Psychologist Abraham Maslow said that food is one of the most basic physiological needs people require to boost their human motivation. Yet there’s more to food than providing sustenance, as others have a different perspective on what food is.
In some communities, food is their primary source of livelihood, especially those affiliated with the agriculture and food production industries.
Meanwhile, people with rich cultures view food as a link to their heritage, often using it as an avenue to connect the past to the present.
Food brings people together across the globe and from all walks of life. Throughout the years, food has undeniably played a significant role in global development.
The United Nations has long since advocated food security among countries because of its value in human growth. Every year, the organization dedicates a day to emphasize the significance of food. The celebration, known as World Food Day, always falls on October 16 and is one of the most anticipated events from the UN.
Countries included in the UN often participate in the activities during World Food Day to show solidarity in promoting food security and ensuring that there’s enough food for everyone in the present and future generations.
How it came to be
Even though World Food Day has activities occurring worldwide, the event had humble beginnings due to the UN’s staunch dedication to preserving the world’s food. In 1945, the UN established its specialized agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization. Although the institution already felt it met its goal, it knew it would take considerable effort to encourage other governments to follow in its footsteps.
It took another 34 years before World Food Day became a world holiday—at the 20th FAO conference in November, 1979. Former Hungarian minister of agriculture and food Pal Romany suggested holding the celebration worldwide.
Since then, 150 countries have joined the UN in celebrating World Food Day. The UN used the event’s popularity to promote the idea of keeping the world well-fed and eradicating poverty in rural nations.
World Food Day aims to further emphasize the message of food security across the globe, particularly during crises. UN’s launch of the FAO showed significant developments in taking the necessary steps toward achieving their lofty goal. The annual celebration marks the crucial part the FAO plays in raising awareness about implementing efficient agriculture policies, calling upon world governments to ensure food security and proper resource allocation.
However, finding sustainable solutions to ending world hunger and addressing global poverty isn’t an appealing task. As a result, the UN and FAO used World Food Day to focus on various aspects of food security and agriculture, including, but not limited to, fishing communities, climate change, and biodiversity.
The organizations also find new aspects to highlight each year, whether from conflicts, crises, or a call for action.
Additionally, World Food Day has used different themes over the years. Some previous themes revolved around climate change, social protection, food security, and others. Thanks to the creative efforts of the FAO and the UN in enticing others, several other global organizations now join in celebrating World Food Day.
Private businesses and individuals also participate in World Food Day by joining the FAO’s planned activities or taking other initiatives. Some schools also dedicate several other tasks that educate their students about the relevance of World Food Day.
Besides raising awareness and advocating for food security, World Food Day is also a time for people to appreciate the food on their tables. After all, not everyone shares the same privilege, so it pays to be grateful for what they have.
Understanding and celebrating World Food Day
World Food Days follows the theme “Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow” this 2022.
Even though many people believe in the relevance of food, they are far from seeing it on a global scale, where they consider the welfare of others in the long run. By teaching others how to produce, preserve, and promote safe food in the present, concerned citizens and stakeholders become changemakers, who work towards providing a better future for all.
According to the FAO website, the world needs global solutions more than ever, especially in the face of global crises.
By aiming toward “better production, better nutrition, better environment, and a better life,” communities can transform agriculture and food systems to implement holistic solutions that consider long-term development, inclusive economic growth, and greater resilience.
On this day, the FAO calls everyone to action, including governments, businesses, the academe, private or public organizations, and everyday individuals, to play a role in advocating food security for all.
Celebrating World Food Day doesn’t necessarily mean taking significant steps to fight world hunger and resource scarcity. Despite all these years, the goal remains challenging to everyone involved. Nonetheless, people shouldn’t feel discouraged as they can participate in World Food Day in other ways.
A simple yet effective way to celebrate World Food Day is by donating to the people who need it the most. The Philippines isn’t short of food banks or charitable organizations that initiate food drives within underserved communities. Many of these accept cash, but donations in kind, like food items, are well appreciated.
Visiting local food producers or farmers is also an ideal way to join the World Food Day festivities. It’s necessary to acknowledge their existence and efforts because they have the task of putting food on everyone’s plates.
There’s also always the option of attending a World Food Day event organized by local governments or organizations. Some of these also play into the public’s general interests because it involves food tastings, poster-making contests, video-making competitions, and more. Simply put, World Food Day is far from bland and uneventful.
Like the other resources on the planet, food isn’t infinite. Unless the world collectively takes a stand to end hunger and poverty, people will always suffer from the lack of resource allocation.
World Food Day is a reminder that everyone is crucial to achieving the worthy goal because food affects everyone, so it should be a general concern.