World Food Day – How about a new perspective?
World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16 October in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. The day is celebrated widely by many other organisations concerned with food security, including the World Food Programme.
The World Food Day theme for 2012 is “Agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world”.
World Food Day (WFD) was established by FAO’s Member Countries at the Organization’s 20th General Conference in November 1945. The Hungarian Delegation, led by the former Hungarian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Dr. Pál Romány has played an active role at the 20th Session of the FAO Conference and suggested the idea of celebrating the WFD worldwide. It has since been observed every year in more than 150 countries, raising awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger.
Despite the enormous efforts centred around World Food Day, with an aim to raise awareness of food security, amazingly, solving world hunger and creating food security seem to an elusive goal.
According to Jean Ziegler(the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food for 2000 to March 2008), mortality due to malnutrition accounted for 58 percent of the total mortality in 2006: “In the world, approximately 62 million people, all causes of death combined, die each year. One in twelve people worldwide is malnourished and according to the Save the Children 2012 report, one in four of the world’s children are chronically malnourished. In 2006, more than 36 million died of hunger or diseases due to deficiencies in micronutrients”.
According to the World Health Organization, malnutrition is the biggest contributor to child mortality, present in half of all cases. Six million children die of hunger every year. Underweight births and intrauterine growth restrictions cause 2.2 million child deaths a year. Poor or non-existent breastfeeding causes another 1.4 million. Other deficiencies, such as lack of vitamin A or zinc, for example, account for 1 million. Malnutrition in the first two years is irreversible. Malnourished children grow up with worse health and lower education achievement. Their own children tend to be smaller. Malnutrition was previously seen as something that exacerbates the problems of diseases as measles, pneumonia and diarrhea. But malnutrition actually causes diseases and can be fatal in its own right.
Food for Life’s contribution
At the present moment, Food for Life Global affiliates are the world’s largest distributor of healthy free food to the public. We estimate that our projects serve between 2 and 3 million meals daily or close to a 1 billion meals annually. To put that in perspective in 2011, WFP reached 99.1 million people in 75 countries and provided 3.6 million tonnes of food. Food for Life Global affiliates are distributing up to 10 times the amount of food as the United Nations World Food Programme.
The “key” to solving world hunger
Food for Life Global believes that the key to all the world’s problems, including malnutrition must come from a spiritual paradigm. This is not to say that religion is the answer, as we all know how much trouble religion has caused the world. What FFL proposes is that the more the human population, and especially the leaders, can embrace the reality of equality of spirit — that all beings, including animals, plants and every race of human are essentially spiritual family, and that the external covering of the body is not the true value of an individuals potential, the more peace and prosperity will exist.
This concept of spiritual equality springs from India’s Vedic culture of hospitality, wherein all beings were respected equally and therefore, the natural expression of this understanding was to share the resources of the world. You see, even the United Nations openly admits that world hunger is not a result of lack of food capacity, but rather inequitable distribution of the world’s food resources. Such disparity would not exist in a world fixed in the consciousness of spiritual equality.
Food for Life Global’s mission is fuelled by a passionate belief in spiritual equality and this translates into our keen desire to give everyone the opportunity for healthy, non-violent food. We use food as a medium of expressing our love and respect for all beings. No one should go hungry in a world with so much to offer, and neither should there be any deaths from malnutrition. It is inexcusable for countries like the United States to waste so much food while children in developing countries beg and cry for morsels. The children that die every year from malnutrition-related diseases are crying in our ear to wake up. The fact is, every day should be WORLD FOOD DAY, not only October 16.