Breadfruit Could Solve World Hunger
What is breadfruit? Although it sounds fictitious, it is actually a real food with the potential to contribute to the eradication of world hunger.

Breadfruit is shaped like a football and has a prickly texture. The fruit grows on trees and is highly nutritious. It is not well known because many people find it bland and tasteless.

However, there are 6 reasons why food critics should stop turning up their noses at this fruit and they all pertain to helping starving people.

  1. Breadfruit is native to the Pacific Islands and grows best in sunny and humid climates. About 80 percent of the world’s hungry live in tropical and subtropical regions. Because these regions are best for these trees, the fruit has the potential to feed thousands of hungry people.
  2. Breadfruit trees grow easily and begin to bear fruit within three to five years. They are not high maintenance and continue to produce fruit for decades. On average, larger trees can produce between 400-600 fruits while smaller trees can produce approximately 100 fruits.
  3. Breadfruit is nutritious. It is high in fiber, carbohydrates, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, thiamine, and niacin.
  4. Breadfruit can be prepared in a variety of ways including fried, frozen, fermented, pickled, boiled, baked, and roasted. It can also be ground into flour.
  5. Currently, there are pilot projects working to distribute the fruit to places in need such as Honduras and the Caribbean. The Breadfruit Institute in Hawaii is a member of the Alliance to End Hunger. With their hard work and the work of other organizations such as Trees That Feed Foundation, breadfruit has fed people in Jamaica, Kenya, and Haiti.
  6. There are many fans advocating for the fruit. Olelo pa’a Faith Ogawa, a private chef says, “I feel it’s the food of the future. If I were to speak to the breadfruit spirit, it would tell me: ‘Grow me! Eat me! It can feed villages!’”

Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: Business Insider, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post

Food Companies Leading in the Fight Against World Hunger - BORGEN
One out of nine people in the world go to bed hungry according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The United Nations World Food Programme is dedicated to reducing global hunger by offering food aid to developing countries in need. WFP has provided food for more than 90 million people. WFP partners with and receives funding from a few well-known food companies.

Yum! brands started the World Hunger Relief campaign as the largest consumer outreach campaign on the hunger issue. It is the world’s largest restaurant company with more than 40,000 restaurants in 125 countries. It is leading in the fight against global hunger through the campaign, as well as through the mobilization of the 1.5 million employees as advocates for global hunger relief.

Yum! brands’ World Hunger Relief campaign has raised $100 million for WFP since 2007 with the help of global spokesperson Christina Aguilera. Yum! brands include Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

PepsiCo is another partner of WFP. The company is more well known for its food and beverages than for the philanthropic PepsiCo Foundation. PepsiCo Foundation has donated $3.5 million to WFP to produce a food product made of chickpeas to help treat malnutrition in Ethiopia.

Unilever partners with WFP to make people more aware of global hunger through fundraising and campaigns as well as educational plans. They have targeted their consumer base in 13 countries in their campaigns against global hunger. Unilever has also assisted WFP in identifying what are the nutritional needs of the children to better help them.

Kellogg’s, though not a partner with WFP, does important work to fight global hunger. Kellogg’s donates over $20 million per year in food products for disaster relief and hunger. The company also has an initiative called “Breakfast for Better Days.” The initiative is focused on alleviating hunger specifically in South Africa, pledging to feed 25,000 children every school day in 2015. The company will dedicate one billion servings of Kellogg’s snacks and cereal for global poverty alleviation by 2016 and has donated nearly eight million breakfasts to FoodBank South Africa already.

An increase in awareness of global hunger has also increased the number of food companies coming on board to bring global hunger relief.

Iona Brannon

Sources: World Food Programme 1, World Food Programme 2, Hunger to Hope, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Kellogg
Photo: Flickr



Of the challenges of the 21st century, one of the largest in terms of magnitude and prevalence is food insecurity. The term food insecurity is used loosely to define inconsistent access to food, due to limitations of resources.

The issue is unfortunately highly prevalent in not only the developing world but in the United States as well. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1 in 6 Americans faces food insecurity. This translates to roughly 50 million Americans in total.

These staggering numbers are indicative of what most of us are already quite familiar with: the issue of global hunger. However, the interpretation of its causes, and consequently the approach to its solutions, has been controversial. Many scientists, particularly biotechnologists, regard higher food production as the solution; and in many instances, it is effective.

As a result of agronomical developments, the world today is producing more food per inhabitant than ever before. However, the strides made in scientific innovation have not paralleled the alleviation of global hunger.

In fact, the implications of these discrepancies lie in the inequality of food distribution. For many people, food remains unavailable despite the copious amounts of food that go to waste each day. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost 35 million tons of food were wasted in the United States in 2013. Estimates by the National Resource Defense Council have estimated that 40% of all food produced in America is wasted.

To tackle the issue of wasted food, a Seattle-based startup has come up with a creative solution based on smartphone technology: Leftover Swap. Leftover Swap is a smartphone app that allows users to share their leftover food with others before it goes to waste. The users can snap a photo of their leftovers, and upload it on the app with a location tag. Anyone looking for food can then find all the shared food in their location. To make the app safer for users, it allows for instant messaging within the app where users can agree on a location to pick up food. The app also does not allow any user to charge for their leftover food.

The benefits and the range of applications for the app remain dubious: people who own smartphones are not necessarily the ones in dire need of free food provision. However, as smartphones become cheaper, it may be possible to reach marginalized populations. Moreover, it can be a way for food recovery networks to salvage more food that would have otherwise gone to a landfill.

Many people are also concerned about the degree of safety of food. The Health Department does not evaluate this food, as it is not technically being sold. In spite of the app’s continual reminders to only share food one would eat itself, the hygienic status of the food cannot be positively reaffirmed. The co-founder of the app, Dan Newman, contends that there is a certain degree of faith that needs to be put into this effort, as would be the case if one was being given food as a guest.

The app is to date the only app of its kind and faces some hurdles before it can reach the objectives of sustainability and food equality that it intends. However, it is a step in the right direction, and as interest in the app increases, it is more than likely that we will see improvements both from this app and potential competitors.

Atifah Safi

Sources: Washington Post, NPR, , NRDC, Feeding America, USDA, Leftover Swap
Photo: Newsana

World’s Poorest Need Just $160 Per Year to Eradicate Hunger
A new report released last week by the United Nations has predicted that only $160 per year for each individual currently living in extreme poverty is necessary to eradicate hunger in the world by 2030.

The joint report, which was prepared by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Program (WFP), and International Fund for Agricultural Development, argued that such funding to eradicate hunger should be provisioned through both the transfer of cash and certain investments considered supportive of impoverished areas.

In order to meet the current base poverty line of $1.25 per day stipulated by the World Bank, the UN hopes that cash transfers will assist in the immediate elimination of hunger. Officials estimate that this undertaking would cost $116 billion per year, of which $75 billion would be designated to rural areas.

The UN has also estimated that an additional $151 billion per year will be necessary to fund “pro-poor” investment projects designed to support the predicted decreases in the frequency of poverty while also encouraging sustainability. Such endeavors could include the expansion of irrigation systems, the construction of more effective sanitation systems or infrastructural repair.

The FAO stated within their report: “Eradicating world hunger sustainably by 2030 will require an estimated additional $267 billion per year on average for investments in rural and urban areas and social protection so that poor people have access to food and can improve their livelihoods.”

The FAO estimates that over 800 million people across the earth still do not have access to adequate and sustainable food resources. A large portion of these people have been found to live in rural areas, a geographical prevalence which has caused many organizations to shift the focus of development projects towards rural regions in recent years.

Noting the necessity for increased efforts to eradicate hunger, José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the FAO, recently stated: “If we adopt a ‘business as usual’ approach, by 2030, we would still have more than 650 million people suffering from hunger.”

Graziano also argued, “The message of the report is clear: Given that this ($267 billion) is more or less equivalent to 0.3 percent of the global GDP, I personally think it is a relatively small price to pay to end hunger.”

The Sustainable Development Goals, which are new objectives designed by the United Nations to replace the outdated Millennium Development Goals, will be completed this fall and currently have created 17 different goals regarding global development. The second Sustainable Development Goal is focused on the issues of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

In regards to the structure of plans outlined by the new report, Graziano stated: “We are championing an approach that combines social protection with additional targeted investments in rural development, agriculture and urban areas that will chiefly benefit the poor.”

James Thornton

Sources: Business Day Online, Reuters, India Times
Photo: NDTV


In April 2015, actress Gwyneth Paltrow accepted the #FoodBankNYCChallenge, which required her to live on a food budget of $29 for one week. Now she reflects on her experience with hunger and the challenge.

Celebrity chef and founder of the challenge, Mario Batali, says, “For one week, walk in someone else’s shoes. Knowledge is power, and by truly understanding what our friends and neighbors are going through, we will be better equipped to find solutions.”

Concerned with the cuts Congress was making to food stamps, Batali sought to encourage people around the United States to experience the difficulty of living on a miniscule allowance.

In addition to nominating Gwyneth Paltrow, he nominated celebrities Sting and Deborah Harry, neither of which participated but donated to the World Food Bank.

Soon after accepting the challenge, Paltrow snapped a picture of her purchases for the week. The caption read, “This is what $29 gets you at the grocery store—what families on SNAP (food stamps) have to live on for a week.” The picture showed brown rice, black beans, a carton of eggs and vegetables.

Her food choices received criticism, especially because the items did not offer the average person’s weekly worth of calories. However, her picture showed how difficult it is to eat healthy while living on food stamps.

Chief marketing and communications officer for the Food Bank of New York City, Silvia Davi, says, “Serving fresh produce is a very big part of what our program offers to families. What we distribute on a regular basis is fresh produce, a lot of the things that were in her image and in her photo.”

Paltrow admits that within four days she quit the challenge and ate chicken and fresh vegetables.

Reflecting on her four-day experience with hunger, Paltrow says, “My perspective has been forever altered by how difficult it was to eat wholesome, nutritious food on that budget, even for just a few days—a challenge that 47 million Americans face every day, week, and year.”

By walking in the shoes of the millions who survive on food stamps, Paltrow is grateful that she can afford to feed herself and her children healthy food.

She says, “I know hunger doesn’t always touch us all directly—but it does touch us all indirectly.”

Most importantly, Paltrow recognizes that hunger impacts millions of people around the world. She declares, “Let’s all do what we can to make this a basic human right and not a privilege.”

In addition to participating in the challenge, Paltrow contributed $75,000 to the Food Bank of New York City.

– Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: Daily News, Upstart Business Journal, Huffington Post, E News, Food Bank for New York City, The Wrap
Photo: ABC Today

Founder of BRAC Wins World Food Prize-TBP

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed has won the 2015 World Food Prize for his incomparable efforts in reducing both poverty and hunger primarily in Bangladesh and several other nations. BRAC, Abed’s organization founded in 1972, stands for the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee. BRAC was created to help alleviate Bangladesh from economic struggles brought on by a war with Pakistan and destruction from a tropical cyclone. Since its inception, BRAC has blossomed into the largest nongovernmental organization on the planet.

Abed was selected as the 2015 recipient of the World Food Prize specifically because of BRAC’s unprecedented success in pulling people out of poverty. According to The Guardian, BRAC has alleviated approximately 150 million people from poverty since it began in 1972.

The organization’s effectiveness comes from an extreme hands-on approach spearheaded by Abed himself. He is quoted as saying, “We went to every household in Bangladesh teaching mothers how to make oral rehydration fluid at home to combat diarrheal deaths. That also made it possible for BRAC to become a very large organization very quickly and to expand our programs throughout the country.” By taking a grassroots approach, Abed has integrated BRAC with the everyday problems of poverty and drawn out solutions.

What sets BRAC apart from other relief agencies, as well as makes Abed a unique individual, is the empowerment it gives to those in poverty. Specifically, BRAC gives the most power to women and young girls.

Abed explains this rationale in an article published by Agri-Pulse. He said, “In situations of extreme poverty, it is usually the women in the family who have to make do with scarce resources. Only by putting the poorest, the women in particular, in charge of their own lives and destinies will absolute poverty and deprivation be removed from the face of the earth.” Abed’s thinking has been a clear success as BRAC has only become more effective in the 43 years it has been serving the poor around the world.

– Diego Catala

Sources: Agri Pulse, The Guardian
Photo: World Food Price


Currently, the number of people who face hunger is around 750 million people. The number of people living in hunger has been reduced by about 167 million people in the past 10 years. In the past year alone, the number of hungry people dropped by 10 million people.

This is incredible progress!

One of the main focuses of the Millennium Development Goals is to eradicate global hunger. Global hunger has dropped considerably, and this is a moment to recognize all that has been accomplished.

In South America, less than five percent of the population faces hunger. The number of hungry people has dropped by 50% in the past 25 years. Central and South East Asia, as well as Northern Africa, have seen a drop in the number of hungry individuals.

However, 44 percent of countries did not accomplish the Millennium Development Goal of reducing hunger by 50 percent in the last 15 years. South Asia still has 281 million people who suffer from hunger. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 23 percent of people do not get enough food.

Political instability in Sub-Saharan Africa may contribute to why hunger is still a problem. Twenty-four countries in Africa are currently experiencing food crises. This number is up from the 12 countries who were experiencing food crises in 1990.

Recently, bountiful food harvests and low oil prices have made the price of food drop considerably. These factors could have played a role in why hunger has been dropping.

Beyond economic growth, countries also have to focus on inclusive growth. For example, social investments, such as cash transfer programs, employment projects, food distribution schemes, healthcare and education could all reduce the number of hungry people.

Food is a basic necessity. It is extraordinary news that global hunger has dropped below 800 million. We need to continue to prioritize eradicating world hunger. If we continue progressing in this way, it is conceivable that world hunger could be eliminated.

– Ella Cady

Sources: Reuters, Deseret News,
Photo: Flickr

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, ranking behind paper, food is the second largest source of waste.

Twenty-five-year-old Komal Ahmad, who graduated from the University of California at Berkley in 2012, is solving this problem by feeding millions of people with her phone app, Feeding Forward.

In 2011, Ahmad was approached by a homeless man who asked her for money. Instead of cash, Ahmad offered to take him to lunch. As they ate, she discovered he was a returned soldier who, after some bad luck, now made his living begging on the streets.

Ahmad was overwhelmed by his situation. Determined to help others like him, she started a program at UC Berkley where cafeterias donated excess food to homeless shelters. Soon after, the program expanded to 140 colleges across the United States.

But Ahmad didn’t stop with the food recovery program.

“Imagine a football stadium filled to its brim,” Ahmad says. “That’s how much food goes wasted every single day in America.”

In 2012, Ahmad collaborated with a developer and they launched the Feeding Forward mobile app in 2013. The app originally targeted restaurant owners and event planners in San Francisco who could use the app to donate leftover food to homeless shelters. By entering their location into the app, a Feeding Forward driver picks up the leftover food and delivers it to shelters in the area.

In addition to the app, Feeding Forward has its own website.

Since Feeding Forward launched, Ahmad has recovered more than 691,896 pounds of food, which fed more than 570,000 people.

Now the CEO of her nonprofit organization, Feeding Forward, Ahmad says, “We need to figure out how to establish sustainable solutions that can distribute the food we already have faster and get it to people who need it faster and safely.”

Ahmad’s mobile app is proof that quick and successful distribution can feed the hungry.

In early June 2015, Feeding Forward partnered with the Bite Silicon Food Valley food-tech conference in Santa Clara, California. Over the course of three days, celebrity chefs prepared a wide range of meals. After the event, Feeding Forward collected 5,135 pounds of food which fed more than 4,279 people in eight different homeless shelters.

Around the world, the Feeding Forward app is praised and desired.

“I didn’t expect it to blow up,” Ahmad says. “People as far as Nairobi, Bangalore and Hong Kong have wrote us asking us to expand Feeding Forward to their cities and countries. They’re like, ‘Tell me what I can do to get it here.’”

The mobile app is currently being revamped. It will be available again in August 2015. The website, however, is still up and running.

Feeding Forward offers hope for other countries struggling with hunger and food distribution.

Ahmad says, “These are huge cities that have absurd amounts of food thrown away every day. We are trying to make the Bay Area a case study to say ‘Hey, if it works here, it can work anywhere.’”

Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: CNET, Daily News, Feeding Forward, News Everyday
Photo: Architect Africa

history of hungerThe presence of chronic hunger and the highest rates of obesity is one of the greatest paradoxes of our time. According to a study done at Ohio State University, “It is part of a single global food crisis, with economic, geopolitical, and environmental dimensions. It is perhaps the starkest, most basic way in which global inequality is manifest.” While world hunger is proliferated by unequal resource distribution, the mechanisms of interconnected societies offer viable tools to alleviate suffering.

A myriad of non-governmental actors exist today to combat world hunger, including the World Food Program, Action Against Hunger, Doctors Without Borders and the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees. While these international mechanisms have developed to meet recent needs, world hunger has existed throughout the course of human history.


World Hunger: Tale as Old as Time


There have been a variety of food systems over time. For a large portion of history, humans hunted or grew food for their own consumption, and food traveled only short distances from source to stomach. This does not mean, however, that long distance food exchanges were not present. From spice trades to acquiring “exotic” foods from colonies, a “mercantile food system” was present from 1500-1750. This was replaced by the “settler-colonial” regime during the nineteenth century in which white settler colonies traded luxury and basic foods and goods in return for European manufactured goods. The “productivist” food regime emerged after World War II which was characterized by food industries and the re-emergence of European and American agricultural protectionism. The idea that the entire world can experience a “food crisis” was coupled with the idea that one can foment a world free from hunger.

A neoliberal food regime has developed since the 1980s. Characterized by multinational and corporate power, this system has promoted a “global diet” that is high in sugars and fats at the expense of traditional or local diets. This trend in food is caused in part by globalization, and creates an intricate relationship between the individual and multinational corporations, local and distant farms and the environment.

Chronic hunger and food security are inherently connected. Citizens of the most industrial places on the planet still experience hunger on a massive scale. According to the vice president of the Poverty and Prosperity Program of the Center for American Progress: “people making trade-offs between food that’s filling but not nutritious…(this) may actually contribute to obesity.” Regarding larger scale suffering, extreme causes of world hunger include poverty, powerlessness, armed conflict, environmental overload and discrimination.

While hunger is understood differently across time, space and culture, it is important to alleviate this problem of chronic hunger. One must investigate sustainable solutions to the root causes of the problem, and these long-term solutions should be implemented by local peoples.

Neti Gupta

Sources: Freedom from Hunger, National Geographic, Ohio State University
Photo: Flickr

food riot
Throughout history, food shortages have led to civil unrest. Most notably in recent history, the Global Food Crisis of 2008 spurred an outbreak of food riots around the world. Now, with food prices increasing at the highest rate since 2008, political leaders are concerned that a similar outbreak of food riots may be on its way.

In the beginning of 2014, international food prices rose 4 percent. In the time between January and April, food prices spiked to a level just short of their all-time high in August 2012. The rapid increase is similar to the surge in food prices in 2007 and 2008 that led to so many food riots.

If history repeats itself, the recent food price hikes give government officials adequate reason to worry.

The difficulty with monitoring food riots is that the term is loosely defined. In broad terms, a food riot is some sort of public disturbance raised in response to food’s availability. Interpretations of this definition, however, are as varied as the riots themselves, leading to a great deal of confusion surrounding the topic of food riots.

How severe must the disturbance be to earn the title of a riot? A food riot is generally a violent protest. Participants have been known to harm other citizens or police forces. In return, police forces respond with brutality to control the situation. Some news articles will only cite occasions that have resulted in casualties as food riots.

Other news sources believe that any public response to food-related issues falls in this category. They report even the most peaceful demonstrations as food riots.

Where is the proper balance? How can the media successfully educate the public on these world events without an accepted definition of a riot?

In the wake of recent food pricing inclines, The World Bank has developed a widely accepted definition to guide examinations of these conflicts. Their 2014 Food Price Watch defines a food riot as “a violent, collective unrest leading to a loss of control, bodily harm or damage to property.”

The definition has helped The World Bank determine which episodes in the recent past were actually food riots. A database of food riots between 2007 and 2014 has since been collected, revealing that 51 riots have taken place in 37 countries.

The cause of food riots also prompts confusion. Increasing food prices are not the only cause of riots. In Vietnam, decreasing prices of coffee have resulted in violent outbreaks in the past. A decline in value of major exports can have just as strong of an impact on a nation as unavailability of food and other resources.

The World Bank has also established guidelines for the causes of food riots, saying that they are “motivated by a lack of food availability, accessibility or affordability,” whether directed at the government or other groups.

There are two types of food riots. In a Type 1 incident, the riots are directed at the government. Distress takes its form in public protests outside of government buildings, often in response to rising food prices. It is the most common form of food riot reported in the media because their causes often have international implications.

In a Type 2 episode, rioters demonstrate near food suppliers because they are not politically driven. They attack supply trucks, stores or refugee camps. These riots are more locally focused and occur during times of drastic food shortages.

Defining food riots helps aid organizations determine how to best help areas experiencing food shortages to prevent violent outbreaks. Government officials know how to respond to rising food prices by studying food riots of the past. By alleviating causes of global hunger, aid organizations and government officials can increase peace in underprivileged nations.

– Emily Walthouse

Sources: Food Price Watch, Global Issues, Slate, The World Bank
Photo: NPR