World Food Day has been held each year on 16 October since 1981 and aims to raise awareness of hunger around the world.
Globally over 150 different countries get involved in the international movement to highlight hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Each year takes on a different theme, from “Food comes first” at the first event in 1981, right though to “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition” for 2013.
The Food and Agriculture Organization has more details on the campaign and its heritage. There are also details on the site of the annual ‘Hunger Run’ which is held in various locations across the world. You can browse the entrants in the ‘Poster Contest’ where children aged 5 to 17 have submitted their interpretations of the event. And of course you can get involved with the various programmes around the world: from commemoration services, seminars and walks.
This year’s theme focusses on the sustainable food systems needed, especially as the global population is estimated to swell to 9 billion people by the year 2050. Food security is a priority, that is producing enough food for everybody – it’s estimated that there 842 million hungry people in the world right now. To put that into context, that’s 1 in 8 people who are suffering from chronic hunger.
Nutrition is also in focus: not just eating ‘empty’ food but nutritious produce that provides essential vitamins and minerals. Sustainability has long been an issue and we need to find a way to work in harmony with our landscapes so as not to degrade our land and water supplies.
You can get involved by hosting a World Food Day meal with your family and friends. Or grow an edible garden, focussing on foods to see you through each season. You can also volunteer locally, join a walk or hold an awareness meeting. And of course on a daily basis you can think about each food item that you buy, cook and eat.