Today, October 16th, is World Food Day, a day designated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations since 1945 as a day for promoting awareness of issues related to hunger, agriculture and food production.
While much of the time this site, like most food blogs, talk about indulging personal hunger and food cravings, there's a lot to think about on this subject these days, much of it rather sobering.
Foreign aid for agriculture and rural development has fallen from over US$9 billion per year in the early 1980s to less than $5 billion in the late 1990s.
1 in 7 people in the world suffers from hunger.
I'm not sure if it's the way I was brought up, but when I hear things like this I feel an awkward twinge of guilt. The so-called 'advanced' part of the world suffers from a case of overabundance of food, resulting in what's often termed an epidemic of obesity, while there are many parts of the world that don't have enough. Maybe it was all those times my father told us to clean our plates because "there are starving childen in Ethiopia" (or Bangladesh, or whatever part of the world was suffering at the time). In any case there's an awful imbalance in the world, that one often feels rather helpless to do much about.
One small thing we can do though it to make contributions to whatever organization that appeals to your political or religious or social senses, that is trying to do something about this. One of my favorite charities is the U.K. based Oxfam (with chapters in various other countries), which takes a very proactive approach such as helping to build wells in rural communities, to provide a necessary water source. There are many other great organizations too. Do your research and choose one to support.
Using a day like World Food Day to remind ourselves to continue to educate ourselves about food, hunger and nutrition isn't a bad thing either. Just making the effort to seek out fair trade products for example may lead to tiny changes.
Dinner is not such a straightforward plate of food anymore, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.