World Food Day Call to Action - #ToastAFarmer
By Shannon Scofield, FarmOn Foundation

As our world faces the enormous task of improving food security and preserving natural resources, there has never been a more perfect time to celebrate the contributions of family farmers working worldwide to eradicate hunger and sustain the land.  And that’s exactly what the United Nations has done in declaring 2014 International Year of Family Farming.

In both developed and developing countries, over 500 million family farms, defined as farms that rely primarily on family members for labour and management, produce the food that feeds billions of people. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations asserts that family farms represent up to 98 percent of all farm holdings worldwide.  That’s huge.  To think that the majority of families around the world are being fed by, well, families, is amazing to consider.

So to say that family farming is the backbone of agriculture may be a bit of an understatement, as its gifts to humanity are much further reaching.  The effects of family farming can be seen everywhere: the alleviation of hunger and poverty, food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas

And yet, despite their critical importance, a large majority of family farmers are among the world’s most vulnerable populations.  Ironically, it’s not uncommon for many of the families who produce food to actually go hungry themselves.

The International Year aims to raise the profile of family and smallholder farming by focusing world attention on the significant role it plays in the well-being of humanity. In conjunction with the IYFF, the World Food Day theme is Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the EarthSo this World Food Day, we ask you to join us in recognizing the contribution family farmers make to our lives every day.  On October 16, 2014, take a photo or create a video that depicts your appreciation, post it to social media using the hashtag #ToastAFarmer and salute their life’s work.  Because even though you might not know any family farmers, you definitely need them!

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