The issue of huger worldwide is a complex one. And honestly, that is an understatement.
Over the summer, I attended the Big Summer Potluck 4. I had the opportunity to listen to Jess Powers from WHY Hunger speak. She kind of blew my mind. I mean, the things she said, the points she made, they were ones that make complete and utter sense, but when you actually take some time to sit and think about them, suddenly both your views of world hunger and how you can help change dramatically. Donating to food pantries is not the answer…grassroots efforts to change the way our country thinks and deals with hunger is. Building a community that can support one another in difficult times and building the stepping stones for self-reliance is a much better effort. This complex issue of hunger is much more than just shoving canned goods at those that are suffering. Not that they may not need those canned goods, but they need deeper support as well.
Then, the opportunity to read about World Food Day came my way. This year’s theme? A Sustainable Food System for Food Security and Nutrition. Now we’re talking. I read. And I read. And I read some more. The best way to join the fight against these problems that either directly or indirectly affect us and millions of other is to educate ourselves on the real issues.
As I continue to read, there are recurring themes in the fight against world hunger. First off, it is important to note that a food system entails seed to digestion (farm to fork) and everything in between. It all makes a difference. The packaging used to seal the food, the fuel used to transport it, the way the food is grown and processed, and how the food is stored and purchased. It all makes a difference in the end result.
Food Security: Instead of patching the problem, solve it by getting to the root of it, literally. A way to boost production of staple foods needs to be found and acted upon. Only then will the 842 million people suffering from chronic hunger be truly fed. And these staple foods, they aren’t candy bars and other junk that doesn’t meet our nutritional demands. These staple foods are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nutrient dense foods.
Sustainability: Key words: TAKE CARE OF YOUR ENVIRONMENT. Sustainability in a most simple definition means that our food is not only nutritious but also safe for years to come. Creating a safe environment for these crops and in turn, fostering the continuance of generations of crops to come. Right now, that is not the case. 60% of our world’s food systems are unsustainable. Walk through your day. Think of ways that you can make your life more sustainable and open to this kind of living. Then…do it.
Here just a few things that you can do to start at the bottom and work your way up:
Find a small, family farm near you and support them. Their work in enriching the soil and the land is something that we should appreciate. Danielle Nierenberg and Thomas Szymanski talk about it in this article here.
Think about how you can make your life more sustainable. How can you make the most out of every resource that you use? How can you reuse? How can you teach others to do the same? Start with your children.
Support Fair Trade. As I said above, support a local, small, family farm. Yes, do that, but all support a small family farm elsewhere. Do you drink coffee everyday? Buy Fair Trade. Make sure that you support those small farms that are doing just as much good in their home countries. They are just as important for the sustainability of our food systems.
If you take anything away from this today, take with you the concept of thinking deeper. We can’t just keep patching up a problem. We need to work together to put force behind this grassroots effort of solving hunger from the bottom up. We need to all work to re-build a food system that is sustainable.