Today is “World Food Day,” an international day of action when people from around the world come together to declare their commitment to eradicating global hunger.
As we join with the state, national, and international community today, it is important to critically consider the ways in which our food system so often fails us. Millions of people suffer from obesity and obesity-related diseases and more than a billion people globally are overweight.
At the same time, 10 percent of the world—821 million people—currently experience chronic hunger. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a report saying the impact of the climate crisis on agriculture will result in growing world hunger, unless there are seismic shifts in global land use, production methods, food waste, and human diets.
Acknowledging this, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has made a commitment to these broader food system issues, stating that achieving zero hunger is “about nourishing people, while nurturing the planet.”
Rather than calling for farmers to “get big or get out” in order to “feed the world,” the focus should be on true sustainability for the planet and agricultural justice for its people. On this important day, let us commit to a sustainable food system that pays farmers a living wage, provides ecosystem benefits, and feeds and nourishes communities with diets appropriate to culture and place.
According to M. Jaji Chappell, political agroecologist and Executive Director of Food First, “It is within our reach to end hunger in the world. It has been within our reach for a while now. But the challenges we must surmount to achieve this have been fundamentally, essentially institutional.”
Institutional capacity for food system change has been building in Ohio for many years starting with powerful community level efforts including food councils, the Ohio Agricultural Clearance Program, the Ohio Food Policy Advisory Council, and recently the Ohio Smart Agriculture effort.
Ohio has a strong and committed group of volunteers in the Ohio Food Policy Network that has been building our capacity for fundamentally changing our food system for the better.