World Food Day, Sustainability and Food Security
(3BL Media/Just Means) This year the UN has been talking a lot about food—and for a good reason. World Environment Day, June 05, was focused on food waste; World Food Day, which took place October 16, raised awareness on Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition. For people living in affluent parts of the world, food is taken for granted. But that is not the case for a huge mass of people in many parts of the world who experience extreme hunger every day.
Children are the worst hit. A child dies from a hunger-related disease every five seconds. In those places where it happens, many people may spend as much as 80 percent of their income on food, yet that is still not enough to feed them. Our flawed food production and distribution systems account for this situation, which should not take place since there is enough food to go around. Until the situation is rectified, hungry people have to rely on relief operations.
“Until sustainable food systems are in place, nutritional interventions are essential in situations of extreme poverty, as well as in emergency or disaster situations,” said Children International, who help children and their families living in situations of extreme poverty, and which supports World Food Day. The organization maintains several programs. One of them is the School Feeding Program in Lusaka, Zambia, which provides a mid-day meal to children in nine schools, which also helps keep children in school.
The organization runs a sponsorship program to fund its health, education, skill-building, family assistance, community support, nutrition and youth programs. Besides supporting organizations such as Children International, there are several steps we can take to eat in a more sustainable way. Buying local, seasonal food is one of them. Adopting a plant-based diet is another since animal agriculture is one of the biggest sources of emissions in the world and it's also wasteful. Planning our shopping trips carefully is also important to avoid waste.
Despite the grim statistics, there is room for hope. Jose Graziano da Silva, the director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which organizes World Food Day, said during an event in Rome yesterday that we can win the fight against hunger. He said of the 128 countries monitored by the FAO, 62 had reached the Millenium Development Goal of cutting by half the number of hungry people from 1990 levels.
Image credit: CI