Americans seem to be obsessed with food. Each branch of the Allen County Public Library has hundreds of cookbooks, books on what to eat, what not to eat, how and when to eat it as well as books on how to grow food. We watch people on television prepare food that we can neither smell nor taste. We discuss our last meal, our next meal, our cravings and our dislikes. We even have books about how we digest food. Is there anything about food that we don’t like to talk about?
Yes. We don’t like to admit that we have plenty while others have none. There are many charitable organizations that try to give people around the world food security: the state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Many people in developing countries, but also in the United States, do not have food security. There is at least one day each year that we should talk about this. World Food Day is October 16th, in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It is celebrated widely around the world by many organizations concerned with food security. This year’s theme is Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth. The United Nations has named 2014 the International year of the family farm.
Did you know that more than 90% of the farms in the world are family farms? I find that fact surprising. It seems that it is harder and harder to keep family farms viable in the Midwest. Many of the farmers I know work a second job in order to be able to afford to farm. The farm pictured above is an Amish farm, so it is likely the children of the owner will also be farmers, but many children of farmers are leaving the farm. It seems as if the corporate farms have taken over the farming industry. But family farms still outnumber corporate farm. It is to the family farm that we look to feed the world. Not only do they produce more per acre with their farms, but growing indigenous products and maintaining biodiversity helps the environment as well as the food supply. More plants per acre process more CO2 and produce more oxygen.
We can support family farms in the United States by shopping at farmer’s markets and stores that purchase produce from family farms. World-wide we can support agencies that provide seeds and animals for families to begin their own farms. Please consider making a donation on World Food Day to an organization of your choice. The local food pantries always need donations and volunteers, and would appreciate your help. If you donate to a worldwide organization, please research the charity for its effectiveness and history before you donate. Enjoy your bounty on World Food Day, but take the time to reflect on food security for everyone and do something to make it happen.