Well, here’s the thing – I thought that I would celebrate World Food Day by eating widely and variedly from the cuisines of the world, but then I looked it up and this is what I discovered:
“World Food Day, October 16th, is a worldwide event designed to increase awareness, understanding and informed, year-around action to alleviate hunger.”
I really recommend taking some time to check out the information on the website – there is simply too much there to cover in this small space. There are numerous events around the world to celebrate World Food Day – you can check out the schedule and get more information here. Myself, I’m kind of partial to the “Hunger, Biofuels and Climate Change” event sponsored by the Friends of the Earth at the U.S. Capitol Building. But overall, I have to say I am really pleased that, in the midst of this blog, our grand tribute to good food and, let’s face it, hedonism, we can take the time out to remember that millions of people around the world simply can’t get enough to eat, to survive. [Sorry about all the comma splices and subordinate clauses]
World Food Day isn’t just about people going hungry, but it’s also about our impact on the world around us. After all, if we weren’t so busy destroying the life-giving planet that sustains us, maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to make sure that people have enough to eat. If we weren’t paving over agricultural lands, clearcutting rainforests and stripmining oil sands, maybe we would be able to support the ecosystems and microclimates that provide habitats for our food … and for us.
One thing that we can do to help support food security is to support small local producers and eat locally. In doing so, we not only ensure the production of high quality fresh local produce, but we reduce our carbon footprint by reducing the amount of energy required to transport our food from place of production to our tables.
Today, I am doing my part and eating locally grown organic foods. My salad is from SunWing greenhouses, on Oldfield Road in Victoria, BC.
SunWing is my very favorite place to shop for food – the quality of the produce is exquisite. Every time I walk in there, I have to stop to savor the delicious aromas of the wonderful variety of tomatoes. Tonight’s salad is sporting supersweets on top of a bed of watercress, butter lettuce and red leaf lettuce with red and yellow bell peppers just exploding with flavour and a lovely juicy cucumber to mellow out the intensity of the flavours. No dressing wanted to mess with these fresh beautiful tastes. I am thanking my lucky stars that I live in a part of the world where such amazing food is so readily available! Not a thing in this dish came from more than 5 km away! I am grateful to be able to say that my family eats like this the majority of the time. I wish this could be the case for everyone. Sadly, for most families, food like this is prohibitively expensive. I think there is something profoundly wrong with a world in which highly processed garbage foods like bologna and Hamburger Helper are cheaper to purchase and more readily available than fresh fruits and veggies that come straight out of the dirt beneath our feet (well, SunWing grows a lot of their stuff hydroponically, but they don’t use pesticides and they are local).
But wait – the problem wouldn’t be because we are paving and poisoning all the dirt would it? Where I live, we have some of the best arable land in the country. And it is a constant struggle to protect it from development. Farming is not profitable and every day is a fight against the encroachment of urban sprawl. It is a symptom, in my humble opinion, of the skewed values of our post-industrial society.
Besides eating locally, I can try to do my part by working my small farm to grow food, including working in my orchard to develop a strong, healthy crop of apples that I can donate to the local food bank. I can try to spend a little extra at the grocery store to make a donation to the local food bank to buy healthy foods for families who cannot afford them. I can try to ride my bike to work instead of driving my car as often as I can. I can make sure that I remember to turn out the lights and reduce the amount of energy my family uses in our home. I can compost, recycle, use cloth diapers and encourage others to do the same. I can try to make informed choices about how and where I spend my money so that I can avoid supporting companies that are busy destroying our planet to make a quick buck.
What can you do? Every little bit helps.