Oxfam and World Food Day 2012

Grow - Food.Justice.Planet

Global Hunger

You must know by now that the world has a hunger problem.

Do you remember your parents telling you to clean your plate because there were starving children in Africa. That correlation really didn’t make a lot of sense and yet we waste so much food from farm to store to home to table that shows just how incredible we are removed from the resources that go into producing the world’s food and what we are really throwing away (and even composting).

You ought to also know that hunger and the amount fo food are not intrinsically linked. No man, woman, or child should be hungry based on the current global food system and yet it simply ensures that nearly a billion of us will.

A Few Facts on Food Imbalances and Insecurity:

  • Our planet produces enough food for everyone, yet nearly one billion of us (1 in every 7 people) still go to bed hungry.
  • About a third of the food produced for our plates ends up lost or wasted between farm and fork.
  • One pound of ground beef for your family uses more than 28,000 cups of water to produce—that’s enough to fill 20 bathtubs to the brim, and then some!

Today is World Food Day 2012.

Food is still an integral part of our daily lives whether we have first-world problems over food deserts, GMOs, and “modern and inventive cuisine” we have the luxury to criticize OR developing world issues over walking miles for access to clean water and finding enough nutrition to keep our children starving to death. Broad generalizations for both and still real all the same.

OXFAM is supporting World Food Day in part by rolling out its GROW Method: a brand new way of thinking about food – and the way we buy, prepare, and eat it based on five simple principles.

GROW Method from OXFAM


What Can You Do Today?

Save the world? Change our food system with a single bound?

Take action to make simple changes in the way we grow, cook, eat and store our food to be more sustainable. That is all we can do and when we use our collective power to do so, the world will take notice.

What will you do today to celebrate World Food Day and start putting changes in motion for a more sustainable food system for the future?

This post was written for the Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of Mom Bloggers for Social Good members who focus on maternal health, children, hunger, and women and girls.

Resolve to Fight Climate Change in 2012

We have fewer than five years before irreversible damage will be done due to climate change. That is a frightening thought. The catastrophic effects are already reaching parts of the world and most of us have experienced the extreme weather that is becoming commonplace.

Climate Change - The Last Polar BearThe youth took their stand to fight in climate change 2011, let’s make 2012 the year that the mama’s make that stand. It is our turn to fight.

As humans we are often less likely to fight for ourselves, but when it is our children or grandchildren? That is when we become a force to be reckoned with!

Resolutions to Fight Climate Change

See where my word for the year is coming in handy? The following resolutions are the ones that I am personally going to work on for 2012. Join me or find your own climate change resolutions.

Meatless Monday or Vegan Thursday?

When you choose to go meatless or vegan at least once a week, you are committing to better health as well as reducing your impact on the environment.

Did you know that the average American eats approximately 45-50% more protein, most often in the form of an animal product, than is recommended? Eating a large amount of both red and processed meat increases your exposure to toxins and is linked to several health problems, including heart disease and cancer.

The impact of meat and animal products can be just as harsh, if not more, on the environment leading directly to climate change. The United Nations has declared that livestock may be one of the “most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems.” This is because:

  • Animals themselves create digestion-generated methane. It may sound funny, but methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. They also produce an enormous amount of manure, about 89,000 pounds per second, emitting more methane, antibiotics, and other nasty stuff into our groundwater and air.
  • Animal feed on the big farms is designed to fatten them up as quickly as possible relying on soybeans, corn, and other grains that need an enormous amount of resources. We are talking about millions of acres of land and pesticides, as well as billions of pounds of fertilizer – which has 300 times the effect of carbon dioxide when spread on the soil.
  • This means that over half of the world’s crops are designated for livestock. We are facing global hunger crises and we are losing more and more cropland in environmentally sensitive areas to livestock and land to feed livestock. The meat produced will not feed all the hungry, but it is posited that if we stopped subsidizing the feed crops ($45 billion in the last decade) there would be enough land to support more people.
  • We eat too much meat as a nation and we also waste too much. About 20% of all edible meat is thrown into landfills. Ensuring that all the resources, from raising the livestock to processing and transportation, that go into the production of meat is wasted.
  • Not all animal products are alike. In fact, the top three that have the worst impact are lamb, beef, and cheese.

The good news is that if everyone in the US chose to go meatless and/or vegan at least once a week is like taking 7.6 million cars off the road! That is huge. And if your family does it meat on a regular basis, there are plenty of ways to eat healthier and choose better meats. Look for: grass-fed beef, eggs, and dairy; certified organic; no antibiotics or hormones; local; sustainable seafood.

Support Your Local Farmer!

As you can tell from above, local farms that use sustainable practices are a healthier way to go, for both you and the planet. I chose to try a CSA basket last year and am looking to do a lot more this year at a local farm that we chose to support. Fruits and vegetables that are harvested the day I get them is amazing. Pasture-raised eggs and butter too. It is such an incredible difference than the ones that have to be shipped from a distant locale to the processing facility to the trucks and finally to the store. Plus we get to try lots of different things and in season.

My farmers use Georgic Farming techniques which are best for people and best for the land. They believe in building a long-term relationship with the people who eat their food. Farming is a way of life and they feel a responsibility to help build “a healthy, vibrant, free civilization.” Who wouldn’t want to support that?

If you aren’t ready to try a CSA, the Farmer’s Market is a great way to get what you need all from your local farmers. Plus, there are often yummy samples to try. It is great to actually get to talk to the growers and find out about their sustainability practices as a lot of small farmers can’t afford to get the certified organic label, but are organic just the same. Depending on the Farmer’s Market you choose, prices can be just as competitive as the grocery store.

Other Choices to Fight Climate Change

Those were my two resolutions to fight climate change, but I also want to work on several other eco-friendly changes that effect the impact I have on the environment: consume less, cut electricity use and waste, and reduce my time in the car. I think starting small is always the best way to go for permanent change. Then once, you have made one a habit and permanent, start trying another.

And you still have plenty of time to decide what your resolutions for the year might be. Chinese New Year is coming up on Jan. 23rd and provides all of us to reassess our fresh starts once more.

What are your best solutions and resolutions to fight climate change?

The green moms are coming together this month for the Green Moms Carnival to share our thoughts on Resolutions to Fight Climate Change. The carnival is hosted this month by Amber at Strocel.com.  The carnival goes live Monday, January 23, 2012.  Be sure to stop by then for all the great links and resources.

{And don’t forget to Click here to take survey to share your thoughts and enter to win a gift card.}