World Food Day is an international day honoring the commitment to eradicate hunger in the world. This day is celebrated on October 16 in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945 in Quebec, Canada. This day is celebrated by many food security organizations, including the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program.
Themes of World Food Day
World Food Day has adopted different themes every year to highlight areas needed for action and to create a common focus. Most themes revolve around agriculture because investing in agriculture is the only way to curb world hunger. But no matter how important agriculture is, this sector is frequently starved of investment. Foreign aid has particularly shown marked declines over the past 20 years.
The latest themes for World Food Day for the last ten years include:
- 2010: United against hunger
- 2011: Food prices – from crisis to stability
- 2012: Agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world
- 2013: Sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition
- 2014: Family farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth
- 2015: Social protection and agriculture: Breaking the cycle of rural poverty
- 2016: Climate change: “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.”
- 2017: Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development
- 2018: Our actions are our future, ending world hunger by 2030 is possible
- 2019: Our actions are our future, healthy diets for a #zero hunger world
As of writing, the campaign for the 2020 World Food Day is yet to be launched. But as countries worldwide suffer from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization will be launching a call for global solidarity to help vulnerable people recover and make food systems more sustainable.
World Hunger Update
According to the latest edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, almost 690 million people suffered from hunger in 2019, a figure up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the report forecasts that over 130 million more people will fall into chronic hunger by the end of the year.
Countries around the world are still struggling with multiple forms of malnutrition. High costs and low affordability can mean that billions of people can’t eat nutritiously or healthily. Numerous people are hungry in Asia, but hunger is expanding the fastest in Africa.
Asia has the greatest number of undernourished people (381 million), and Africa comes second (250 million). Latin America and the Caribbean come third (48 million). These statistics hide regional disparities in terms of percentage. In Africa, 19.1 percent of its population is undernourished, which is more than double the rate in Asia (8.3%) and Latin America and the Caribbean (7.4%). If this trend continues, Africa will be home to more than half of the world’s chronically hungry by 2030.
The process of fighting hunger is already dwindling since 2014 as chronic hunger began to rise, and the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified this problem. The global food systems have become vulnerable and inadequate, as all the processes affecting the production, distribution, and consumption of food are affected. The report estimates that as much as 132 million may go hungry in 2020 due to the economic recession triggered by the pandemic.
This report is prepared by the FAO of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agriculture, The World Health Organization, the UN World Food Programme, and the International Fund for Agriculture. These five agencies warn that the world is off-track in achieving the objective of ending world hunger by 2030.
How World Food Day is Celebrated
Around the world, events are organized on and around World Food Day. This program is aimed at political and non-political organizations to increase press attention on food supply issues. United Nations Organizations and universities worldwide organize conferences, symposia, workshops, and presentations of different problems regarding food production, distribution, and security.
Different events are organized to raise awareness about food supply and distribution problems and raise money to support projects that support the cultivation and distribution of food. Fundraising events are common, including concerts, charity auctions, sports events, marathons, exhibitions, cultural performances, contests, and marches.
How to Play Your Part in Working Against Hunger?
One thing that needs acceptance is that it is not just the job of the large-scale authorities to fight for food problems all over the world. Unless we don’t play our part at an individual level, the large-scale difference will not be visible. There are several ways in which we can try our best to work against hunger.
Donate As Much As You Can
Many people don’t hesitate to spend hundreds on a fancy restaurant in one night while on the other hand, many people are not even able to earn even $10 a day. Some are homeless, others are disabled, and some can just not find the right jobs. Now many might be thinking that we are recommending you to not eat at fancy restaurants, but no, it isn’t like that.
Go out, hang around with your friends, party, and have a fine dining experience. However, with all of that, remember the ones who are not privileged enough. Donate them as much as you can. Some people deserve the donations and are just in a miserable state of life. They are just living in hopes that someone will help them.
The best way to do so is to make a rule. Whenever you go out shopping, eating, or hanging out with friends, make sure that you donate a good amount of money to the underprivileged ones. For example, shop for $100 and remember to give someone $20 every time you go shopping. Not only can this reduce the societal disparity but it is also considered to be a great step towards eliminating poverty and making sure that no one sleeps hungry.
Pack My Food Idea
One study has found out that there are about 22 to 33 billion pounds of restaurant waste every year in the USA alone. Hospitals, schools, and hotels account for an extra 7 billion pounds as well. It is estimated that about 6% of the food purchased by the restaurants is wasted even before it reaches the customers. The main reason why the world is facing a hunger crisis is that there is a high waste of food globally. A lot of people don’t eat as much as they order, and all of it goes out to waste as it is left over.
Therefore, we always recommend asking the restaurant to pack the leftovers. On your way back, you can give away this food to the poor and homeless. Even if it is a small portion of food that is not equivalent to a one-time meal, it is still better than nothing. From onwards, make this a permanent habit that whenever you go out to eat and have leftovers, be it small portions or large, give them away on your way back. Encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same.
Occasionally, you can also try to give the poor people an extra treat. For example, you can get them a cup of Dalgona Coffee on your way back from a coffee shop. After all, it may not be their right to eat or drink from your pocket but you can do it in terms of humanity and consideration.
You can also try to eat organic more and thereby save some money to spend on the hungry. Here’s a guide that might help – Is Eating Organic on a Tight Budget Possible?
Support Local Businesses
Local businesses do earn a fair amount of money but sometimes they suffer badly because of the bigger players in the market. Although there isn’t a direct impact on the aspect of hunger, it does cause a deterioration in the overall living standards and negative repercussions over a longer period.
For example, there is a burger joint at the corner of the block where 4 employees and 1 manager are working at a time. Let’s say that most people do not eat out from where despite the fact that this burger joint offers a good taste. People instead choose to eat out at McDonald’s or KFC because they have a brand name and certain perception in the market. While the choice is completely yours, it is advised to support the local businesses too. If people don’t buy from the burger joint, the employees will be eventually fired. The same could be the case with hundreds of burger joints and thousands of employees who are forcefully laid off because of the limited response by the customers.
Therefore, supporting local businesses will eventually prove helpful in eradicating poverty from society as well as fighting against world hunger.
World Food Day is one of the most important days of the year which provides us a realization about how the world is facing one of the biggest crises of all time. However, we believe that just a single day is not enough to bring it all to a balance. What’s essentially needed is the effort at the individual level because the world hunger crisis cannot be ended by just a few charitable organizations.