Last month, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released their report on the state of food security and nutrition in the world. The findings reveal that global prevalence of hunger and malnutrition has stabilized, however the absolute number of undernourished people has grown from 2018. In fact, this has been the trend since 2016. Today, more than 820 million people in the world are hungry, up from 811 million in the previous year.
Behind my privileged-tinted eyeglasses, it’s hard for me see how I, by simply swiping my smartphone, can have a perfectly bright-colored quinoa bowl at my door in exactly 22 minutes, 37 seconds. How did we end up with a world where millions of people (including children) are fighting for basic food to survive? How crazy is it that at the same time, we also face an obesity epidemic? How can it be that while the price of food (per calorie) is cheaper than it has ever been, millions go to bed hungry?
For days, I have been inside my head looking for a smart explanation to this conundrum. I have, of course, toyed with the blame game. Is it the governments fault? Climate change? Or the mighty, monstrous corporate powers that be? Surely, “someone” is facilitating this human right robbery from the poor and vulnerable, to satisfy the 1%. “Someone” needs to be held accountable for this catastrophe.
The politics of food, I’ve learnt, is so complex, I will need more than a blog to demystify. Food insecurity and hunger affects low income countries, where economic and political instability is very prevalent. However, a country’s economic status is not the only contributing factor. In the US, about 40 million people (including 12 million children) are food insecure (i.e. lack financial resources for food). We live in the wealthiest nation in the world and yet millions of our friends, neighbors or colleagues are a lay off away from sleeping on an empty stomach.
We have to push ourselves to take more action in fighting poverty and all its implications on hunger, health, education, housing, etc. Below, I’ve jotted down a few simple ideas on ways we can all reach out to make a difference.
Donate and/or volunteer with a Feeding America food bank in your city
Join or start a hunger or food-related petition on change.org
Support your local farmers and food industries (ensures food safety, keep prices down and saves our environment)
The famous Martin Luther King once said “no one is free until we are all free”. So let’s continue the bold fight against hunger.