Vegans are often the butt of every joke in pop culture, from comments on their hair and hygiene to their fondness for eating “rabbit food.” Yet, vegans are more than their food choices; veganism is a form of activism. This article will explore five vegan groups fighting world hunger.
Veganism and Global Hunger
Plants produce 9.46 quadrillion calories each year, enough to feed every human 2,700 calories a day for a year, with 2 quadrillion calories leftover. If this is the case, why do people go hungry? Unfortunately, humans only consume a little over half of these calories, with 36% going to animal feed and 9% to industry. This leaves humans with only 5.6 trillion calories — well below the amount necessary to solve world hunger. When consuming animals, a staggering 89% of calories of these plant calories disappear when humans consume animals secondarily.
Moreover, animal-based diets require 1,000% more crop growth than plant-based diets. Moving to a plant-based diet creates 70% more room to grow crops, and, even accounting for population growth, could bring an end to global hunger.
Fortunately, many activism groups are working to fight global hunger and poverty while serving healthy vegan meals. Here are five vegan groups fighting world hunger.
5 Vegan Groups Fighting World Hunger
- Food Not Bombs: Anti-nuclear activists founded Food Not Bombs in 1980 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their goal was to spark an anti-violence movement against war, poverty, food waste and global hunger through education, protests and providing individuals with meals from recovered food waste. The organization feeds people in 1,000 cities in 65 countries around the world. Food Not Bombs believes that food is a right, not a privilege.
- World Central Kitchen: World Central Kitchen uses food to empower communities and provide relief during difficult times. Jose Andrews and his wife founded the organization to cook meals, including vegan and vegetarian ones, for those suffering from hunger abroad. The organization works by giving women in other countries access to cooking supplies, training chefs in Haiti to cook and providing healthy meals to families in need. WCK does international frontline work during natural disasters, providing over 3.7 million meals to victims of Hurricane Maria in 2o17.
- Food Empowerment Project: Lauren Ornelas, a woman of color, founded Food Empowerment Project as a way to educate people about making ethically sustainable food choices. Among fighting for animal rights, Food Empowerment Project also fights for racial equality, poverty reduction and environmental justice. By making ethically sustainable food choices, people can prevent deaths and empower those with fewer resources. Through its website, Food Empowerment Project provides the public with education about veganism, including access to sustainable, vegan recipes.
- Food for Life: In 1974, the founder of Srila Prabhupada told his yoga students to begin serving food to the hungry, believing that “No one within ten miles of a temple should go hungry.” From there, his yoga students began creating food kitchens around the world, creating the basis for Food for Life. The organization aims to promote Vedic values of equality by giving vegan meals to those in need and during times of crisis. To date, volunteers have served over 6 million meals since the organization’s start, amounting to nearly 20 tons of vegan food.
- Vegans Against World Hunger: Helen Wright and Julian Wilkinson founded Vegans Against World Hunger in 2019 as a way to fight global poverty and hunger through vegan meals in the U.K and abroad. The nonprofit works to create food forests that provide food stability, combat deforestation and establish food banks around the globe. While it is a new organization, Vegans Against World Hunger has a bright future ahead.
These vegan groups fighting world hunger show that vegans around the world are using their plant-based diets to help solve one of the quintessential issues facing the world today: global hunger. While the transition to a completely plant-based diet brings challenges, scientists see that it could be a step forward in fighting global poverty and hunger through ethical and sustainable food choices.
– Breanna Bonner