, Lutheran World Relief, Christian Aid and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.

How to help: Donate to CWS  online or mail funds  to:

Church World Service, Attn. Typhoon Haiyan (#700-M),P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.

Convoy of Hope:

Convoy of Hope’s disaster response teams in the Philippines is providing immediate relief across many of the worst hit provinces like Cebu, Leyte, Capiz and Iloilo. To date, hundreds of thousands of meals, as well as relief supplies and tents, have been provided by Convoy of Hope teams, volunteers and partners. Plans are in place for their teams to return to Daanbantayan and Malapascua with more meals.

To support Convoy of Hope, donate here.

Feed My Starving Children:

The FMSC team of donors, volunteers, and staff has responded in an “all hands on deck” fashion. Additional containers above what was already scheduled for the Philippines have been or soon will be shipped. Some of these containers are to replace food that was in-country and used for the immediate response, while others were requested to meet an increase in demand for affected regions.

You can donate to their mission and provide meals for those in need by clicking here.

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):

FAO is concentrating relief efforts to help more than one million fishermen and farmers restore their livelihoods from the structural damage caused by Haiyan. FAO will distribute rice seeds to farmers so they can plant or replant seed before the end of the season in December and distribute vegetable seeds so they can have more immediate food before the main crops are harvested.

To help farmers and fishermen rebuild their future, donate to FAO here.

Islamic Relief USA:

Islamic Relief USA supports their global teams who are gathering resources and sending relief personnel to help with emergency efforts. Current IRUSA donors sponsor two current aid projects: Emergency Shelter Provisions in Bogo City and Leyte City and Emergency Shelter Kits in Cebu.

To assist their efforts, visit their Donation Page online.

Oxfam America:

Oxfam aid teams are on the ground in the Philippines and reporting urgent needs for food, clean water, sanitation and shelter. Oxfam’s goal in the first, most urgent phase of the emergency: ensure that 20,000 families (around 100,000 people) have access to food, safe water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene materials. In the longer term, Oxfam ultimately aims to reach 500,000 people with critical aid by helping markets recover quickly and sustainably.

Visit their Donation Page to lend your support!

Save the Children:  

Save the Children is working around the clock to help children and families with emergency assistance during this difficult time. Their relief experts are on the scene, getting desperately needed relief supplies into hard hit communities and providing services that children and their families will need to recover from this tragedy.

Help support their mission by donating today.

Stop Hunger Now:

Stop Hunger Now USA is shipping pre-packaged meals to the Philippines and working with their global offices in Malaysia and Singapore to provide extra relief through coordinating packaging events and delivery services.  In addition to meals, Stop Hunger Now is also distributing water filters to be used in the hardest hit areas.

You can visit their Donation Page here.

United Nations World Food Program (WFP)

WFP is coordinating their response under three major efforts:

  1. Distributing food including High Energy Biscuits, family packs of rice and canned goods;
  2. Coordinating logistics and emergency telecommunications efforts of the humanitarian community;
  3. Transporting in infrastructure including prefabricated offices, mobile storage units, generators and radio equipment so that the humanitarian community can coordinate response efforts.

To assist WFP, please donate here.

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Food Startups Tackle Food Waste
By Lily Michelson, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

November 07, 2013 5:00 PM

Food waste  is certainly a hot topic these days!

In a recent blog post for Food Waste Awareness Week (September 15-21, 2013) , we cited that 1.3 billion tonnes of food (about 1/3 of all food produced)  is wasted each year.

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To reduce this number, we need sustainable solutions and innovative strategies that can respond to the many factors causing so much waste.

Luckily, a few new startups have stepped up to the plate (pun intended).  National Public Radio’s the salt released a great article featuring two new startups, Food Cowboy and CropMobster, whose business strategies rely on linking excess or otherwise wasted food with those who can use it. Food Cowboy works by distributing potentially wasted, safe-to-consume food to hunger relief groups, like food banks;  CropMobster uses a Craigslist-like platform to connect distributors, grocers, or producers who have extra food to anyone who can use it.

The article is a great read and highlights some of the complicated issues involved in creating a business out of food waste. For those interested in learning more, you can read the article here.

Photo Credit: Bicycle Fixation
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Our Cutest World Food Day Supporters!
By Lily Michelson, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

October 24, 2013 1:57 PM

Check out what some of our youngest World Food Day supporters have to say on ending hunger!

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Ending Hunger: The Movement Continues
By Lily Michelson, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

October 18, 2013 3:10 PM

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Photo Credit: Sarita, World Food Day 2013 Poster Contest, 2nd Place

Congratulations!

The World Food Day USA and Canada network extends a sincerest congratulations to you for a successful 2013 campaign!

Your savvy social media skills and participation in #WFD2013 events pushed the World Food Day movement to the forefront of media attention.   From hosting or attending Oxfam Dinners to marching in CROP hunger walks, you made this World Food Day a day of activism, inspiration, and hope for the anti-hunger movement.

Still #hungerto do more?

Though World Food Day may be over,  the fight to end hunger will not cease. There are many more events coming up in the next few weeks that will further our mission. Check out the EVENTS page for activities going on near you! The page is continuing to grow, so if you don’t see something near you, be sure to check in again in the coming days.

Missed some of the conversation?

World Food Day made national and international headlines this year, with major publications drawing attention to the food security movement and covering large-scale World Food Day events. If you missed some of the press, don’t worry!  Here are some (but certainly not all) of the most interesting news headlines:

Pope Francis' Message for World Food Day

10 Things to Know about Food on World Food Day (Huffington Post)

Fast Food, Slow Food, No Food (Princess Haya Al Hussein)

How to Feed the World (Mark Bittman)

The World Food Day Challenge: Feeding Fewer People with Fewer Resources (World Bank)

Thank you, once again, for an incredible World Food Day. To stay updated and informed on global hunger issues, be sure to continue visiting the WorldFoodDayUSA webpage and to follow the World Food Day blog!

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Celebrating the 32nd Annual World Food Day
By Nicholas Nelson, Director, FAO Liason Office for North America

October 16, 2013 10:53 AM

Welcome to World Food Day 2013!

Today, we celebrate the achievements made toward food security and the work that must continue to finally end world hunger. We join together, as one movement, to raise awareness of the unequal access to food and production resources that permeate across our current food systems. Above all else, we work in solidarity to create and spread the political will that promises nutritious food for everyone, everywhere.WFD_Poster_contest_winner_1.jpg

This year, we concentrate our efforts under the theme: “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.” To live in a world free of hunger, we must create food systems that ensure a plentiful supply of nutritious food with minimal impact on our environment. Our food systems must consider sustainability in every step of the supply chain: from production to processing, transportation to retail, and consumption to post-consumption waste. Without a focus on sustainability, our food system may not produce the healthy, nutritious food that we all deserve and that our children deserve, too! If you would like to learn more about this year’s theme, be sure to read the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s information note on this year’s theme and to visit the LEARN page.

Raising awareness for #WFD2013 could not be done without the continued help and support of our partner organizations and your grassroots activism. Together, we have rallied to raise awareness and spread the word: we can end hunger. On behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization, I thank you for your inspiring efforts this World Food Day and encourage you to continue the campaign for food security.

#Hungerto Inspire

WFD_Poster_Winner_2.jpgFor inspiration this World Food Day, consult the collection of essays in the PERSPECTIVES series for engaging discussion of the #WFD2013 theme by various experts and thought-leaders in the food movement.

In addition, all readers are welcome to explore the colorful and talented submissions by kids and teens for the World Food Day poster contest.  The winning posters represent the diverse aspects of this year’s theme as presented by children across the world.

#Hungerto Do More?

Though World Food Day is just one day,  hunger awareness events will continue in the coming weeks. If you #hungerto do even more, check out the ACT page for innovative ideas!  Get connected to these organizations to continue the movement year round.

Once again, I thank you for supporting World Food Day 2013.

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The 2013 World Food Prize
By Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President, The World Food Prize Foundation

October 15, 2013 1:13 PM

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Each World Food Day, the World Food Prize symposium celebrates achievements in increasing the quality, quantity, and availability of food in the world. The symposium, also called the Borlaug Dialogue, is commonly referred to as the “Nobel prize for food and agriculture.” The annual award adheres to the vision of Dr. Norman Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the World Food Prize.

During the week-long event in Des Moines, Iowa, from October 16-19, 2013, over 1500 participants from over 70 countries will join together to celebrate the advancements of agricultural science and to discuss the future of biotechnology. Though opinions are split on the use of GMOs and biotechnology in agriculture, the World Food Prize symposium highlights the opportunities and promises of biotechnology while providing an arena for debate and discussion.

If you wish to read more about the history of the prize and Dr. Borlaug’s work, be sure to read  Norman Borlaug’s Three Dreams. You can stay up-to-date on this week’s Borlaug Dialogue at http://www.worldfoodprize.org//.

 

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The 2013 Food Sovereignty Prize
By Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau, WhyHunger

October 14, 2013 2:26 PM

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Hunger is not solved by growing more food, but by sharing the abundance of food we have. On Tuesday, October 15th, in a ceremony in lower Manhattan, the Food Sovereignty Prize will celebrate the vision of food and agriculture that relies on sustainable practices, cooperation, and local control rather than chemicals and industrial profits. Michael Pollan has called the Food Sovereignty Prize, "an important alternative to the World Food Prize. Its recognition of people working to promote genuine and sustainable food security, rather than simple food production, is needed and welcome."

Top honors for the 2013 Food Sovereignty Prize will go to an innovative partnership between Haiti's Group of Four (G4) peasant organizations and Brazilian peasant agronomists known as the Dessalines Brigade, named for Haitian revolutionary leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines. The peasant-to-peasant collaboration between G4 and the Dessalines Brigade has been critical in rebuilding the Haitian countryside after the 2010 earthquake through agroecology, seed saving, and cooperative farming.

Honorable mentions for the 2013 Food Sovereignty Prize go to the Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective of India, National Coordination of Peasant Organizations of Mali, and the Basque Country Farmers Union in Europe for their roles to make a more democratic food system.

Join the US Food Sovereignty Alliance in honoring the 2013 Food Sovereignty Prize honorees next Tuesday, October 15, 7-9 p.m. at The Great Hall of Cooper Union. The ceremony will also feature longtime farm advocate, civil rights activist, and former USDA official, Shirley Sherrod, as the keynote speaker. Martha Redbone and Jen Chapin will give special musical performances. The event is co-hosted by WhyHunger, the Prize is sponsored by the Small Planet Fund, the Lawson Valentine Foundation, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and many other organizations have contributed to make this event possible.

Tickets are free and open to the public! Reservations must be made at www.foodsovereigntyprize.org.

Can’t attend? Watch the live stream at www.foodsovereigntyprize.org (on October 15th, at 7-9 PM Eastern) and join the conversation on Twitter at #FoodSovPrize.

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WFP and Michael Kors Want You to #WatchHungerStop
By Annie Emberland, World Food Programme

October 11, 2013 11:15 AM

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This World Food Day, the World Food Programme and designer Michael Kors want you to help Watch Hunger Stop. They have partnered together in a unique campaign that’s making a major impact on the fight against hunger.

On World Food Day, you can be a part of it. At six participating Michael Kors stores around the world, you can stop in to receive a “Watch Hunger Stop” t-shirt. While you’re there, you can have your picture taken in their photo booth. This image of you in your new shirt will be live-streamed to several digital billboards in New York’s Times Square. It will also be texted to you for you to share on your social networks using the hashtag #WatchHungerStop. Find out more about the activities for World Food Day and which stores are participating hMKY1L8T_mx.jpgere.    

This activity is part of an ongoing Michael Kors campaign to help in the fight against global hunger. As a part of the “Watch Hunger Stop” campaign, which features Academy Award winning actress Halle Berry, Kors designed a “Watch Hunger Stop” watch. For every watch sold, $25 is donated to WFP—that’s 100 meals for hungry children per watch. More than 1.7 million meals have already been delivered thanks to these watch sales, and the campaign is on the road to reach its next goal of 5 million meals.                

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SOFI and CFS: Decoding World Hunger
By Lily Michelson, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

October 10, 2013 1:37 PM

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Did you know that 842 million individuals are currently hungry? Though this number is no hallmark figure, it does represent a silver lining of hope.

Last week, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), released the annual State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI) report. Most notable in the report was the overall hunger statistic: the 2013 SOFI measures that overall world hunger is down, with 30 million fewer individuals suffering from malnourishment than had been previously measured in 2010-2012. This year’s report also analyzes the multiple causes of hunger, ranging from food availability to food access and stability.

If you #hungerto learn the newest facts, be sure to check out the report’s key messages. sofi.png

Following the release of the SOFI, the 40th meeting of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is currently underway in Rome, Italy. The CFS is an annual forum that represents the premier platform for discussing global food security issues: its inclusive model gives a voice to all stakeholders. The current CFS 40 discusses the importance of investment in smallholder agriculture, development strategies for achieving food security in crises-ridden areas, and guidelines for making smart agricultural investments. If you want up-to-date action on the CFS 40, you can follow the live webcast here: http://www.fao.org/webcast/.

We encourage all #WFD2013 hunger activists to check out these two resources, as they provide up-to-date knowledge on global food issues.

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Celebrating Food and World Food Day in Lima, Peru
By Alejandra Schrader, Ambassador, Oxfam America

October 09, 2013 11:13 AM

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I recently had the opportunity to travel to South America and represent Oxfam America as one of their Sisters on the Planet Ambassadors. As a long-time advocate of healthy eating and sustainable farming, I was very excited to have the opportunity to visit Lima, Peru, and to promote the causes I support in Spanish, my native language.

First, we visited the municipality of Villa Maria del Triunfo, south of Lima. We went to the Comedor Flora Tristán, one of the soup kitchens supported by the GROW campaign or ‘CRECE’, as they know it in Peru. A small group of women, most of them single mothers and victims of domestic violence, run the kitchen and belong to the board.

I was extremely impressed with their skills—they are all experienced home cooks with an incredible passion for cooking. Despite how rudimentary their kitchen tools are, they all pay attention to detail, focusing on the flavor and the nutritional value of the meals they serve. Every day, these amazing ladies serve a full lunch to members of the community that, otherwise, may not have access to a meal, let alone one that is packed with love and nutrition.1229910_511032862304157_512841068_n.jpg

In Lima, I saw the difference that a soup kitchen makes for underprivileged communities and tasted for myself the amazing flavors found in each of their dishes. As a chef, I was humbled and reminded that the most important thing is to cook with love.  It reminded me that hosting a meal means more than just sharing food. When we share our meals, we share invaluable experiences: shared meals are a gateway to rich conversations that divulge culture, traditions, and values.

The following days I had the opportunity to be part of Oxfam’s presence at Mistura Peru 2013, the largest culinary festival in Latin America. Their main platform, known as Apoya y Crece (Support and Grow), featured an exhibition called “El Arte de Alimentar” (The Art of Feeding) which displayed blank murals designed by local artist Alberto Lama.

This very powerful theme was meant to educate the crowds on the importance of small-scale producers in the food system.  I came away feeling more passionate about food and the need to educate people to help create a greater conscience on the importance of what we eat, of where our food comes from. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to visit such beautiful country and to promote CRECE in Peru. I am inspired by the people that I’ve met and by their positive attitude and hard work

This World Food Day,  everyone is invited to participate in or host an Oxfam World Food Day dinner to foster conversation with friends and family about where your food comes from, how it’s produced, who is producing it, and how you can take action to protect farmers and farmlands. With a season full of rich, wonderful food, we hold the responsibility to think critically about our food consumption and about our abilities to help improve the food system.

If you #hungerto spread awareness and dinner for change, sign up to host an Oxfam World Food Day Dinner here. You will be provided with a discussion guide, recipe cards, and fact sheets to engage your guests and spark a conversation. If you are interested in attending a dinner, be sure to RSVP on our Events page! Let’s stand on common ground with farmers and communities worldwide and advocate for food justice for all!

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World Food Day 2013: We Need YOU!
By Lily Michelson

October 08, 2013 6:38 PM

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This World Food Day, we #hungerto live in a world free of hunger and poverty. We #hungerto inspire innovation in ourselves and others. We #hungerto learn more about food issues so that we can spread this knowledge and raise awareness. We #hungerto act and promote positive change.  Above all, we #hungerto do more. What do you #hungerto do?

As we approach October 16,  we  need more help than ever to spread the message about World Food Day and support the 2013 theme, “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.”  Remember: we have the capability to end world hunger, but we don’t have the capability to do it alone. We need YOU!

To help the 2013 campaign, all readers are encouraged to download the official 2013 World Food Day Social Media Toolkit, an essential resource for all hunger activists. The Toolkit provides an overview of this year’s key messages and the multiple social media outlets in which users can help spread the word. In addition, the Toolkit provides guided daily support, beginning October 9, for sample posts via twitter and Facebook.  For more information about our social media campaign and ways to get involved, visit our social media page.

Collaboration is crucial for the success of the world hunger movement. To highlight this theme, our PERSPECTIVES series this week will discuss the importance of partnerships and collaboration in solving world hunger. We have submissions from a diverse group including: the United Nations World Food Programme, Washington Post food journalist Jane Black, Tony Hall of the Alliance to End Hunger, Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund, and food politics scholar Marion Nestle. If you find a story compelling, be sure to share it via social media or start a conversation by commenting on the submission.

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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) & Presbyterian Hunger Program Urge Participation in Food Week of Action
By Andrew Kang Bartlett, Presbyterian Hunger Program

October 04, 2013 3:16 PM

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People in the U.S. and worldwide are taking back their food systems – fighting for their land and waterways, reclaiming vacant lots, teaching others how to grow food, and developing local distribution systems – while simultaneously creating jobs, providing fresh food, preserving the environment, building rural-urban connections, advocating for just policies, and revitalizing their communities. Local control of seeds—by farmers, gardeners and seed keeping groups—is crucial for food security and food sovereignty.

Food Week of Action is October 13-20, spanning the two Sundays on either side of World Food Day (October 16). The Week also includes the International Day for Rural Women (October 15) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17).

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SEEDS for LIFE! is the focus for this year’s Food Week of Action. Access and control over natural resources, including defending and localizing seed keeping, is critical for viability of small-scale food producers, sustainable agriculture and, ultimately, for addressing hunger. Seed keepers not only save seeds but also the culture that seeds bring and embody.

Put your faith into action during the Week and beyond:

Defend Farmworkers! Stand in solidarity with farm workers and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.  

Defend Family Farmers and Seed Savers! Push for transparency and fairness in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and oppose fast tracking the trade agreement.

Defend Food Workers! Become an ally of employees behind the kitchen door. Request a raise to the tipped minimum wage of $2.13 an hour for restaurant workers.

Engage in these eight activity ideas & learn more about bringing justice to our Food System!

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If you have organized or know about events related to World Food Day, please fill out this short form.

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Happy World Hunger Action Month!
By Chessney Barrick, Stop Hunger Now

October 03, 2013 4:51 PM

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October is World Hunger Action Month, when Stop Hunger Now aims to raise public awareness of world hunger. On this World Food Day, October 16, Stop Hunger Now and partner organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) wish to broaden understanding of the problems and solutions that can end hunger.

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Around the world, more than 842 million people lack adequate food and more than 25,000 die each day from hunger-related illnesses. During the 2013 World Hunger Action Month thousands of Stop Hunger Now volunteers will package more than 4 million meals at about 100 events in the United States, South Africa, Malaysia and Italy. Large-scale 100,000-meal packaging events are taking place in cities such as  Atlanta, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, Philadelphia, and Memphis. Last year, volunteers around the world packaged more than 2.3 million Stop Hunger Now meals during October. 

What can you do to end world hunger?

VOLUNTEER:

DONATE

JOIN THE MOVEMENT

Visit www.stophungernow.org/WHAM  for further information on how to get involved!

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Walk to Feed the Hungry
By Charles Elliott, Buddhist Global Relief

October 02, 2013 1:34 PM

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Buddhist Global Relief is happy to announce its fourth annual Walks to Feed the Hungry, an opportunity for people to gather together to help relieve the suffering of hunger.  BGR is an all-volunteer non-profit organization that provides grants for global hunger relief programs, including programs in education, ecologically sustainable farming, and women’s livelihood — all aiming toward food security. 

The 2013 Walks to Feed the Hungry are being held in eleven U.S. cities from coast to coast, and in Cambodia, India and the U.K.

This year, BGR has supported hunger relief projects in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Rwanda, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, New York, and Santa Clara County, CA.  Recognizing that each community has different needs, we support a wide range of projects that combat hunger in different ways.  Examples of our recent projects include:

  • funding the expanded use of crop intensification techniques in Haiti, Cambodia and Ethiopia that reduce the need for chemical inputs and result in crops that are more resistant to climate extremes, pests, and diseases. Yields can increase by 50%-150% within one or two cropping seasons;
  • providing support for Helen Keller International’s (HKI) “Making Markets Work for Women” that trains Bangladeshi women in agricultural skills such as pest management, organic fertilizer use, and intercropping, as well as food processing techniques and marketing skills;
  • increasing food production in Cote d’Ivoire by teaching women in community garden groups the skills needed to create year-round gardens and farms;
  • recognizing the wealth of data showing that educating young women is one of the surest paths to reduce poverty and hunger, we help fund girls’ education in some of the poorest areas of Cambodia, Haiti, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.
  • supporting the Reciprocity Foundation’s program for vegetarian meals for homeless youth in New York City, more than doubling the number of meals and young people served, and upgrading its kitchen to help provide nutritious meals far into the future.

Our agricultural projects focus on helping people use small-scale, ecologically sustainable methods of cultivation to acquire more food for their families and communities. We also support projects that educate people about right nutrition and healthier dietary practices. To tackle the roots of poverty and malnutrition, we provide food assistance to poor families so they can permit their daughters to continue their education and to give women the chance to launch right livelihood projects to support their families.

You can read more about BGR’s programs here: http://www.buddhistglobalrelief.org/active/projects2013.html

Our Walks to Feed the Hungry are not only a great way to support compassionate efforts to help feed those who are suffering from chronic hunger, but also a positive way to spread compassion by harmoniously gathering together. Mindful walking, generosity, and making new friends are great ways to heal, brighten, and develop the mind.  

To walk a few miles may not seem like a demanding act, but when we view this event in context we can see that it has far-reaching implications. The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that food is a basic human right, which must be fulfilled without discrimination of any kind. Sadly, our world has fallen terribly short of this commitment.

 But hunger is not just an isolated phenomenon.  Buddhism stresses the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things, so we must recognize hunger as a symptom of the world’s larger problems of poverty and injustice. Every year governments spend billions of dollars on weapons and wars, yet close to a billion people suffer from hunger and chronic malnutrition and two billion endure serious nutritional deficiencies.  We also recognize the deep truth of cause and effect.  The natural world – the acorn and the oak – and the human history of social justice movements teach us that from small causes large effects can flow.  When we walk to feed the hungry, we do not merely place one foot in front of another.  Rather, we manifest the whole basic human spirit to help one another. In joining together, we bring about great change.

We invite you to join any of the upcoming Walks to Feed the Hungry. Coming together in the spirit of good will and compassion to help others who really need it brings so much joy. And every dollar raised will make a real difference, enabling children to eat, girls to go to school, farmers to grow more crops, and women to support their families through dignified work.

To learn where this year’s walks are taking place, please visit the Walks to End Hunger World Food Day Page at http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/hunger_walk. You can also register to walk at http://www.firstgiving.com/BuddhistGlobalRelief

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Sustain the Planet, Sustain Life!
By Lily Michelson

September 30, 2013 12:51 PM

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If you buy cheese from a local farmers’ market, you can easily start a conversation with the farmer and learn a lot about the product:  the type of animal that produced it,  the feed this animal consumed, how and where the animal was raised, and even about the employees who helped to produce it. After your conversation, you have a general idea about how your local cheese went from the farm to your plate. More importantly, you will have realized that even an everyday product like cheese is not a simple commodity;  its production is complex, time-consuming, and involves skilled knowledge and cooperation of numerous players who all work to bring the food to the table.

Now, consider the cheese selection at the chain supermarket. There are numerous varieties and each one is well-stocked by every store. Producing this amount of cheese becomes a much more complicated process, as each one of the factors faced by your small farmer must be multiplied to meet the demands of a global market. In addition, a cheese company that distributes globally must standardize its product while using milk from different farmers, processing the product in different factories, and by relying on different modes of transportation to distribute.

The complexities of a global food system extend, of course, beyond cheese. When we eat any food, we are depending on a multitude of factors that are inextricably linked: the environment, the people involved, the current government policy, and the economic environment that produces the food.  To meet the nutritional needs of ourselves and to ensure the success of future generations, we must have a healthy food system. A healthy food system is a sustainable food system.

How can we create more sustainable food systems?

On an individual level, we can choose to eat more sustainable diets and reduce our food waste. On a production level, we can employ smart agricultural practices that are altogether more efficient and have minimal environmental impact: they maximize production with smart use of land, water, fertilizer, labor, and resources. If we want a healthy planet, we also want a sustainable food system. 

To learn more, check out this week’s PERSPECTIVES essay series on sustainability! Contributors from Slow Food USA, EndingHunger, Oxfam, Food First, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), and WhyHunger will each provide their unique perspective on creating a more sustainable food system. These topics promise to be thought-provoking and engaging, so make sure to check in throughout the week!

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#Hungerto Support: Social Safety Nets and Hunger Relief
By Lily Michelson

September 27, 2013 11:46 AM

World hunger is a solvable problem, but it will not be solved without teamwork and collaboration. The 870 million individuals who are fighting hunger, the individuals who relinquish their battle every 3.6 seconds, rely on each one of us to make a difference. Remember, even small things make great changes.

We need social safety nets to serve as foundations for implementing change. Social safety nets are extensive and varied support systems, and can be divided into four major aid groups: indirect transfers, direct transfers, microcredit, and community-centered support systems.  Indirect transfers are government programs that assist individuals without giving them direct aid. Examples of indirect transfers include job training, minimum wage laws, price controls, and any public sector work. In contrast, direct transfers are government programs that provide the needy with direct food or financial aid. In the United States, a good example of a direct transfer program is FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides immediate relief to disaster-stricken areas. Microcredit support systems provide budding entrepreneurs who are unqualified for traditional bank loans with smaller, low-interest loans so they can implement their business and kick-start the local economy. Finally, community-centered support systems include charities, non-governmental organizations, and local service groups. Community-centered support systems are especially effective in areas that have limited public funding.

Today’s PERSPECTIVES essays discuss the importance of social safety nets in the fight against hunger. The contributors are diverse, and posit different positions on the most effective support systems for fighting hunger. Jeremy Everett, Director of the Texas Hunger Initiative, argues for the continued funding of indirect social support systems in the United States.  On the importance of community-centered safety nets in hunger-prone communities, Fabretto Children’s Foundation highlights the multipurpose role of school gardening programs in Nicaragua, MANA Nutrition explains the importance of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), and Stop Hunger Now describes the role of meal packaging to assist school feeding programs.

#Hungerto get involved?

Go to ACT!

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Healthy Food: It's Not a Lifestyle, It's Life.
By Lily Michelson

September 25, 2013 4:32 PM

 

Have you ever walked into your local grocery store and paused for just a moment before beginning your shopping? The sight is really quite spectacular. In just one contained location, you have, on average, access to 38,000 distinct products. With all of those options, how can you possibly make a decision? Moreover, how can you be sure that your decision is the right one?

Making smart food choices is more than just a lifestyle: it’s necessary for life! We need a well-rounded and nutritious diet to perform basic life activities, develop to our physical and cognitive capacities, and maximize our economic potential. Because our bodies demand essential nutrients, if we fail to receive them we are left vulnerable to sickness, disease, and even death.   Any form of malnutrition (like under-nutrition, micro-nutrient deficiency, or obesity) therefore has dangerous and significant costs to ourselves, our health care systems, and our food systems.

Though we have made  progress in addressing malnourishment, we still have a long way to go. FAO’s annual report of the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) estimates that 12.5% of the world’s population is undernourished, 2 billion individuals are micro-nutrient deficient, and 1.4 billion individuals are overweight. With so many people malnourished, we need a healthy, sustainable food system that can improve diet and nutritional outcomes through a food-based approach.

That’s our perspective. What’s yours?

Today’s PERSPECTIVES essays discuss human nutrition in the context of food education and overall health. Featured journalist and author Jeannie Marshall focuses on the importance of eating real food to fuel our bodies. Dr. Antonia Demas of the Food Studies Institute expands upon the importance of developing food literacy through food education in schools. Finally, the 1,000 Days partnership highlights the impact that can be made by improving nutrition during the most critical period of a person’s development: the pre-natal stages through the second birthday.

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Trashing Food Waste: What’s Your Perspective?
By Lily Michelson

September 24, 2013 9:27 AM

Did last week’s blog post challenge your perspective on food waste? If you still #hungerto learn more, today’s PERSPECTIVES essays will highlight some of the ways current activists and organizations are reducing both food loss and food waste to create a healthier, more sustainable food system. From food packaging to food banking, and individual action to mobile action, our featured essays showcase the complexities of food losses and the diverse actions that can help solve the problem.

But first, let’s clarify one crucial distinction: what do we mean when we talk about food loss versus food waste? When we use the term food loss we are referring to a decrease in edible mass that occurs throughout a given part of the supply chain. Food loss can occur at the production, post-harvest, and processing levels. Conversely, food waste occurs at the very end of the supply chain and is based on the actions of a consumer or retailer. Food waste refers to the leftover food scraps you discard in the kitchen garbage, or the large supermarket dumpster that contains all of the food that customers didn’t buy.

This week in PERSPECTIVES

To kick off the series, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) provides some jarring facts about food loss and food waste here. The ONE campaign, an advocacy organization that fights global poverty, substantiates these statistics with a submission on post-harvest losses in the supply chain. If you’re curious about your role as a consumer in improving the supply chain, make sure to read the article here. Finally, all readers should consult The Global FoodBanking Network’s essay to learn more about the integral position food banks occupy in reducing overall food losses.

To complement our essays with a visual aide, check out the video below and learn about some steps you can take to reduce your food footprint.

#Hungerto inspire action in others?

The Think.Eat.Save, a project of the Save Food Initiative, provides a great resources for spreading food waste awareness. Along with a handy ten-step guide  that encourages individual action, Think.Eat.Save offers a multi-lingual campaign pack to help increase awareness via social media and grassroots activism.

In the spirit of #WFD2013, we encourage all readers to register an event and share a zero-waste meal among friends and family.

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#Hungerto Stop Food Waste
By Lily Michelson

September 18, 2013 4:48 PM

Do you know what 1.3 billion tonnes (2.9 trillion pounds) of food looks like?

Can you imagine 1.4 billion hectares (3.5 billion acres) of land?

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We can’t either, and that’s a problem.

In a world of ever-increasing access to information, we encounter large-number data and figures nearly every day. It’s no wonder that, when faced with enormous statistics, we find it difficult to conceptualize the information.

Unfortunately, the numbers given above are not just abstract figures. According to a report released by the FAO last week,  1.3 billion tonnes of food produced for human consumption is wasted each year. This means that 1.4 billion hectares of land annually, about 28% of the world’s arable land, produces edible food that is never consumed!

Want to Learn More?

To give light on some of these numbers and to promote Food Waste Awareness Week (September 15-21, 2013), Food Tank is hosting a NYC Food Waste Free Conference. This special event will feature prominent speakers in the food movement, including Tristram Stuart of Feeding the 5000; Nick Nutell, the Director of the Division of Communications and Public Information  for the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP); Elisa Golan, the Director for Sustainable Development of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and many more! Though tickets to the event have sold out, the event will be livestreamed on the Food Tank homepage and Facebook page. All interested attendees are encouraged to tune in on September 19 at 6:00PM EST to witness this incredible event!

If you wish to continue the momentum after Thursday night’s event and find yourself in the NYC metropolitan area on September 20, consider dancing your way over to the Feeding the 5000 Disco Soup Launch Party! This event promises to be just as unique as impactful: participants will cut, chop, and prepare fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be wasted in order to prepare free meals.  The event is the first to be hosted in North America and represents an innovative platform for raising food waste awareness through community gathering. 

If you are unable to attend these events and still #hungerto learn more, check back in next week when the PERSPECTIVES series will feature essays about food waste and food losses!

 

 

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World Food Day 2013: Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition
By Lily Michelson

September 17, 2013 5:59 PM

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The 2013 World Food Day Campaign has officially begun.  Have a look around the website at all of the new resources and events to get you inspired to take action this October 16th.  Make  sure to register your events and to sign up (at the top of the page) in order to stay informed on all of the new developments as this campaign continues to grow.  

 

Introducing the PERSPECTIVES Series

 

Do you #hungerto learn more about food waste?

Are you curious about sustainable agriculture solutions?

Have you ever wondered if your individual actions can make a difference in solving world hunger?

If you answered affirmatively to any of the above questions, or even if you’re just slightly intrigued, then be sure to check out the new PERSPECTIVES essay series!

As part of the campaign for World Food Day 2013, World Food Day USA is launching a written series featuring prominent North American thought-leaders weighing in on this year’s theme: Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition. The series will highlight selections of essays that cover a particular topic relating to this theme. From food security to food waste, social safety nets to youth engagement, and corporate collaboration to nutrition, the PERSPECTIVES series promises to enlighten and engage readers on the complex and multi-faceted issues facing sustainable food systems.

So, if you strive to make a difference, want to start a conversation, and seek to spread awareness about #WFD2013, then be sure to stay updated on this thought-provoking series. All readers are encouraged to comment, tweet, “like” and share this series amongst friends, social networks, and family members

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Culinary crusaders
By Olivia Evans

August 25, 2013 11:15 AM

What’s the secret ingredient to becoming a world-renowned chef? These five culinary crusaders show that becoming a great chef takes a lot more than solid cooking skills.  Each of them is working towards a higher cause—be it sustainable eating or hunger eradication—revolutionizing the way we look at food and how we are going to feed the world of our future.

Batali

Mario Batali, known worldwide for his Italian cooking on the Food Network, is an avid supporter of ending hunger and supporting food banks in the United States. In April, Batali decided to take on the food stamp challenge for a week in protest of SNAP cuts made by Congress—which present a menacing threat to the nearly 46 million Americans that live off the program each year. According to Batali, “It’s an interesting conversation every day to think about what hunger is, what food is, what nutrition is – in a way that really makes us think about it on a more personal level.”

Bayless

Most know Rick Bayless as the winner of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, reigning champion over a French and Italian cook with his zesty Mexican cuisine. Based in Chicago, Rick founded the Frontera Farmers Foundation in 2003 to support small, local Midwestern farms. The Foundation has awarded $1.2 million to over 70 different sustainable farms since.

Besh Sanchez

John Besh and Aarón Sánchez, two TV personalities and James Beard Award-winning chefs, recently toured Haiti on behalf of Oxfam’s GROW program.  The chefs checked out urban gardens in Port-au-Prince, explored new rice growing techniques in the countryside, and cooked local dishes alongside Haitian chefs, farmers and culinary students. Now back in the States, the duo – who also happen to be best friends – plan on raising awareness about the state of Haiti’s food insecurity and the need for more support.  

Andres 

José Andrés, the Spanish chef often credited for introducing small tapas plates to the States, leads a number of initiatives to help develop smart solutions to hunger and poverty. Like Besh and Sánchez, his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, also went to Haiti - but with a different twist. On his trip he brought 14 solar-powered kitchens to help make the path to food security in the country more environmentally sustainable and affordable. This year, he will speaking at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Conference.

Oliver 

Jamie Oliver, founder of the eponymous Jamie Oliver Foundation, encourages sustainable eating in a variety ways.  The Foundation supports wholesome school lunch programs, healthy consumption in family kitchens, and cutting down on food waste. “By teaching people of all ages basic cooking classes and giving them basic nutritional advice,” says Jamie, “we can help them help themselves achieve a healthier future.” 

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A crowd-sourced vision for the future of agriculture
By Olivia Evans

August 07, 2013 3:14 PM

What if all farmers could rely on effective systems to manage risk?

What if all food was produced without fossil fuels?

What if women owned the land they tilled and the food they produced?

What if farmers’ knowledge was the driver of innovations and investments?

To some, asking such “what if” questions is naïve and idealistic. People can become so jaded when faced with the harsh realities of hunger, climate change, and other global struggles that they lose sight of their ultimate goals and forget the power of their own imaginations. But to Oxfam, such high idealism is necessary in a world with high demands. To drive this point home, Gina Castillo, Agriculture Program Officer at Oxfam America, quoted Albert Einstein:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein

In light of the importance of imagination, Oxfam asked world experts to envision what the best future of agriculture would look like—keeping the aforementioned guiding questions in mind. 

Expert contributors included FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva, IFPRI Director-General Shengenn Fan, IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze, Roger Thurow, Anna Lappé, and other big names. Perhaps the most interesting perspectives, however, came from local activists that don’t make the headlines as often. Read Bangladeshi activist Rokeya Kabir’s fiery comments arguing that women’s rights are critical to food security, and Nigerian Susan Godwin’s grassroots take on what it’s actually like to be a female farmer.  

Last December, 23 essays from these contributors were posted each day for two weeks in an online discussion blog. Just recently, Oxfam compiled these essays into one final report.  The organization found that while experts hotly debated on some issues, they also resoundingly agreed on others. The sweeping conclusion was that a more sustainable, equitable, and inclusive agriculture system is indeed possible. Not surprisingly, the essays also revealed  general agreement that farmers are incredibly adaptive and creative—ultimately holding much greater insight into these agricultural matters than we “experts” do.  

Gain insight into what both farmers and experts think in Oxfam’s report. And stay tuned for a similar series to be released on the World Food Day website this September, where thought leaders will be asked: What would a sustainable food system look like?

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FoodHub: The Craigslist of local food
By Olivia Evans

July 23, 2013 11:45 AM

               Foodhub

When you’re looking for an item on Craigslist, you post an ad in the “Wanted” section. When you’re trying to sell an item, you put up an “Available” post. FoodHub, the latest and greatest in local eating, works just like this.

FoodHub is an online marketplace that makes it simple for regional food buyers and sellers to connect. Launched in 2010 by Ecotrust and FoodEx, the two companies realized that getting food from farm to fork is actually a lot harder than it seems. There are so many food vendors out there—farmers, ranchers, fisherman, dairies, brewers, wineries—ready to sell their fresh, local product. And there are just as many eager buyers—be they grocers, restaurants, school cafeterias, hospitals, or even hotels. The problem is, often times these vendors and buyers aren’t able to find each other. 

Let’s say you’re  a farmer trying to sell a case of peaches. In the old days, you used to have to make a series of cold calls until you found a buyer. That could take up to 10 hours. Now, with FoodHub, the whole process takes about 10 seconds. By simply searching by the item you are trying to sell and hitting “enter”, FoodHub will return a list of every single member in their database who wants peaches.

It comes as no surprise, then, that FoodHub is starting to gain widespread popularity. Just three years after its founding, and the marketplace has developed over 4,500 members from California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska. Rachel Reister of Reister Farms Lamb, one of FoodHub’s first clients, reported remarkable success after using its services:

“FoodHub is a giant rolodex. When we started looking for customers on the site we put in how many miles we wanted to travel and what buyers we were looking for and got a huge list of prospects...The first restaurant we called responded.”

We hear a lot of stories about people like Rachel and the overall benefits of eating local food.  Generally speaking, eating nearby-grown food is more sustainable for the environment, has higher nutritional value, and boosts the local economy. But getting that food to your plate can be quite difficult. FoodHub takes the complications out of this process, allowing producers and buyers to simply come together. 

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Any age'll do - This 14-year-old girl wants to feed the world, and just may
By Olivia Evans

July 12, 2013 4:00 PM

When Katie Stagliano grew her first cabbage at age 9, she never expected that cabbage would one day lead her to become the youngest-ever winner of the Clinton Global Citizen award.

It all started when Katie was in third grade. Her class took part in a Bonnie Plants program, where each student received one cabbage seed to grow at home. After a season of carefully tending to her seedling, eventually it grew to be a 40 pound cabbage. At first, Katie wasn’t quite sure what one did with a 40 pound cabbage. But then, the thought occurred to her, why not donate it to a soup kitchen? From there, something bigger than Katie could have ever imagined sprouted.

The cabbage went on to feed over 275 hungry people. Inspired, Katie decided to grow more vegetables in her backyard. Soon, Katie’s garden began to overflow with plants. She was going to need more space. So, her school, Pinewood Prep, helped her start a vegetable garden the size of a football field.

After some time watering, fertilizing, and pulling weeds from the garden, Katie realized that her garden could grow into something even bigger than it already was. So, like any average 13-year-old would do, Katie started her own 501(c)3 non-profit—Katie’s Krops—to feed the hungry and grow community gardens in all 50 states.

Today, Katie’s Krops has managed to implement 60 gardens in 26 states. Last year, 24 grants were given to kids around the country so that they could start up their own gardens too. These numbers are impressive. But it was the testimonials, ultimately, that really touched us:

Kaelin, age 15, Indiana—"I live in a very small community of only 900 people. There are many underemployed, unemployed and elderly persons in our community. There are no grocery stores, no gas stations and no retail stores in the community. To get to the nearest grocery that sells fresh vegetables is more than a 40 minute round trip. This would be one of the best things that ever happened here. To be able to feed people in need fresh vegetables without making them feel 'needy' will fill their stomachs and warm their hearts.”

As if supporting girls like Kaelin wasn’t already a feat, Katie’s Krops does even more than start community gardens. Dinners to feed the hungry are hosted every month. Katie’s Krops kale and collard greens are sold in grocery stores to help raise money for good causes. There is even a Katie’s Krops summer camp.

Think you’d like to start your own community garden? Apply for a Katie’s Krops grant next year. Want to learn more about Katie’s Krops? Check out her website, and see Katie’s latest secrets on gardening tips and recipes for kids.

In the words of Katie herself: “It doesn’t matter if you’re 9 or 99. Age is just a number.”

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Obama highlights climate change’s impact on food security
By Olivia Evans

June 28, 2013 12:30 PM

The interconnections between climate change and global food security have long been known. But on Tuesday at Georgetown University, Obama delivered a speech that particularly underscored those connections. In the words of the President himself:

“Farmers see crops wilted one year, washed away the next; and higher food prices get passed on to you, the American consumer...So the question is not whether we need to act. The overwhelming judgement of science has put all that to rest...the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late.”

Obama makes a fair point. The argument that global warming is effecting food systems has, indeed, been put to rest. That’s because the evidence is overwhelming: Gradual changes in temperature, precipitation and extreme weather events have already resulted in crop failures, livestock deaths and other asset losses.

Between 1981 and 2002, maize, wheat and other major crops experienced  yield reductions of 40 megatons per year due to climate-associated factors. At temperatures higher than 30 degrees Celsius, most livestock species reduce their feed intake and therefore reproductive capacity by 3 to 5 percent for each degree of temperature rise. Even fish, which of all species we might think would benefit from rising sea levels, have had volatile sea currents flush and clean their habitats in 75 percent of the world’s major fishing grounds.

So the evidence is there. Now it’s time we mobilize, and mobilize quickly. Lester Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute and author of Full Planet, Empty Plates, noted: “We should be acting to cut carbon emissions, fast. And by fast I don’t mean 80% by 2050, the game will be long over before then. I mean 80% by 2020.”

80 percent by 2020 may seem like a long shot. But that is what the scale of the challenge demands. Great strides have already been made towards mitigating climate change and adapting our food system in a more sustainable way. Various actors, including FAO Climate Change and other UN agencies, NGOs, and private companies at the Rio+20 Summit last year, are out there providing feasible solutions every day.

One among this sea of actors is CGIAR, who recently produced the video How to feed the world in 2050: actions in a changing climate. Watch it, and see why Obama said that we citizens need to “stand up, speak up, and compel us to do what this moment demands”.

 

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New York's final food frontier
By Olivia Evans

June 24, 2013 4:27 PM

                

               

When it comes to food, New York City has pretty much everything going on. Michelin-rated restaurants, Central Park food carts, budding urban gardens—all that seemed to be missing was a proper food waste disposal system at the tail end.

But all of that is changing. Soon, Mayor Bloomberg will announce his plan to require the city’s 8.4 million residents to compost by 2016. Food scraps make up about 1.2 million tons, or 35% of the city’s landfill waste every year. Since special landfill delivery service to states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina costs nearly $80 a ton, a composting program could save taxpayers up to $100 million annually.

That’s big cash. And yet, a composting program would also have a positive impact on the environment and nation’s food security. Food scraps in landfills are a significant source of greenhouse gases. These scraps could be used to make natural gas and cut back on methane emissions that cause climate change. Meanwhile, a USDA report estimated that for the average 130 pounds of food per person that ends up in landfills, 49 million hungry people in the United States could be fed. All that’s needed is for our compost to be turned into dirt and fertilizer to grow new crops.

Compost veterans, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, inspired New York City’s initiative. San Francisco led the charge towards proper food waste disposal in 2009 when it made composting mandatory for every household. Since then, the city has achieved an impressive 80 percent landfill diversion rate. The Big Apple hopes to catch up, with plans to boost its diversion rate from 13 percent to 75 percent by 2030.

So, what will this mean for the average New Yorker?

Each household will receive a small brown bin which when full, can be placed onto the curb for garbage truck pick up. Apartment dwellers will empty their bins into communal collection points, similar to how they do now with recycling. Little to many realize, bins can be filled with much more than just food scraps—paper towels, garden prunings, and even cotton balls are fair game too. “It’s revolutionary for New York,” said Eric Goldstein from the Natural Resources Defense Council, “soon there’ll be very little trash left for homeowners to put in their trash cans.”

Concerns, of course, have been raised. Many New Yorkers have turned up their noses at the thought of having a bucket of pure stench oozing from the bottom of their sink. Staten Island resident, Ellen Felci (62), however, noted that with regular disposal hardly any smell came from the bin at all. The political minded have pondered whether the program will continue after Mayor Bloomberg leaves office in December. Yet front-runner Democratic candidates Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio and Sal Albanese have each expressed support and commitment to the cause.

Previously, New York had always been hesitant to implement a composting program because of the city’s density and skyscraper verticality. But now even the Big Apple is taking on the zero food waste challenge. The challenge is daunting, but also inspiring. If New York can handle it, who can’t?

 

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Think.Eat.Save: Reduce Your Foodprint!
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

June 07, 2013 5:13 PM

 

WASTE -- an informative short film on the relationship between food waste and resource waste.
A film production of SCHNITTSTELLE THURN GbR commissioned by WWF Germany and UNEP in collaboration with SIWI and FAO

 

On World Environment Day this week, the United Nations Environment Programme launched a new report to shed light on the problem of food waste around the world.  Reducing Food Loss and Waste was produced by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and draws on research from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

"Within the challenge of food are the seeds of a more cooperative and sustainable future-in short it is an issue that unites everyone today and generations to come. The menu of case studies and recommendations in this study provide national and community-led solutions that ally smart policies with traditional knowledge, modern science and common sense.” said Mr. Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director.

“Everyone-from farmers and food companies to retailers, shipping lines, packagers, hotels, restaurants and households-has a role to play, and, in doing so, can contribute to maximizing the opportunities of the Millennium Development Goals, eradicating inequalities in rich and poor countries alike and laying the foundations of a more environmentally sustainable pathway for billions of people," he added.

Think.Eat.Save: Reduce your Foodprint is not just the theme for this year’s World Environment Day, but a new movement to reduce the amount of food we waste from seed to fork. 

UNEP, together with FAO and WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), is developing a food waste prevention and reduction tool kit with industry experts, supermarkets, governments and other partners. The initiative will support governments, companies and cities to better assess their own levels of food waste, pinpoint areas in their businesses and communities where food is being needlessly wasted, and devise strategies to reduce this waste. The tool kit is expected to be available for widespread deployment before the end of 2013, and aims to underpin a transition to a less wasteful world.

This week the USDA and EPA also showed their concern for the growing food waste problem by launching the US Food Waste Challenge. "Food waste is the single largest type of waste entering our landfills -- Americans throw away up to 40 percent of their food. Addressing this issue not only helps with combating hunger and saving money, but also with combating climate change: food in landfills decomposes to create potent greenhouse gases," said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe.  As part of its contribution to the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, USDA is initiating a wide range of activities including activities to reduce waste in the school meals program, educate consumers about food waste and food storage, and develop new technologies to reduce food waste.  The goal of the U.S. Food Waste Challenge is to lead a fundamental shift in how we think about and manage food and food waste in this country. Join the challenge and tell USDA and EPA what you are doing to divert, convert or avoid food waste.

Let this World Environment Day be a beginning for you, your family, and your company to change the way we think about our food system.  Think.Eat.Save and reduce your foodprint.  Click here for some good ways to start.

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FAO urges end of malnutrition as priority
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

June 04, 2013 1:27 PM

FAO_-_24752_8901_-_Riccardo_Gangale.jpgDenouncing the huge social and economic costs of malnutrition, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today called for resolute efforts to eradicate malnutrition as well as hunger from around the world.

In a recorded statement marking the launch of FAO's flagship annual publication The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA), Graziano da Silva said that although the world has registered some progress on hunger, one form of malnutrition, there was still "a long way ahead".

"FAO's message is that we must strive for nothing less than the eradication of hunger and malnutrition", he declared.

The report Food systems for better nutrition notes that although some 870 million people were still hungry in the world in 2010-2012, this is just a fraction of the billions of people whose health, wellbeing and lives are blighted by malnutrition.

To combat malnutrition, SOFA makes the case that healthy diets and good nutrition must start with food and agriculture. The way we grow, raise, process, transport and distribute food influences what we eat, the report says, noting that improved food systems can make food more affordable, diverse and nutritious.

Specific recommendations for action include:

• Use appropriate agricultural policies, investment and research to increase productivity, not only of staple grains like maize, rice and wheat, but also of legumes, meat, milk, vegetables and fruit, which are all rich in nutrients.

• Cut food losses and waste, which currently amount to one third of the food produced for human consumption every year. That could help make food more available and affordable as well as reduce pressure on land and other resources.

• Improve the nutritional performance of supply chains, enhancing the availability and accessibility of a wide diversity of foods. Properly organized food systems are key to more diversified and healthy diets.

• Help consumers make good dietary choices for better nutrition through education, information and other actions.

• Improve the nutritional quality of foods through fortification and reformulation.

• Make food systems more responsive to the needs of mothers and young children. Malnutrition during the critical ‘first 1000 days' from conception can cause lasting damage to women's health and life-long physical and cognitive impairment in children.

Read the full report or executive summary here.

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Message from President Barack Obama on World Food Day
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

October 16, 2012 6:04 PM

 

President Barack Obama shared these remarks to mark today, World Food Day 2012.

http://www.feedthefuture.gov/article/message-president-barack-obama-world-food-day

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World Food Day: Top Chef's Hugh Acheson, a Girl Named Molly... and You
By Kristi York Wooten, Huffington Post

October 16, 2012 5:06 PM

Posted on Huffington Post on October 16, 2012.

World Food Day was established in 1980 to bring public awareness to global hunger and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against malnutrition and poverty. Today, World Food Day is commemorated around the world in various ways, including here in the U.S. at the World Food Prize ceremony in Iowa, which each year honors significant contributions in agriculture.

But you don't have to be a scientist, farmer, or charity CEO to make a difference in food security, sustainability and hunger reduction. Below are three examples of ways you can make a difference on October 16, World Food Day:  Full Article

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Celebrate World Food Day and Help End World Hunger
By Charles W. Elliott, Buddhist Global Relief

October 16, 2012 7:57 AM

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Agricultural Cooperatives: Key to Feeding the World
By Brendan Rice and Thaelon Tremain

October 15, 2012 6:08 PM

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This year’s World Food Day theme is “Agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world.” The official World Food Day theme, announced each spring by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), gives focus to World Food Day observances and raises awareness and understanding of approaches to ending hunger.

Cooperatives are an important piece of achieving food security for all. 70 percent of those who face hunger live in rural areas where agriculture serves as the economic mainstay. Smallholder farmers are central to addressing hunger, yet many face barriers such as a lack of infrastructure, outdated farming practices, and a lack of access to financial services.  Cooperatives improve farmers’ agricultural productivity and equip them with access to marketing, savings, credit, insurance, and technology. Farmer cooperatives serve both to connect farmers to markets and to increase food production.

Supporting smallholder farmers enhances global food security and reduces poverty. Cooperatives link smallholder farmers to markets by aggregating their product, facilitating the adoption of new technologies and inputs, encouraging greater productivity and crop diversification, and providing a platform for smallholder producers in decisions that affect their livelihoods.

It is estimated that 1 billion individuals are members of cooperatives worldwide, generating more than 100 million jobs around the world. In agriculture, forestry, fishing and livestock keeping, members participate in production, profit-sharing, cost-saving, risk-sharing and income-generating activities, which lead to better bargaining power for members as buyers and sellers in the marketplace.

One example based in California, Pachamama Coffee Cooperative of Small-Scale Coffee Producers (“Pacha”), is a unique global cooperative that is wholly-owned and controlled by small-scale coffee farmers around the world. Comprising five member cooperatives, Pacha represents tens of thousands of families in Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Ethiopia. Following organic growing principles, the farmers are also concerned with environmental sustainability and the impact of coffee production on the health of surrounding ecosystems.  Member cooperatives are also involved in restoration, activities to prevent pollution of waterways and wildlife conservation.  

The family farmers attribute their success to the ownership structure of the cooperative business model, which enables them to invest in more value-added activities, such as marketing a "farmer-owned" brand in the USA and setting the price of their own premium coffees.  By pooling the resources of thousands of small farmers and linking them directly to consumer markets, Pachamama is able to pay farmers more for their crop while providing a valuable marketing platform that farmers own and control.

Good things happen when people believe in themselves and get organized. On World Food Day 2012, let us resolve to give cooperatives a helping hand, enabling them to overcome constraints and to play their full role in the drive to end hunger and poverty. This World Food Day, learn more about the importance of agricultural cooperatives by visiting FAO’s World Food Day site or the U.N.’s International year of the Cooperative page. More in depth information can be found in FAO’s issue brief on agricultural cooperatives.

 

Special thanks to Thaelon Tremain, President of Pachamama Coffee Cooperative and Brendan Rice, World Food Day Intern at the Food and Agriculture Organization who collaborated on this article. This piece is cross-posted on the Landscape for People, Food and Nature Initiative Blog.

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The Promise of Agroecology
By Andrew Kang Bartlett, Associate for National Hunger Concerns, Presbyterian Hunger Program

October 15, 2012 11:21 AM

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World Food Day 2012

ACTIVITIES & EVENTS
From Presbyterian Hunger Program’s Joining Hands Program, US Food Sovereignty Alliance,  and Other Events Related to World Food Day
Go to the US Food Sovereignty Alliance Food Week of Action page

or

Download a PDF of the Activities to read, print or share via email

 

Christian alliance calls for investment in agroecology to end hunger and build resilient communities

The Presbyterian Church USA partners with the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA), which just released a paper calling for increased investment in sustainable agricultural practices that support small-scale farmers and local communities, and also benefit the environment.

“Nourishing the World: Scaling up Agroecology” presents numerous examples of the successful use of agroecological methods in increasing yields for farmers using locally-available natural resources while lowering or eliminating farmers’ reliance on costly and polluting chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Global figures on hunger released today by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme emphasize the urgency of investing in effective policies and practices to feed the world. Nearly 870 million people, or 1 in 8, were suffering chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. According to the report, global progress in reducing hunger has levelled off since 2007-2008, with the number of hungry people rising in Africa and developed regions. More than 1 in 4 people in Africa are chronically hungry.

“Tackling hunger is not in the first instance about producing more food,” says Christine Campeau, EAA’s Food Campaign Coordinator. “It is about investing responsibly in sustainable agricultural practices and changing wasteful consumer habits that will benefit people, communities and the environment now and in the long-term.”

The paper sets out an alternative path to the one currently being promoted by some governmental and private sector initiatives, which is to expand the industrial “green revolution” style of agriculture. While this type of agriculture has certainly increased food production in recent decades, it has also “destabilized the natural resource base and drives much of the loss of biodiversity” as well as contributing - directly and indirectly - to the 30% of total global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) currently generated by the agricultural sector.

“In developed countries, where industrial-scale monocropping is the prevailing agricultural model, it is easy to forget that the majority of the world’s food is produced by smallholder farmers,” states Peter Prove, EAA Executive Director. “The answer to hunger and food insecurity is not turning more of these small farms into huge plantations, which damage both local communities and the environment, but investing in the knowledge-sharing, networking and sustainable practices that have proven to increase yields, protect the natural environment, empower communities, and enhance resilience in the face of a changing climate.”

“It’s all about Christian stewardship of God’s creation, and responding to the needs of people and communities rather than corporations”, stressed Nigussu Legesse, Programme Executive for Africa of World Council of Churches and member of the EAA’s Food Strategy Group.
The paper has been released in advanced of the meeting of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome, 15-20 October. Civil society representatives who participate in the CFS as part of a Civil Society Mechanism are calling on CFS members to act immediately to help small-scale food producers to adapt to climate change and prevent further dangerous climate change-related impacts on food security. In this context, the EAA is calling for:

* Much greater investment in research on agroecological food production methods, building on traditional knowledge and existing best practice, for the purpose of enhancing smallholder-based, low-emission, high-productivity agriculture in the context of climate change.

* Increased support for the establishment and expansion of farmer-to-farmer networks at local levels throughout the developing world, for the sharing of information and best practices in agroecological food production.

* Enabling policy environments at national and international levels, recognizing the central role of smallholder farmers in global food security and supporting smallholder-based agroecological food production, and agroecological extension programs at national and local levels.

* Increased support for the establishment and expansion of smallholder farmers’ collectives, to improve market opportunities and the collective capacities of smallholder farmers and their communities.

* More effective regulation and management of the negative impacts of corporate influence of agricultural policy and practice.

* More focused and effective attention to reducing food waste throughout the food supply chain.

“Agroecology will be necessary, if we are to find a viable path through the intertwined challenges of future food security, and climate change mitigation and adaptation,” the paper states in its conclusion. “In the context of climate change, business as usual in the field of food production is not an option. Agroecology offers the prospect of sustainable food production to meet the needs of a still growing global population, while at the same time reducing the GHG emissions from the agricultural sector, building resilience to already unavoidable climate change, protecting biodiversity, and sustaining communities and rural livelihoods.”

Nourishing the World: Scaling Up Agorecology is available at: http://tinyurl.com/EAAagroecology2012

 

Andrew Kang Bartlett is Associate for National Hunger Concerns for the Presbyterian Hunger Program.

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Nutrition Matters
By Adrianna Logalbo, Future Fortified campaign

October 12, 2012 11:49 AM

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Next Tuesday is World Food Day – an opportunity once a year (every October 16) to focus on one of the most persistent global challenges – hunger. In a world of mega supermarkets and fast food, there are still nearly one billion people who go to sleep hungry every night. As World Food Day USA states, this “is the greatest atrocity of our time.”

Historically our collective focus has been making sure there is enough food to feed the world, which continues as we prepare for a reality of more than 9 billion people by 2050. Yet what is often overlooked when we talk about hunger is the issue of nutrition.

Equally important to the quantity of our food is the quality of our food, the impact of which is far more hidden than the impact of hunger.  

Today more than two billion people are chronically malnourished – lacking the very basic but essential nutrients necessary for their health and wellbeing.  

And nearly 200 million children are stunted – meaning they are physically short for their age – due poor nutrition early in life, which impacts their health, development and long term productivity.

This is the hidden side of hunger.

How do you expose something that is hidden?

It’s true that we can often mobilize support around global issues (and local ones for that matter) when there is an urgent, immediate need. And hunger is truly urgent.

But nutrition does not seem to have the same level of urgency. It remains hidden as the underlying cause of 1 in 3 childhood deaths each year.

Yet every day malnourished women are at risk of dying during child birth. Every day children fall ill to preventable diseases like pneumonia because they don’t have healthy, strong immune systems. Every day children’s learning potential is limited because they lack the essential nutrients for good brain development.

The everyday nature of nutrition is precisely what makes it so urgent. Nutrition matters and it matters every day. Perhaps every day should be treated as World Food Day, because food and nutrition matter every single day for every single one of us.

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Building food security in Texas on common ground.
By Jeremy Everett, Director, Texas Hunger Initiative

October 11, 2012 4:08 PM

The dream of the Texas Hunger Initiative began with the reality of a great need and a great strength in our state and in our country. We know that hunger exists in our state and the larger nation. More than 1 in 4 Texas children experience food insecurity, ranking Texas with the 5th highest percentage in the nation. Children and their families experience food insecurity right around us—even more than we may realize. Many children come to school without having eaten over the weekend, single mothers go without eating so that their children are fed, and still others make difficult choices between rent, electricity, and food each month.


However, in connection with this great need, is a great strength in our state and our nation; hunger is a unique problem because it is an arena where we typically find much common ground among multiple sectors in our society. Armored with the belief that hunger is both solvable and preventable, the Texas Hunger Initiative recognizes the capacity in our state that currently exists to build food security—this exists on all levels of government, including federal, state, and local. Capacity also exists through the nongovernment sector, including nonprofits, faith-based organizations, churches, and so on.


The work of the Texas Hunger Initiative seeks to reconcile this great need and this great capacity in our state. The collaborative, capacity-building efforts of the Texas Hunger Initiative emphasize the dual need to organize policy makers, as well as to organize local communities. Our work began by partnering with the USDA to promote creative, comprehensive ways to increase food security through federal program access for all Texans. This initial trust-building among policy-makers on the federal and state levels catalyzes the efficiency of the overarching system that impacts healthy food access on local levels.


In addition to organizing on the policy level, organizing local communities began with the need to eliminate barriers to access healthy food. Food Planning Associations are being organized in communities across the state, and they are bringing together diverse community members to one table and assessing the needs and assets within the community. These local associations seek to address the gaps, reduce duplication of services, and work with members of various organizations, schools, churches, social service agencies, as well as local officials.


Our dual focus on organizing at the policy and local level has led to exciting change and expansion of collaborative efforts throughout the state. As the Texas Hunger Initiative grows in internal and external capacity, movement toward food security is being realized through expanding partnerships. The Texas Hunger Initiative is expanding geographically with new offices in communities that will lead to a permanent presence in 12 communities across the state. We are excited to be expanding our focus on SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), Summer Meals, and Breakfast in the Classroom.


The story of the Texas Hunger Initiative is still unfolding. We are still in process; we are still researching, developing, and learning. As director of the Texas Hunger Initiative, I have found that building trust in communities—all forms of communities, including geographic, political, and interest—is essential in moving forward. It is truly the cornerstone of our work and the basis of all our organizing and collaborative strategies.


As part of World Food Day, we are reminded of globalization and the interconnectedness of our world. We are reminded of our neighbors overseas who experience high food insecurity and how the economic and political decisions we make in our state and our nation affect our neighboring countries, and vice versa. We are therefore aware of the importance of communication, relationships, and collaboration across all sectors. The interconnectedness of our communities and the concepts of mutuality and reciprocity among all members of a community constitute the moral underpinnings of the Texas Hunger Initiative; we need the strengths, assets, and efforts of all people, all institutions, all organizations, recognizing we are all a part of the solution, to build food security in our state, our nation, and world.

Jeremy Everett is Director of the Texas Hunger Initiative at Baylor University.

 


This World Food Day join your local hunger free coalition to build food security in your community.  


Attend the Southwest Regional Hunger Summit “Together at the Table”, October 17-18, 2012 at Baylor University.  The Hunger Summit will be an opportunity for leaders and practitioners from across the Southwest United States to share their knowledge and expertise about food insecurity.



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Food Sovereignty Prize Today in NYC or Listen Live at 7pm Eastern, #FoodSovPrize
By Siena Chrisman, WhyHunger

October 10, 2012 5:03 PM

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Hunger is not a matter of production, but a matter of justice and democracy. In celebration of those grassroots activists working for a more democratic food system, the fourth annual Food Sovereignty Prize, to be held in New York City this Wednesday, October 10, champions the right of people to determine their own food and agriculture policies!


As an alternative to the World Food Prize, the Food Sovereignty Prize honors innovative organizations around the world that are fighting for the right to food for all and dignity for those who put food on our plates. The ceremony will highlight the work of the Korean Women’s Peasant Association, as well as the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement of Sri Lanka, the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguan Region in Honduras and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers from the United States.


Join us in honoring the 2012 Food Sovereignty Prize honorees this Wednesday, October 10, 7-9p.m. at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York. The ceremony will also include UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter, and a special musical performance by Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman. WhyHunger is proud to host the event, co-sponsored by the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance, the Small Planet Fund and the Lawson ValentineFoundation.


Tickets are free and open to the public! Reservations must be made at www.foodsovereigntyprize.org.

Can’t attend? Watch the live stream at www.foodsovereigntyprize.org (on October 10, 7-9 PM Eastern) and join the conversation on Twitter at #FoodSovPrize.

 

Siena Chrisman is Programs Communications Manager at WhyHunger.

***Originally posted on the WhyHunger blog.***

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Why care about hunger?
By Aubrey Sullivan

October 10, 2012 2:12 PM

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Why? One of the most important lessons I have learned in my short twenty years is that I do not ask this question enough. Fear of asking a dumb question kept me quiet during my childhood, and as I got older I hoped my silence would fool others into thinking I already had all the answers. It turns out that the joke was on me. I spent most of my life making assumptions about the way the world is and why the people in the world are the way they are. For the most part, I assumed people were fat because they were gluttons; people were uneducated because they didn’t value wisdom; and people were poor because they were lazy.

Despite my harsh assumptions, I still managed to have a desire to serve others, and so I found myself signing up for a course called Hunger: Causes, Consequences, Responses, my freshman year at Auburn. This class awakened me from my world of assumptions and brought me into a world of confusion and discomfort; a world that I have since been unable to escape because this world is our world and it is our reality.


I learned that in this world there is injustice. There are corrupt leaders and backwards politics. There are natural disasters, droughts, and famines. There is prejudice and violence. There is war and unrest. There is rape and abuse. There is human trafficking. There are homeless and displaced people. There are uncared for widows and orphans. There is disease. There is inequality. There are unequally distributed resources. There is starvation in a world of plenty.
And there are innocent people who face these horrors every day. These are people who seldom get asked what sequence of events led them to a life of hardship. I have learned that there is a concrete difference between loving to have a heart that serves and having a heart that serves with love. I learned about the detrimental effects even seemly small injustices can have in the lives of many because of our globalized world. As my head filled with knowledge, my heart filled with compassion.


All too suddenly, statistics came to life and grew into hungry people, people who were more like me than I wanted to think. I realized I could have just as easily been born into a life of suffering in which I would be just a number or statistic to people of plenty, rather than a person recognized for my humanity. For a while I let guilt consume me as I questioned what I had done to have been spared a life of suffering and live a life abundant in blessings. Finally, my question was answered by a profoundly humbling realization: I did nothing to deserve to be born into a life of ease, by grace it was given to me.


My all-consuming guilt has evolved into overwhelming thankfulness, which gives me the strength to not only to recognize the injustice in the world, but to see the faces of the people it effects.  I am now no longer merely concerned that one billion people are hungry; I want to ask one billion people why they are hungry. I have learned that the issue of hunger cannot be solved until the root of hunger is discovered.


Enrolling in that hunger studies class was my attempt to become the girl with all the answers. What I have become, is a girl who is not afraid to ask all the questions.

 

Aubrey Sullivan is a student at Auburn University.

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The State of Food Insecurity in the World
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

October 09, 2012 4:06 PM

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New FAO statistics show mixed news on hunger
By Teresa Buerkle

October 09, 2012 4:03 PM

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Almost 870 million people, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012, according to the new UN hunger report released today.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 (SOFI) presents better estimates of chronic undernourishment based on an improved methodology and data for the last two decades.

The vast majority of the hungry, 852 million, live in developing countries — around 15 percent of their population — while 16 million people are undernourished in developed countries.

The global number of hungry people declined by 132 million between 1990-92 and 2010-12, or from 18.6 percent to 12.5 percent of the world’s population, and from 23.2 percent to 14.9 percent in developing countries – putting the Millennium Development Goal target of reducing the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by half by 2015 within reach if adequate, appropriate actions are taken.

The number of hungry declined more sharply between 1990 and 2007 than previously believed. Since 2007-2008, however, global progress in reducing hunger has slowed and leveled off, according to the report.

Speaking at the launch of the report today in Rome, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva stressed that while the new numbers showed progress over the past 20 years:

“The only acceptable number for hunger is zero.”


Teresa Buerkle is Information Officer for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Washington, DC.

***Originally posted on the FAO Washington Blog.***

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Oxfam's GROW Campaign gives us 5 simple steps to address world hunger.
By Sarah Kalloch

October 08, 2012 3:09 PM

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Last week, I managed an (almost) zero mile meal. My backyard chickens provided eggs for a crustless quiche, flavored by garden-grown cherry tomatoes and basil, with freshly dug roasted potatoes on the side. The food was all local—almost. You need olive oil, salt and pepper to flavor, well, everything. And for dessert there was coffee and chocolate, wonderful foods that don’t grow so well in Massachusetts—but that do come in fair trade varieties that ensure small-scale farmers and farm workers around the world get a fair deal.

The meal was a reminder that “Eating Local” is just one part of the food justice equation. Buying fair trade is another. And there are many more. As Oxfam prepares to mark World Food Day on October 16, we’re thinking a lot about all the components of food justice. We hope you’ll do the same by holding a World Food Day meal and talking about how you can fight world hunger from your kitchen table.

Read full blog entry. 

Sarah Kalloch is Campaign Alliances Advisor for Oxfam America.

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Millions of Americans continue to struggle to feed their families.
By Brendan Rice

October 08, 2012 2:25 PM

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World Food Day is about raising awareness and initiating actions to end hunger both in the United States and abroad. Even in the United States where resources are abundant, many people go without enough to eat. Food insecure households are those that struggle to put food on the table at some point during the year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture data indicates that 14.9 percent of American households - nearly 18 million American households - suffered from food insecurity in 2011.


In the United States, infrastructure is in place so that there is constant, year-round availability of food, so why do so many go hungry in such a wealthy nation? The issue boils down to a lack access to food due to poverty, which leads to hunger. In addition, food deserts are all too common, making access to nutritious food even more difficult for large segments of the population.


Hunger in the United States disproportionately affects children. Childhood hunger hampers a young person's ability to learn, which creates a cycle of poverty. 20.6% of American families with children struggled to put food on the table in 2011. In addition to children, certain groups experience food insecurity at rates higher than those of other Americans. According to USDA data, the rate of child and household food insecurity among African-Americans and Hispanics is dramatically higher than that of whites.


Fortunately, safety nets in the form of federal programs improve the situation of hunger in the U.S. SNAP (previously known as food stamps), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the National School Lunch Program, and several other nutrition programs play an important role in addressing hunger in the United States, yet many Americans are at risk of falling through the cracks.


Federal Nutrition Programs go a long way, but it takes citizens such as you to make a difference. Nearly eight million households with children in the United States are food insecure. What can you do to make sure no child in our country goes hungry? This World Food Day, learn more. Make a commitment.

Visit U.S. Department of Agriculture’s guide for helping you to become a champion to end hunger.
    

Brendan Rice is a student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and World Food Day Intern at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

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Lackawanna College Joins the Fight Against World Hunger
By Lynn DeSanto

October 06, 2012 5:01 PM

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Bio 225 Ecology/Evolutionary Biology class has embarked on a journey of enlightening our college about world hunger and sustainable agriculture and how the two intersect to contribute to our community!

We are a small two-year college about 1,500 students nestled in northeastern Pennsylvania. Our project is combining classroom learning with giving back to the community we live in. Statistically, 1 out of 10 households in our area are living below the poverty line. The students were more than eager to participate and bring our university to the stage of fighting world hunger!

As students returned from summer break, each student was assigned an EarthBox from the EarthBox for World Food Day Garden Kit. With seeds already germinating (Valmaine lettuce) during summer hours, we began the process of assembling EarthBoxes. Then we planted, protected, and looked forward to yielding our crop of lettuce.

Back in the classroom we learned the science behind the EarthBoxes and facts about conditions affecting plants. As a class of only nine students, we became excited, educated, and engaged about how our small class could contribute to the fight against world hunger.

Students polled and voted on what charitable organization would receive our crop donation of Valmaine lettuce. We decided on United Neighborhood Center, a local agency that helps underprivileged people in our area.  They will receive our lettuce crop on October 16,2012, World Food Day.

Enthused by our commitment to growing lettuce and to fighting world hunger, we as a class have initiated the following efforts:

1. Organized a nonperishable food drive in addition to the donation of our lettuce crop.  

2. Education of other schools in the area about both world hunger and sustainable agriculture.

3. Made the decision to partner with other offices in the college to grow more food to donate next year in hopes of making this a “College-Wide” Event.

4. Committed to getting involved with local farmer’s markets to learn more about how food can be grown more efficiently. This endeavor has been amazing! It has enabled the small group of nine students to both learn and serve in the fight against world hunger.

 

Lynn B. DeSanto, MT (ASCP) MS is Assistant Professor and Science Laboratory Manager at Lackawanna College in Scranton, PA.

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How to Use the Triple “A’s” of Hunger for World Food Day
By Rick McNary

October 05, 2012 1:25 PM

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I mindlessly stirred my cold coffee with a swizzle stick.  Having just returned from refugee camps in the Horn of Africa to which thousands were fleeing, the enormous numbers of hungry people left me discouraged.  Even though we at Stop Hunger Now will engage over 150,000 volunteers to package over 25 million meals this year, it is still not enough to feed the billion that are hungry.

My wife interrupted my melancholy: “Faced with a difficult task at work, we say to each other, ‘Well, at least we’re not trying to solve global hunger.’ Yet, that’s what you do every day. No wonder you’re discouraged.”

I contemplated her observation and finally came to this conclusion:  No, I’m not trying to solve global hunger; I’m trying to inspire others to help solve it.  That was a liberating moment for me.

That is my passion: Providing others the capacity to help solve global hunger.  With that in mind, here are my Triple “A’s” of Hunger and how they can assist you for World Food Day.

Awareness

·         Share the latest stats about hunger with at least ten people.

·         Like World Food Day on Facebook to be kept informed and to receive photos, facts and actions to share with your network.

·         Speak at a club, a class, or a small group.  Educational resources: Agricultural  Cooperatives: Key to Feeding the World and multimedia resources.

Action

·         Check out this list of things to do.

·         Tell us what you are doing this World Food Day. 

·         Upload your photo and show the world why you care about hunger.

·         Find or register an event

Advocacy

·         Find someone that’s struggling and help them get assistance.

·         Do your state and federal legislators make hunger a priority? Ending hunger at home and around the world is possible. Write a letter and tell your leaders to make it a priority.

 

Rick McNary serves as Liaison for Government, Private Sector and University Relations for Stop Hunger Now.

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This World Food Day introduce your students to Molly.
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

October 03, 2012 2:50 PM

This World Food Day, the UN World Food Programme is telling the story of one amazing girl named Molly. She’s a thirteen-year-old girl growing up in the Mathare slum of Nairobi, Kenya – one of the poorest places on earth – where she receives a daily WFP meal at school. Last year, WFP gave her a small flip cam to film her daily life. They turned the videos she shared with into a powerful mixed-media film that highlights the importance of school meals in her life.  That daily meal means she’ll come to school, succeed in the classroom, and get a healthy start to life. WFP even designed a special quiz around Molly so that for every person who takes the quiz, a child like Molly will receive a meal. Thanks to this quiz, WFP hopes, with your help, to feed 50,000 kids by World Food Day.  

We know that the creativity and energy of the next generation will help us innovate to solve hunger. That’s why WFP also designed a teachers’ resources pack to help teach hunger and Molly’s story year-round. We encourage teachers to dive deeper with their students with all of the lessons Molly’s World teaches us: from economics to creative writing, health to geography.

Check out other ways to engage your local school this World Food Day.

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MOLLY’S WORLD by Rose Ogola of the UN World Food Programme                       

This is the story of Molly Achieng, a 13-year old schoolgirl from the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. We in the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) first got to know her when she agreed to take part in a filming project designed to give viewers an insight into the life of a teenager in Mathare, one of the capital’s largest shanty towns. The idea was that Molly would take a small video camera around with her and shoot whatever she liked: her classmates, her home, the place where she lives.

In Mathare where Molly lives, life is difficult. Most houses are made of old iron sheets or wooden boards on earthen floors. Sanitation is rudimentary with as many as 10 shacks sharing a bathroom and latrine. There is no running water in the houses and people have to fetch water from communal taps serving hundreds of people. Getting food is a challenge for most of the people and many children, especially girls, have to work to help put a meal on the family table.

The school Molly attends is part of the school meals programme run jointly by WFP and the Government of Kenya. Under this initiative, daily hot meals are served to some 1.3 million children in Nairobi’s slums and in the arid- and semi-arid areas of Kenya. School meals provide an important safety net for vulnerable children in food-insecure environments. For many of them, the school lunch is the only meal they can count on during the day. Typically, it will consist of beans and maize or split peas and bulgur wheat. Not only does it fill their stomach, it also helps ensure that children attend school and can concentrate in class.

Over the course of the next few months, Molly filmed her life: the sofa where she did her homework and slept at night; her journey home from school; her trip to fetch water; a piece of open ground where people dumped garbage; old torn shoes that she could not afford to throw away because they were her only pair; and a boy from the neighbourhood, a big Michael Jackson fan.

Since then, they have been viewed by many more people than either WFP or Molly herself could ever have imagined. It is difficult to pinpoint what makes her films so engaging. They offer a rare glimpse into a world that many viewers would never otherwise see and Molly’s curiosity about the world, her sense of fun, and above all her warmth and humanity have won the hearts of many people around the world.

 Life in the slums is particularly difficult for girls. Many drop out of school after primary school due to lack of money to pay the fees. Luckily for Molly, a sponsor in the United States is covering her education costs and will hopefully continue to do so when she starts high school in 2014.

Molly’s idol is Mother Teresa of Calcutta who, for more than four decades, ministered to the poor in India. “I know that by working hard in school, I will attain my dream of becoming a nurse and a nun”, she says.

Earlier this year, Molly and some classmates went to Cisco’s studios in Nairobi for a live video up-link with children from Ambrit International School in Rome. The Ambrit students had watched Molly’s videos and had then made their own video clip which they wanted to show Molly and her classmates. After overcoming initial shyness, the children ended up showing each other dance moves, discussing their favourite foods and telling anecdotes about their lives.

WFP also organized a blog session through Facebook where children from the US and Europe had the chance to chat with Molly and her classmates about their lives.

If ever there were an example of the potential in children from poor backgrounds and the need to nurture it, Molly is it.

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World Food Day 2012 - The Network of Hunger Fighters
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

September 16, 2012 8:00 AM

World Food Day was first recognized in 1981, and since then, the momentum it generates for ending hunger has only grown. This year, the important day is grounded in an exciting, reinvigorated World Food Day network. Each organization in the network brings something special, and working together, they ensure that the visibility and impact of World Food Day reaches new heights.

Oxfam America will bring thousands together at hundreds of World Food Day dinners across the country to have a discussion about our global food system. Church World Service, the National Association of Evangelicals and Islamic Relief will join in the conversation and look at the questions through a lens of faith.  Buddhist Global Relief will Walk to Feed the Hungry in seven US cities, and hundreds will participate in Crop Walks organized by local churches and community groups across the country.   Stop Hunger Now will package over 2 million meals for school feeding programs and emergency assistance programs around the world. Students in elementary, middle and high schools will grow lettuce and make the connection between science and ending hunger using the EarthBox for World Food Day Kit.  University students will ask themselves Why Care? to get to the heart of what motivates each of us to finally once and for all end hunger in our lifetime.   

On October 16 join the global movement to end hunger, and be part of the solution.  The growing World Food Day network is deepening the impact of World Food Day, but ultimately, it takes people like you to make it happen. It must be a priority for all of us in our daily lives.  On October 16, what will you do to end hunger

Tell us what you decide and how we can help you get involved in this movement.

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