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Last Updated: 10/06/2008World Food Day: October 16
The current economic fears and impending US recession highlight the vulnerably of millions worldwide and make this year’s World Food Day particularity relevant. The theme, World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioengery, will be discussed at a conference in Rome. A world wide candle vigil, an international teleconference and a 10k Run for Food are among the events planned to raise awareness about the fight against hunger.
From Haiti to Sudan high food prices have sparked a real very crisis. But go to any supermarket garbage in the US and you will find food rotting. According to the World Health Organization, there are over 1 billion overweight people and over 923 million undernourished. How can this be? We need not look farther than our own cupboards for the answer: wheat in your crackers from Cargill, chocolate from Nestle, cooking oil from ConAgra. The transnational food giants creep into our kitchens so quietly we often don’t even know they are there. Yet the poverty and inequality brought about by the corporatization of food and water are difficult to ignore.
Biofules and climate change are the themes of this year’s World Food Day, but perhaps the Food and Agriculture Organization is missing the point. It is true that biofuels and US subsidies led to a sharp increase in the price of corn which affected millions worldwide, but the real question is why countries like Mexico, where corn has grown for thousands of years, are so dependent on US imports. Climate change is clearly responsible for food “shortages” in many parts of the world; however, the very nature of the globalized food system has lead to this climate change. Overuse of soil and water, toxic pesticides and fertilizers, and the reduction of biodiversity are just a few of the degrading effects of the industrialization of food.
How can we make a difference in the fight against starvation? This World Food Day let’s examine our own actions. Let’s find out where our own food came from and how it arrived at our plates. Let’s eat fruits and vegetables grown locally and in season. Let’s reduce our intake of meat. We might not be able to halt the food crisis, but eating responsibly is a small contribution towards the dismantling of the globalized food industry.
Kerri is an MA candidate in Peace Education. She is an educator with extensive experience in community centered NGOs. Her short fiction and poetry have been published in various US based magazines and journals.