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  • Writer's pictureZsofia NAGY

World Food Day - 16th October

Rich salad

A slightly unusual topic from me, but close to my heart, so here it is:

Today is the day, when we internationally celebrate World Food Day (WFD), in honour of the date of founding of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) of the UN, back in 1945 in Quebec, Canada. We celebrate this day since 1979, when the WFD was established.

Other organisations also support and celebrate it with us, like the World Food Programme (WFP) or the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). In case one didn't know, the WFP has just won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020 for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.

As every year, there is a theme for the WFD to highlight areas where action is badly needed and to provide a common focus. This year it is "Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together".

We are painfully aware - at least I hope the majority reading this are - that we are facing drastic consequences of the current climate change and pollution of our actions to date, where we neglected sustainability earlier or even do so now, not only related to food supply chains.

Therefore, each year the themes became increasingly climate change and sustainability focused (not that one could not build in sustainability in each theme that came up already since 1981, but these became more and more prominent).

While all of these organisations have done a great job and keep pushing the limits and beliefs on nourishing the World, we still have issues that call for further action in our own lives and I firmly believe that we, as individuals, can do a lot that cumulates and gives global results.

Here are some key facts on how we stand on food and hunger: (all from UN statistics)

  • There is more than enough food produced in the world to feed everyone on the planet.

  • About 690 million people worldwide go to bed hungry each night.

  • Small farmers, herders, and fishermen produce about 70 percent of the global food supply, yet they are especially vulnerable to food insecurity – poverty and hunger are most acute among rural populations.

  • Conflict is a major driver of hunger: The UN estimates that 122 million of 144 million stunted children live in countries affected by conflict.

  • An estimated 14 million children under the age of five worldwide suffer from severe acute malnutrition, also known as severe wasting, yet only 25 percent of severely malnourished children have access to lifesaving treatment.

A number of questions popped into mind re-reading all these (I visit these studies regularly):

  1. How many people have realistic access to the information regarding hunger/food related topics? Do we know where to find reliable sources in the first place, if interested?

  2. How many of those having access actually read it and try to understand what they could do themselves?

  3. How many governments and local authorities are actually promoting food sustainability and innovations relevant to this field? (I'm focusing here on actions that aren't targeted to scientific organisations or companies, where bias can occur, but to the wider public, including education on sustainability, circular economy in the food supply chain)

  4. How many of us ever hear of the FSI (Food Sustainability Index) and the methodology behind?

  5. How many people can see from the key facts above, that we lack enough knowledge about our own health and nutrition to even question how we are being fed and there would be a need for extensive education on nutrition, food supply chains, farming etc.?

So what can we do as individuals and as communities that would make a difference:

  1. Educate ourselves and our families about how food gets on the table (from farming to food supply chains, nutrition and pricing etc.) - even if someone grew up in a farm, that is a single way of doing farming, there might be other options Globally that could improve the situation locally, continued education is key like elsewhere.

  2. Educate ourselves further on circularity in nature and those innovations that promote SFCs (Short Food Supply Chains) - yes, even those living in large cities should at least know how these work to evaluate what they get at grocery stores.

  3. Actively check what we buy every day: less is more, or I should put it this way, quality over quantity! This will help reduce food waste as well.

  4. Learn more about healthy eating and how unused food and raw materials can be saved from going to waste. Change our eating habits, where necessary and learn to cook, if you can.

  5. Support innovation of the food supply chain by making the right choices (e.g. buying food from local sources and buying seasonal food, using reusable packaging or no packaging at all).

This is what this year's theme means to me. "Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together".

I hope you give it a thought today and every day from now on to celebrate WFD every day!

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