925 million people. 21 days. 5 writers. Joining forces and uniting voices to help those living with hunger. Together we embark on a journey to learn, share, explore, write and make whatever effort we can to help reduce the global catastrophic crisis of world hunger.
Welcome to day one of twenty-one days for world hunger. We hope that you too, in your own way, will join us on this journey.
When I was a kid, my parents harped on me to eat everything on my plate, because children in Ethiopia were starving. I must confess that even though I felt for all those kids, I didn’t really make the connection. While I rarely had a problem finishing my plate, on liver and lima beans night I didn’t have much compassion for those starving kids. That dinner was invariably and surreptitiously fed to the dog. While I may have gone to bed with the slightest tinge of hunger on those particular nights, I always knew there would be a meal the next morning. Now in 2010 I am a different person and the world is a different place. Now it is well known there are children all over the world – even in our communities – who are living with hunger. Now the notion of wasting food feels nearly criminal to me. Now I see how the food choices I make impact not only my own health and well-being but also the health and well-being of hungry children.
Last March I started a journey that I called a Souljourn for World Hunger. I spent 21 days researching, interviewing and writing about the plight of world hunger. I ate a world hunger diet amounting to one-third to one-half of my normal caloric intake, and consisting of the main staples of the world’s poorest. It was a challenging process and even upon completion took me several weeks to recover. It began as a journey of the soul and transformed into something much greater. It opened my eyes to the far-reaching impact our individual choices have on the world at large. At the time I began my Souljourn, the 2009 UN statistics showed 1.02 billion people in the world were living in hunger. Recent UN statistics show the number of people living in hunger is now at 925 million.
While I felt a momentary sense of relief seeing the new figures, I was shaken back to reality that 925 million is still an outrageous number. This is unacceptable and no time to become complacent. Sadly, I learned these numbers do not reflect a new and hopeful downward trend. According to The Globe and Mail, “Rome-based FAO said the figures for 2010 do not include the millions of hungry people in three ‘emergency’ areas: Pakistan; Haiti and the Sahel in Africa.”
In an article entitled UN warned of major new food crisis at emergency meeting in Rome, the Guardian discussed how environmental disasters, speculative investors and rising costs of staple foods may be contributing to a potential new food crisis
There is no time like the present to take action for those living with hunger, and this is precisely the intention of 21 Days for World Hunger – to learn about it, write about it and do something about it.
In May, Natasha (Tasha) Burge embarked on her own Souljourn for world hunger. She spent seven days exploring world hunger through the lens of a vegan woman’s rights activist. Her compelling articles are definitely worth a look-see.
Since May, Tasha and I have been in dialogue about joining forces, and we’ve been fortunate enough to connect with a few additional writers who share our common interest. And now there are five Conducive Chronicle writers together in this movement to help, each in our own way, alleviate the pain and suffering of 925 million people.
It is an honor for me to introduce my fellow writers. Natasha Burge rejoins the effort to further our combined cause. Tasha, a life-long expat living in Saudi Arabia, PhD student, women’s rights activist, and human companion to her unruly animal herd will be focusing on women’s rights as it relates to world hunger. Tasha, a master blogger of The Voracious Vegan, is dedicated to social rights activism. She will be sharing on Days 2 and 3. Her specific goal is to give a voice to women suffering from chronic hunger, to shine a spotlight on the fact that women suffer disproportionately from poverty induced crises, and that they are also the key to solving them. By empowering women, we can help change the world!
On Days 4 – 8, we get to hear from Elizabeth Maginnis who believes deeply that each is on this Earth for a specific purpose, which cannot be accomplished without basics like food and clean drinking water. Elizabeth sees our duty as human beings to support our fellow souls on their individual journeys. This includes providing them with the necessities of life, so they may fulfill their purpose for being here. Her goal is to enlighten people to the possibilities that change in food attitudes and habits by the more affluent people and nations can have a profound effect on the less fortunate among us.
Elizabeth will concentrate her contributions on mindful farming and eating and how these behaviors impact the world food supply. She will discuss the impact of urban farm markets on the health of inner city residents and the efforts being made to help people in “underdeveloped” nations grow their own food.
Amy Considine, a married, working eco mom of three who has a goal to help spread awareness of the importance of a clean food supply for the health and well-being of all people, will be sharing her passions on Days 9 – 12. Amy will show how the way in which we feed ourselves has far-reaching implications into nearly every aspect of our lives. And, if we all did a little bit to help, it could cumulatively make a tremendous difference in this world.
Specifically, Amy will focus on the large food-producing corporations known as Big Agra, and she will discuss the prevalence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our every day food supply. Amy believes that in the pursuit of mass production and large profits, Big Agra corporations have poisoned consumers with unnecessary additives, chemicals, hormones and bacteria — leading to many of the current societal illnesses and diseases– and not surprisingly skyrocketing health care costs. While Big Agra claims to be an essential participant in feeding the world’s growing population, the negative consequential impacts of Big Agra in many ways contradicts this claim.
Jessica Hullinger will enlighten us with her New York metropolitan experience on Days 13 – 16. Jessica is a journalist, media junky and environmental activist with a strong desire to remind others of the world beyond their doorstep. Connecting humans to other humans through storytelling and passionate activism is one way that brings Jessica sustained peace. Her goal for this project is to have a better understanding of the causes of hunger, so that she may contribute to finding a solution in active and tangible ways. She also intends to impart useful information to readers, so when they pass a hungry person on the street, they have some idea of how that person got there and what can be done to help.
Jessica’s focus in this project will specifically be on hunger in NYC, one of the biggest and most popular metropolitan areas in the country. Her hope is to bring attention to the hunger that remains here on the streets of the Empire State. While international hunger is, of course, a huge issue, the way we deal with hunger in the United States may shed valuable light on how we approach hunger in third world countries.
I, Kenda Swartz Pepper, will bring this 21 Days for World Hunger to a close on Days 17 – 21. My day job is as a consultant and corporate educator, and my dream job is as an environmental and social justice writer. My focus for this Souljourn is on activism. I will be talking with a select few leading activists and sharing information about the work they do to further the cause of food justice and to mitigate world hunger. My goal is to learn from these leaders and share nuggets of their wisdom with you. My hope is that their lessons help inspire each of us to take action.
We five writers are committed to this journey. For 21 days we will each be participating in our own version of mindful eating which includes vegetarianism, reducing our caloric intake for a self-determined period of time, buying organic when our local markets and budgets allow, and avoiding food derived from industrial agriculture. We’ll share our observations accordingly.
We would be quite grateful for your participation. Even the simple act of daily reading and joining Conducive Chronicle’s World Hunger Be the Solution facebook fan page would be much appreciated.
If you’d like to offer your support in other helpful ways, please share your comments and spread the word about our little movement. You can also join us in eating mindfully for these 21 days (or a portion thereof) through reducing excess caloric intake, eliminating fast food and/or increasing your consumption of locally grown nonGMO food.
Coming soon a must-attend event if you live in or near southern California and are passionate about social justice.
Please join me in supporting the efforts of Dr. Vandana Shiva and the Friends of Navdanya at a special event, The Seeds of Change. Dr. Shiva, physicist, winner of the Right Livelihood Award (the alternative Nobel Peace Prize) and founder of Navdanya, will be sharing her experiences and ideas on sustainable solutions for social and environmental justice in India on Sunday October 17th. The event is from 6:30 – 9:30 pm at 5000 Clark Avenue, Lakewood, California. There is a suggested donation of $100 per person, and vegetarian meals are available upon request. Seats are limited so please book now!
Visit the Friends of Navdanya website, and click on the October 17th event link or contact Shashi Mahajan at (310) 544-2667.
And so the journey begins…
“I believe Gandhi is the only person who knew about real democracy — not democracy as the right to go and buy what you want, but democracy as the responsibility to be accountable to everyone around you. Democracy begins with freedom from hunger, freedom from unemployment, freedom from fear, and freedom from hatred. To me, those are the real freedoms on the basis of which good human societies are based.”
— Vandana Shiva
To support the organizations I write about in the series, purchase a World Hunger: Be the Solution Tee. Proceeds from the shirt will go to the Small Planet Institute Fund (which helps benefit Navdanya) and the International Fund for Africa. All tees are sweat free and available in organic cotton. I love my organic Be the Solution Tee! To see the selection of World Hunger tees at Conducive’s Humanitarian & Human Rights Tee store, click here.
Read the 21 Days for World Hunger Series
Consider purchasing a World Hunger: Be the Solution Tee. Proceeds from the shirt will go to Navdanya, the Small Planet Institute Fund the International Fund for Africa. All tees are sweat free and available in organic cotton. To see the selection of World Hunger tees at Conducive’s Humanitarian & Human Rights Tee store, click here.