Yesterday (16th October) was World Food Day. I had hoped to post this yesterday, despite being a day late, I think its still important to talk about the focus of World Food Day which is to “leave no one behind” and make sure everyone worldwide has enough food to be healthy. To quote the UN (2022) they want to build ‘a sustainable world where everyone, everywhere has regular access to enough nutritious food’, so not just enough to eat but of nutritious quality so that people are no longer hungry nor are they malnourished. The Food and Argriculture Organisation was set up to on 16th October, 1945 to champion these goals.
With all the changes impacting the world today we can see why food poverty is an issue – climate change, pandemic, conflict, rising prices all contribute to make it more difficult to access food – climate change affecting the harvests and types of crops grown etc, conflict impacting significantly the availability and distribution of food supplies; famine caused by droughts and flooding destroying crops all make the risk of malnutrition higher. At the same time as these things we have the cost of living crisis being felt across the globe meaning its becoming more expensive to buy staple foods and for many, they are unable to buy the foods they need to eat for health.
The aim of the FAO and the annual World Food Day is to promote the need for everyone to be able to eat not just enough to fill their bellies, but to ensure their meals are nutritious – so its not just enough to have a diet made of staple foods, but a range of nutritious food which will prevent malnutrition.
According to the FAO (cited in WEF (2022) there are more than 3 billion people who can’t afford a healthy diet.
While it is claimed that food festivals are organised internationally to celebrate the anniversary of the formation of the FAO and raise awareness of their campaign to feed the world, I found it difficult to find events locally to me in central Scotland, or Scotland more generally. I found it concerning that while this is an issue we should all be concerned about, and as I said above, this is an issue growing in significance and will touch more of us directly, there seemed to be little being done to raise the profile of food poverty. Having done a google search I could find some events targeted at children and some projects that schools could get involved in, but nothing aimed at raising awareness in adults. I know we’ve seen the difference that childhood involvement can have with projects (think Climate Change and Greta Thunberg) but it is disappointing that the adult population, at least in the UK, haven’t been targetted with events.
I find it alarming that there is such a poor take up of the opportunities for food festivals, especially when in 2020 the FAO won the Nobel Price for Peace ‘for efforts to fight hunger and for playing the main role in stopping the use of hunger as a weapon for war and conflict’ (Edudwar, 2022). I guess we see the potential for food to be used as a weapon again in 2022.
I’m not sure how much we can do individually to support projects such as this; its clear that governments and international organisations can take steps to support infrastructure projects to irradicate food poverty but at an individual level, what can we do? I’m using this post as my contribution to the debate. What can we do to help address food poverty – both internationally and at home?
Please leave your comments/opinions below.