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Get ready, Food Tankers: This fall is shaping up to be transformative for global food systems, and we’re right in the middle of it. On all levels, nationally and globally, food is at the center of the agenda—and we have to meet the moment. In the United States, the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in more than five decades happened just last week.
Now, World Food Day is coming up on Sunday, October 16. Food Tank is co-hosting the official North America celebration of 2022 World Food Day, and I hope you’ll join us either virtually or in person for FREE. (If you live in Ohio and want to attend the event in person, please email Kenzie at Kenzie@FoodTank.com to be added to the VIP guest list!) The celebration is in partnership with The Ohio State University, Ohio Food Policy Network, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), U.N. Environment Programme, and NPR station WOSU. This year’s World Food Day theme is more important than ever: “Leave no one behind. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life.”
“We are excited to host the World Food Day celebration here at Ohio State University,” said Dr. Jill Clark, an associate professor at OSU and the president of the Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society. “This year’s theme gets to the heart of a Land Grant university’s mission of being a pathway to learning, discovery, and empowerment to advance public good.”
You can register here to hear from luminaries like Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture; Dr. Rattan Lal, World Food Prize winner and my favorite soil scientist (yes, I’m a nerd—we know this!); Baldemar Velasquez, food system hero and president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee; Marion Nestle, food policy expert extraordinaire; Ariella J. Brown, who leads the BIPOC Farming Network with Agraria Center, and many more. So click here so you don’t miss out.
“We commemorate World Food Day each year on October 16th to raise awareness of the nearly 830 million people who are food insecure, and the upwards of 3 billion people who cannot afford healthy diets,” Jocelyn Brown Hall, Director of the FAO Liaison Office for North America, told me. “People who are food insecure are often invisible, especially when food seems abundant.”
Whether we’re talking about climate, biodiversity, poverty, education, gender, economic policy—the food system is a through-line that connects everything, and it’s beyond time for those in power to realize it. I’ve said this a million times: We can’t wait for 2050. Honestly, we can’t even wait for 2030. We have to act now.
Food Tank’s friend Dan Glickman, kind and generous as always, summed it up: “Food and agriculture issues have, historically, been relegated to second-tier status—and, due to the efforts of Food Tank and others, that is changing right before our eyes.”
In my note to you last week, I included U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern’s comment that the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health “was an opportunity—and we can’t blow it.”
Finally, people are paying attention. There’s momentum building around food, and we have to meet it—we can’t squander it. We can’t blow this opportunity.
And here’s the best part: We know what it will take. We know how to make food systems more resilient, sustainable, and regenerative. We know how to create food that doesn’t just fill us up but truly nourishes us—and is tasty and joyous. We know how to make sure nobody is left behind.
Now, we need to put in the work so others recognize, as you do, that access to healthy, nourishing, and affordable food is a human right. I hope you are figuring out ways, in your own communities, to encourage policymakers, investors, chefs, businesses, even school boards to take action on food and agriculture. It’s up to each one of us, because our global and local efforts are that much stronger when they work in tandem.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and talk to me: What’s happening in your communities? How can I connect you with Food Tank’s partners, resources, platforms, information, and more to elevate the inspiring voices in your neck of the woods? We have to work together to make the most of the momentum and build more sustainable and just food systems—and I’m here for you.
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Photo courtesy of Lance Grandah, Unsplash