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One of the reasons I have this blog is that I’m slightly obsessed with food, if you haven’t noticed.  I love to cook, to bake, to learn about nutrition, to grow my own food and to feed others delicious food.  Food, glorious food!   And if there’s any day to give particular thought to the food we eat, it’s today, World Food Day.
World Food Day is an annual global observance on October 16th, founded by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization to raise awareness and understanding about approaches to end global hunger.  There are about 925 million hungry people in the world today, which is about one seventh of the population, a staggering statistic. People are hungry and malnourished all over the world, including Canada where about 900,000 people a month use food banks.  There is enough food for everyone on the planet if only it could be distributed evenly.
Infographic source: PETA
World Food Day and the global hunger crisis has me meditating on….
1) The fact that it is a great privilege that I have the option of choosing the diet I want and not having to eat only what is available to me from food banks or charitable sources.  I get to be very discerning with my food choices, and I consider that a great privilege!
Image source: Mutts comics
2) Making responsible choices with the food I buy and eat.  I can focus on eating locally and seasonally, eating a vegan diet that does not support the environmentally-destructive meat and dairy industry and reducing food waste where I can.  I’ll keep pushing myself to learn more and do better.  Below is Oxfam’s Five Principles For Feeding the Planet:
3) How can I help hungry people locally?  Every once in a while at the grocery store, I’ll let my kids each choose a non-perishable item that they put in the food bank collection box at the store.  They get to think about the family that will eat what they chose for them, and wonder what they would have eaten if they didn’t have the food bank to turn to.  They won’t understand the whole picture yet, but they can start to make the connection.  When my kids are older, I can sign them up for family volunteering at our local food bank.  If you’re going to make a donation to a food bank, some of the most needed items are baby formula and baby food, beans and lentils, peanut butter and rice.
4) How can I help hungry people globally? We sponsor an orphan in India through SOS Children’s Villages, our daily contribution goes towards his food and education.  There are so many other charities to choose from too, here’s a list of some organizations that focus on feeding the hungry worldwide and fighting for food justice: http://www.worldhunger.org/reduce.htm.
There are some fun and very easy ways that anyone with a computer can do to help out.  For one, there is the online game Free Rice.  Thanks to sponsors, grains of rice are donated to the hungry for every trivia question answered.
Another online quiz is Molly’s World from the World Food Program.  It’s a great way to get school-aged kids involved.
I would love to hear your comments and ideas about World Food Day!  How did you observe the day?