World Food Day is celebrated each year on October 16 in collaboration with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It’s a day dedicated to raising awareness of hunger and food security across the globe.
Before we dive into this year’s theme of water and the objectives of World Food Day, we want to share ways you can help increase food security in your communities.
- Buy local. Before you purchase a food and beverage product, check to see if it’s locally grown, made, and/or packed.
- Make sustainable choices to help fight food waste, like buying “ugly produce” and composting. Both of these actions help to control environmental emissions from food growing, processing, transporting, and disposal.
- Use your voice. Advocate for local, as well as encourage businesses and governments to make changes that will support the Zero Hunger initiative to become a reality. Join the conversation within your local communities.
Food & beverage processors:
- Source local ingredients and packaging when possible.
- Consider suppliers that support a triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit.
- Analyze where water is being used along your value chain (growing, processing, labeling/packaging). How much water is being used and how is it being disposed of? How can you reduce water consumption?
This year, World Food Day is emphasizing the importance of water as an essential resource with a vital impact on food and food systems. Water is the essence of food production, and it’s not only about quantity, but quality. Proper hydration of crops ensures nutritional value, and ensuring nutritious crops is a fundamental component of food security.
World Food Day objectives:
- Raise awareness
This day provides education to challenge individuals, businesses, and countries about raising awareness and issues of hunger, malnutrition, and food security on a global scale.
- Promote sustainable agriculture
Sustainable agriculture translates into food systems that are environmentally, economically, and socially healthy. It helps reduce long-term effects on the agriculture system while maximizing productivity and reducing environmental harm.
- Highlight the need for action
World Food Day is a commitment made by the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by all the countries who signed on to ensure safe, nutritious food for everyone in the world. This day recognizes the hardship, hurdles, and commitment to making Zero Hunger a possibility.
- Advocate for Zero Hunger
This SDG 2 is to achieve safe access to nutritious food for all. 2 million people in the world do not have regular access to safe, nutritious, sufficient food. By 2030, it is projected that 600 million people worldwide will be facing hunger challenges.
- Inspire action
Encourage individuals and communities to act against hunger, through volunteering, food donations, and advocating for policy changes from the government and in your community.
- Embrace local
During the pandemic there were many challenges faced by businesses and consumers. As consumers, the lingering presence of empty grocery store shelves had us thinking about where our food comes from. For processors, disruptions in the global supply chain had many sourcing closer-to-home alternatives to ensure their products could continue being made.
More on the importance of embracing local:
Food security is having reliable access to quality, nutritious, and affordable food. During the pandemic, we were forced to shift our consumer habits. Supporting local farmers and businesses is about building resilience and sustainability in our communities.
Local food systems prioritize biodiversity, and they protect the ecosystems to promote sustainable practices and help keep the earth’s resources natural. Buying locally stimulates economic growth which fosters community and inclusivity. By supporting local, we keep the inputs, materials, and value chain resilient long-term. In addition, local producers and processors often have healthier and more nutritious food, which promotes better health, and aligns with the SDGs on ensuring safe and nutritious food for everyone.
Local food systems have demonstrated their ability to face external shocks (pandemics, climate events), which allows a stable food supply in times of crisis. Local food systems also offset environmental impacts and are reported to recirculate their costs back into the local economy more than imported products.
Supporting local food systems is more than addressing hunger and malnutrition, it’s a path for a resilient, sustainable, and inclusive future for all.
Happy World Food Day!