Today is Blog Action Day… the day many bloggers around the world put their heads together and post posts about a global topic, and this years topic is Human Rights. Today also happens to be World Food Day, so we are writing about the basic human right to food. Food for survival, for health, for growth, for strength, for energy.
Everyday 14% of people in the world go hungry (click on the link to read the facts). People go hungry for a number of reasons:
- Environmental Problems: droughts, floods, deforestation… ruins the farming environment.
- Over-Use: Over-grazing, over-fishing, over-planting… effects the soil and crop supplies.
- War: Forces people away from their land, crops are destroyed, it is impossible to distribute food.
- Poverty: Folk can not afford tools, land, equipment.
This years theme for World Food Day is Sustainable Food Systems… Sustainable Food Systems are not so much about digging up the driveway and growing a patch of wheat so that you can have bread for breakfast… it is more about supporting local farmers, educating people so that they can use safer, healthier farming practices and so on.
Often the whole topic of Human Rights can send us spinning into a daze of “what can we do about it?” or into fury and “the injustice of it all…” those aren’t always the most useful approaches to a problem. Global projects can be completely overwhelming, and the question is not so much wether we can change the world but if we as a family can make a difference. Initiatives like the Zero Hunger Challenge can put the Global Hunger Problem into perspective. But the question remains the same: What can we do as a family? As a family we can make little changes and lifestyle tweaks to make a difference, we can make a conscious effort to improve our “Green Foot Print.”
Se7en + 1 Things You Can Do for Sustainable Food Systems
- Shopping locally: It is easy enough to shop at your local store… but this means a little more: Read your labels and buy food that was grown locally, if you can only find grapes that have been “specially” flown across the world for you then rather choose locally grown apples that week. Supporting local farmers is good for your personal environment and provides income for your farmers to continue farming.
- Shop Seasonally: It is very easy to pay more for food that is grown out of season, because usually that food has traveled far to get to you… Strawberries in Autumn have probably flown from the far side of the world. Find a local food calendar and follow it.
- Grow your Own: I am not saying grow plantations instead of hedges… but even in our relatively small garden we have a steady tomato, lettuce and spinach crop growing. You don’t have to live in Lesotho to grow a kitchen keyhole garden.
- Compost your Leftovers: We toss our compost into our vegetable garden and recently began a very small and functioning worm farm. It is enough for our coffee grinds and vegi-peels and reduces our kitchen waste dramatically.
- Avoid Packaging: You can actually choose not to buy food that comes prepackaged and then packaged again and then wrapped in a little plastic and then popped into a plastic shopping bag… Very often there is a choice to buy with less packaging and take your own shopping bags. If you have to buy food with excessive packaging then at least establish an easy way to get rid of your recycling. All ours goes into separate bins and we are lucky enough to have our recycling collected. But if you aren’t there should be local spots to drop your recycling off.
- Support your local Farmers: Recently we were in a vegi-store and noticed that the tomatoes were on special. Like really cheap. And though they were locally grown, we figured out with packaging and transporting the farmer was receiving far too little money for his efforts. And yes large stores can carry the weight of specials, but if the farmers are not being paid then they cannot support their families and they cannot continue to farm!!! If we can find a someone selling directly then we would rather buy from them.
- Donate rather than Ditch: This really goes for anything, not just food. Clothes, toys, stuff you have outgrown or don’t need anymore donate rather than throwing it out. There is always somebody who needs what you no longer need. And in the same vein if you find you constantly have too much stuff then stay out of the shops. At a time when you would normally go for a wander through the shops, go for a play in the park instead… if you do that once every weekend for a year then that will be less at least 52 bags of stuff, that you didn’t need, that you didn’t bring in to your home.
- Support Food Initiatives: Every city in the world, every country has folk living below the bread line… they all must have some local initiative to feed local people, some sort of feeding scheme. Often they provide meals for the homeless for nearly nothing and they would find any support you gave them valuable. For many of us, our local community is right here online, if you have to do something right here, right now… then get playing, it is fun and you can literally fill up bowls of rice.
And the se7en + 1th…
A while back I posted about the World Food Day Poster Contest 2013, and I confess, I completely forgot to submit my kids entries (featured above!!!) but if you want to be inspired by some beautiful artwork by children all over the world then take a peak at the winners at this link.