World Vision has launched a new initiative to raise funds for a hunger free world. Through the #hungerfree movement, people can “double up” the cost of their meal and donate the money to fight global hunger.

Presently, more than 795 million people are food insecure, usually as a product of poverty. Food insecurity can mean not knowing where one’s next meal is coming from, not having access to foods with necessary nutrients or not being able to intake enough calories to maintain health.

For individuals facing food insecurity, it affects all aspect of daily life. Food insecurity affects the ability to focus in a school or workplace environment, have healthy physical and neural development and functioning. For mothers, pregnant women and children, these effects are compounded.

Fighting food insecurity and world hunger is a critical component to fighting global poverty. By ensuring people have enough to eat, they can have more energy and ability to be healthy, productive individuals, citizens and communities.

The mid-September launch of #hungerfree by World Vision is timed well for World Food Day 2015 on October 16. The #hungerfree program targets people in Kenya and South Sudan, countries whose food production is dependent on subsistence farming.

Furthermore, the prevalence of hunger in Kenya and South Sudan is also exacerbated by the disproportionate amount of unemployed young people, who are often displaced by conflict and/or climatic shocks.

The #hungerfree initiative works to promote agricultural development in order to implement technologies and provide support to increase food production. By promoting sustainable, long-term development, World Vision hopes to reduce the amount of food aid sent to combat hunger in Kenya and South Sudan and create circumstances that empower communities.

To support #hungerfree, all individuals and groups have to do is “double up” the cost of their meal. The extra funds would be donated to #hungerfree. So, if a meal costs $10, an individual would match the cost of their meal as a donation to World Vision.

The program runs until World Food Day 2015 on October 16. #hungerfree is being run through a partnership between World Vision and the Misfit Foundation, which works to promote donor participation via social media and technology. Currently, World Vision sends aid to 8 million people in 35 different countries annually.

Priscilla McCelvey

Sources: Hunger Free, World Vision
Photo:  World Vision


Each year, industrialized countries like the U.S. waste just about as much food as the total net amount of food that is produced in sub-Saharan Africa. That is 222 million tons wasted in comparison to 230 million produced.

In 2009, the amount of food wasted was equal to more than 50 percent of cereal crops produced globally, which is 2.3 billion tons of food.

The United States Department of Agriculture began its U.S. Food Waste Challenge in June of 2013. Along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, their goal was to acquire 1,000 supporters by 2020.

Some of the goals are to minimize food wasted in school meal programs, find ways to reuse food that is rejected from the market due to “un-sellability”, estimate the amount of food waste in the U.S. each year, and discover new technologies that decrease that amount.

The initiative is much needed, considering that the average American consumer throws away ten times the quantity of food that someone in Southeast Asia does. That number has grown by 50 percent since the 1970s.

On average, American wastes about 40 percent of all food. Waste takes place on farms, in grocery stores, in homes, and in landfills. That is equivalent to 20 pounds per person, $165 billion, and one fourth of all freshwater per year.

Studies show that if America reduced food waste by just 15 percent, the amount of food saved could feed more than 25 million people per year.

Fresh water is a precious resource all over the world, and 80 percent of it is used to produce food in the U.S. Food production also uses half of the country’s land and ten percent of the nation’s total energy budget.

Food that decays in landfills now makes up nearly 25 percent of total U.S. methane emissions.

Yolanda Soto is looking to dramatically reduce the amount of food wasted in America by saving 35-40 million pounds of produce every year. She does this by collecting food rejected at the U.S.- Mexican border and shipping it to needy families in the U.S. and Mexico.

More than 50 percent of food grown in Mexico and imported to the U.S. is inspected and rejected at the border near Nogales, Arizona. Each trailer carries about $70,000 worth of food.

Soto started Borderlands Food Bank in the 1990s after being shocked at how much edible produce is tossed despite the high percentage of people plagued by hunger.

The organization’s focus is “to provide fresh, nutritious produce to people in need, advocate for the hungry, and help eradicate malnutrition and hunger.”

Beginning with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, imported fruits and vegetables undergo inspection by around 40 different government agencies. Produce is taken out of commerce if it does not meet the USDA’s standards for quality and size.

“It’s perfectly good,” says Soto about the produce she redistributes, “but because it had some scarring, they couldn’t sell it. Who’s going to buy it?”

The truth is, American’s have this idea that in order to taste good, food has to look perfect. Anything less than perfect is rejected.

– Lillian Sickler


Sources: NPR, The Huffington Post Border Lands Food Bank National Resources Defense Council World Food Day U.S. Environmental Protection Agency USDA
Photo: Takepart

$1.25 a day
The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on a budget of $1.25 a day. To promote awareness of this alarming statistic, many people participate in challenges to see if they can go a certain number of days “living below the line” of poverty. Celebrities like Ben Affleck and Sophia Bush, just to name a few, have participated in the challenge.

For anyone willing to try the challenge, here is a list of 10 possible food combinations, each totaling $1.25 or slightly less.

1. 2.5 oz of store brand lunchmeat + 4 oz of apple sauce = $1.24

2. 1.1 oz bag of corn chips + one banana + half of a 6 oz container of store brand flavored yogurt = $1.24

3. Protein bar = $1.25
Yes, some protein or granola bars can consume an entire day’s budget for the extreme poverty challenge, but only when they are not on sale.

4. Ice cream sundae cup + one banana = $1.25

5. One apple + 6 oz flavored yogurt = $1.09

6. One loaf of store brand white bread + one banana = $1.24
For challenge participants looking to extend the experiment more than a day, buying a loaf of bread for 99 cents is an economically intelligent decision.

7. 10 oz package of sliced American cheese + one chocolate chip cookie = $1.25
Much like the loaf of bread, a package of store brand sliced cheese, priced at $1, can last multiple days.

8. One candy bar + one quarter of a box of frozen spinach + half of a 6 oz container of plain yogurt = $1.24

9. One cereal cup + half of a cucumber = $1.23

10. Half of a can of chicken and rice soup + one bagel + half of an apple = $1.13

A common misinterpretation of the $1.25 statistic is that one American dollar will buy a lot more in an impoverished area than it would in the U.S. The conversion has already been taken into account, though, and tailored for the U.S. to understand better. So, for example, in Kenya, people living in extreme poverty are surviving on the food that approximately 56 cents worth of American currency would buy in their markets.

 — Emily Walthouse 

Sources: The World BankPeapodGiving What We CanLiving on OneHome Shop
Photo: Flickr

World Food Day, celebrated on October 16, was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1979 to encourage activism and campaigns to end world hunger. For the first 30 years of the commemoration of World Food Day, the United States hosted an annual World Food Day Teleconference. This event included renowned experts in a wide range of fields including agriculture, economics, environmental science and human rights, and a global hunger-related theme. This year, the chosen theme is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition,” and many prominent food and packaging brands, including Dow Chemical Company, Unilever, Beaulieu Vineyard and Nouri, have taken initiative to help ameliorate world hunger.

Dow Chemical Company, the world’s second-largest chemical manufacturer, is investing in packaging practices and materials that allow food to survive its journey better. Diego Donoso, business president of Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, stated that his company is “committed to creating innovative technologies in packaging and collaborating with industry partners to minimize food waste and ensure that more food reaches more kitchen tables around the globe.” Dow has also used its website and social media profiles in order to educate the public about sustainable food packaging.

Unilever, a company that owns Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Hellman’s mayonnaise, Lipton tea and Vaseline lotion, is motivating its employees to partake in the fight against world hunger. Unilever’s CEO, Paul Poman, has worked with other companies to raise awareness about sustainable food supply and global hunger. In addition to this effort, Unilever has created a “meal for meal” program that requires Unilever to donate the cost of a meal to the United Nation’s World Food Programme every time an employee buys lunch.

Beaulieu Vineyard, a Napa Valley wine producer, is using its influence to educate poor families about how to maintain a balance between affordable and nutritious food. Beaulieu Vineyard is hosting a “Give & Give Back Chef Challenge” in which renowned chefs compete to create nutritious and affordable meals with basic ingredients. This contest aims to raise awareness about world hunger and teach needy families how to best use the resources they have. Beaulieu has also partnered with food donation organizations to donate food to families in need.

The efforts made by these food packaging and producing companies give everyday individuals an alternative opportunity to get involved in the fight against global poverty. Companies like Unilever and Dow also educated individuals about the importance of food sustainability. Without methods of maintaining the freshness of donated food, many poor families will become susceptible to food-borne illnesses.

– Lienna Feleke-Eshete

Sources: Food Production Daily, Dow Chemical Company