You can help build a world free of hunger
World hunger is still on the rise. Globally, 690 million people go to bed on an empty stomach every night. This has to change, according to UN Secretary-general António Guterres who addressed the participants of a “People’s Summit” he organized in Italy from July 26 to 28, 2021.
The UN invited youth representatives, farmers, indigenous peoples, civil society, researchers, private sector, policy leaders and ministers of agriculture, environment, health, nutrition and finance, among other participants. The event aims to solicit ideas “how we must address hunger by transforming our food systems.” The UN chief needs the inputs before he convenes a global Food Systems Summit in September during the annual meeting of world leaders at the General Assembly “to urgently make a change.”
In a written message that was read to forum participants, Pope Francis called the “scandal” of hunger a “crime that violates basic human rights.” He decried the existence of hunger in a world that can produce enough food for all. He said the Covid-19 pandemic has “confronted us with the systemic injustices that undermine our unity as a human family.”
The pontiff added that while new technologies are developed to increase the capacity to produce food on Earth, people continue to “exploit nature to the point of sterilization, thus expanding not only external deserts but also internal spiritual deserts.”
The Food and Agriculture Organization, a UN agency that is spearheading international efforts to defeat global hunger, said that while millions of people are dying of hunger, about one third of all food produced globally goes to waste.
“We all have a part to play in reducing food loss and waste, not only for the sake of the food but also for the resources that go into it,” FAO said. That’s why the agency is partnering with governments, international organizations, the private sector and civil society to raise awareness on the issues and to implement actions to address the root of the problem.
For many people, FAO said, food waste has become a habit: Buying more food than they need, letting fruits and vegetables spoil at home, or taking larger portions than they can eat. These habits put extra strain on our natural resources and damage our environment. “When we waste food, we waste the labor, effort, investment and precious resources [like water, seeds, feed, etc.] that go into producing it, not to mention the resources that go into transporting and processing it.”
FAO gives valuable tips we can do to avoid wasting food:
Buy only what you need. Plan your meals. Make a shopping list and stick to it, and avoid impulse buys. Not only will you waste less food, you’ll also save money!
Store food wisely. Move older products to the front of your cupboard or fridge and new ones to the back. Use airtight containers to keep food fresh in the fridge and make sure packets are closed.
Understand food labeling. There’s a big difference between “best before” and “use-by” dates. Sometimes food is still safe to eat after the “best before” date, whereas it’s the “use-by” date that tells you when it is no longer safe to eat.
Love your leftovers. If you don’t eat everything you make, freeze it for later or use the leftovers as an ingredient in another meal.
Put your food waste to use. Instead of throwing away your food scraps, compost them. This way you are giving nutrients back to the soil and reducing your carbon footprint.
Support local food producers. By buying local produce, you support small farmers and small businesses in your community. You also help fight pollution by reducing delivery distances for trucks and other vehicles.
Sharing is caring. Donate food that would otherwise be wasted or thrown away.
FAO said little changes to our daily habits can make a huge global impact. “Wasting less, eating better and adopting a sustainable lifestyle are key to building a world free of hunger.”