World Food Day

by Mark Lovett on October 16, 2008

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.” – From Martin Luther King’s Acceptance Speech, on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, December 10, 1964.

While the beliefs quoted above by Dr. Martin Luther King reflect the spirit of Global Patriot, it is his reference to ‘three meals a day’ that is most appropriate on World Food Day.  And though every year presents a new set of challenges in the fight against hunger, the problems faced by the poorest of countries in 2008 have surpassed our ability to deal with them.

The mission of World Food Day is to increase awareness and understanding of this critical issue and to encourage year-round action to alleviate hunger. Observed each year on October 16th, in recognition of the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945, the emphasis of the organization and related global events is on achieving the following set of goals:

  • Increase Awareness — provide a briefing on the issues for the media; promote WFD.
  • Increase Understanding — work with schools and colleges; plan a community seminar.Increase
  • Information — help in coordinating a research project on community food security.
  • Increase Support — hold a fund raiser for local and/or international projects
  • Increase Advocacy — seek policy commitments from public officials (or candidates).
  • Increase Networking — use WFD to bring together people, ideas and resources.
  • Increase Year-Around Action– seek to involve people in on-going service/support.
  • Increase Impact — devise a means to measure the year to year progress you are making; consider World Food Day the “annual meeting” for hunger activists.

Complexities of Hunger

There are many reasons that hunger exists, from poverty to armed conflict, crop failure or extremes in the weather.  But in 2008 we witnessed the rise of a new nemesis – uncontrolled greed. Granted, greed has been around from the beginning, and has always played a major role in fostering poverty and hunger, especially in developing countries, but this year was extreme.

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed” –  Mahatma Gandhi

The domino effect of an American housing crisis, which in turn caused a global financial crisis, has resulted in a serious disruption in the flow of capital around the world and forced governments of the richest nations to spend hundreds of billions to bail out major financial institutions. The effects are being felt worldwide. For example, here’s a recent headline:

8:57 a.m. October 16, 2008

DUBLIN, Ireland – Wealthy nations are reneging on commitments to help feed the world’s hungry, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told an international conference on combating starvation Thursday.

Note: Maya Goreau, a 4th grader from Chappaqua NY, sent the drawing above to the Weekly Reader as part of a project establishing hunger as the No. 1 childrens priority for national action in 1989.

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