Today is World Food Day. Instituted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, October 16, is an annual event geared toward raising awareness for agricultural food production, improving our global food system and fighting against malnutrition and poverty. Here are the highlights from the FAO:
“Today almost 842 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished. Unsustainable models of development are degrading the natural environment, threatening ecosystems and biodiversity that will be needed for our future food supply.
A food system is made up of the environment, people, institutions and processes by which agricultural products are produced, processed and brought to consumers.
Every aspect of the food system has an effect on the final availability and accessibility of diverse, nutritious foods – and therefore on consumers’ ability to choose healthy diets. What is more, policies and interventions on food systems are rarely designed with nutrition as their primary objective.
Addressing malnutrition requires integrated action and complementary interventions in agriculture and the food system, in natural resource management, in public health and education, and in broader policy domains.”
This year’s theme is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.” It’s not enough to ‘eat the seed corn’ in order to feed the world’s hungry today. We have to look to more systemic solutions so that everybody can eat. Every. Day. And every day after that.
As a scientist with a research interest in the biochemistry of primary production (photosynthesis), I hope that my work will help us understand how to get more from our obligatory relationship with plants. It’s what I can add to this fight. It’s my part to play. In no way am I diminishing other efforts. The issue of global hunger is a large problem that requires a variety of approaches to solve. We need them all. This is not a one-man show.
If you have enough to eat today, count your blessings. Please take a moment to be mindful of where your food came from and all the hands that played a part in getting it to your fork. Find out what you can do to help end world hunger by checking out the links below.