and poverty are two faces of the same coin. As food prices rise, more people
are pushed into poverty – helpless in their daily struggles to put food on
their tables. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, World Food Day (10/16) is another
opportunity to raise awareness of the problems of hunger and poverty, and to
empower individuals to find long-term solutions.
United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization was founded 68 years ago on
October 16th. Since 1981, the day has been observed as World Food Day.
United States National Committee for World Food Day is made up of 450
non-profits organizations working on hunger-related issues," Patricia Young says. The national coordinator for World Food Day
USA says for a quarter of a century, the U.S.-based coalition has been working
to raise awareness among Americans about hunger – in the United States and around
the world – and ways they can fight it.
do broadcasts for colleges and cable stations and so forth. We have materials
for schools k[indergarten] to [grade] 12," she says. "Other than
that, there are symposiums, workshops, food collections, walks and runs and so
Young says, is the immediate result of poverty, in which a variety of social
and economic factors come into play.
is always a gap between the rich and the poor both in the United States and
around the world. That gap seems to be growing," she says."Why are
there poor people in the midst of abundance? Being elderly is certainly a big
problem. Single women household is a problem. The changing labor market creates
the problem. What's happening now (in the economy) is affecting not just the
poor, but all of the society."
Food Day is every day for World Hunger Year, an organization that responds to
the emergency food needs of poor and hungry Americans. Known by its acronym,
WHY connects needy individuals with local food assistance programs such as food
stamps, and school breakfasts.
President Tim Ogborn says WHY has also been working with a number of
local groups and international non-governmental organizations to address what
it sees as the underlying systemic problems at the root of hunger. On World
Food Day, Ogborn says, WHY and its partners are launching a National Call to
Action to end the global food crisis:
call to action asks, for one, that we stabilize prices for farmers and
consumers globally by regulating the finance sector so that it cannot enter
into the food sector in the way it has," he says. "(It also proposes)
establishing and strengthening strategic food reserves, suspending the
international trade investments in industrial-scale bio-fuels, reforming our
food-aid policies, and expanding fair trade rather than what has been the
policy of the federal government to expand free trade. We want to re-balance
the power in the food system, and reduce the political influence of
agribusiness corporations on public policy."
says this call to action – a project WHY calls 'Step Up to the Plate' – also
draws attention to the importance of environmentally-friendly agriculture.
need to move toward making agriculture more environmentally sustainable,
through focusing on supporting family farming, with agro-ecological
practices," he says. "We need to direct state and national foreign
policies around the world toward investing more in agro-ecological farming
rather than agro-industrial which has been the practice the last 30 years or
so. There is more and more evidence around the world that sustainable
agricultural systems not only are good for the environment, but they are more
productive per unit-area than traditional industrial forms of
Ogborn says the current world food crisis – with more than
900 million people in the world chronically short of food – will only start to
improve when society looks at food not as a commodity but as a right. He says
every crisis presents an opportunity. The current crisis, Ogborn believes, can
be the opportunity to redesign food systems in ways that foster social and
economic justice, and that move the world closer to the elusive goal of ending
poverty and hunger.