Think about food security on World Food Day

Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together.

The COVID-19 global health crisis has been a time to reflect on things we truly cherish and our most basic needs. These uncertain times have made many of us rekindle our appreciation for a thing that some take for granted and many go without: food. World Food Day 2020 (16th October) is launching a call for global solidarity to help the most vulnerable people to recover and make food systems more sustainable, stronger and resilient to shocks.

Food is the essence of life and the bedrock of our cultures and communities. Preserving access to safe and nutritious food is and will continue to be an essential part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic – particularly for poor and vulnerable communities who are hit hardest by the pandemic and resulting economic shocks.

It is more important than ever in a moment like this to recognise the need to support our food heroes – farmers and workers throughout the food system – who are making sure that food makes its way from farm to fork even amid disruptions as unprecedented as the current COVID-19 crisis.

  • More than 2 billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food.
  • About 135 million people across 55 countries experience acute hunger requiring urgent food, nutrition, and livelihoods assistance.
  • The global population is expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050 – significantly increasing the demand for food.
  • Approximately 14 percent of the food produced for consumption globally each year is lost before reaching the wholesale market.
  • Undernourishment and malnutrition will greatly increase by 2050 if our food systems are not transformed. The consequences could worsen due to income inequality, unemployment, or poor access to services.
  • More than 3 billion people in the world lack access to the Internet – most of them in rural and remote areas. Smallholder farmers need greater access to innovation, technology, finance and training to improve their livelihoods.
  • Intensified food production, combined with climate change, is causing a rapid loss of biodiversity. Only nine plant species currently account for 66 percent of total food crop production.
  • Poor diets and sedentary lifestyles have led to soaring obesity rates in developed countries and also low-income countries, where hunger and obesity often coexist. No region is exempt.

Find out more about World Food Day (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations).

What you can do to impact food security

Everyone across our food sector plays an important role in ensuring nutritious food is available – but you can make a difference too! Consumers are more than just eaters. You also have the power to influence what is produced through healthy food choices, which in turn contributes to more sustainable food systems. Here’s a list of everyday actions to become a food hero and make healthy food part of your lifestyle.

  • Choose healthy and diverse: A healthy diet contributes to a healthy life. When we choose to eat diverse foods, we encourage a variety of foods to be produced. This is not only healthier for our bodies, but heathier for soils and our environment because a diverse diet favours biodiversity!
  • Influence positive will: You can use your voice or social media platform to promote healthy eating and buying habits. You can get people talking about important events like World Food Day (#WorldFoodDay) and create a buzz for #FoodHeroes. Word of mouth spreads fast and can be just as effective as social media!
  • Join initiatives: Anyone can be an ally to food heroes. Look for volunteer opportunities at your local food bank or community kitchen. It’s a great way to be involved in collective action and support those who struggle to access food.
  • Choose local: Support food heroes by buying locally grown fresh food whenever you can,  such as from a farmers’ market in your community. This will help the smallholder farmers that produced the food, your local economy and you are also encouraging crop diversity.
  • Choose seasonal: Reduce your carbon footprint by buying produce that’s in season. Food that is out of season in one part of the world has to be imported and travel a long way before it arrives at your local market. Eating seasonal food can also be riper, tastier and more nutritious.
  • Grow food at home: You can learn how to grow your own fruits, vegetables and herbs if you have a green space at home, access to a garden, or a balcony with space for plant pots. You’ll learn a lot about how food is produced and grow your appreciation for all the work that goes into cultivating produce.
  • Respect food and food heroes: Food loss and waste can occur throughout the food system. You can play your part once it arrives at your table! Learning how to store uneaten food properly for another day’s meal is one way to avoid wasting perfectly good food.
  • Support development initiatives: Support development initiatives such as school meal and nutrition programmes in your local community. You will raise awareness about the importance of eating well and promote healthy eating through education.
  • Support food-related business and retailers: Everyone can be an activist and put pressure on governments, private sector businesses and decision-makers to transform our food systems by making healthy food options more enticing, available and accessible; providing decent employment and protection; and sharing innovative technologies.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

Published on Wednesday, September 16th, 2020, under Events
Page last updated: 09/09/2020

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