“We have failed to end hunger using the traditional recipe that saw hunger as a technical problem, requiring only that we produce more. We’ve failed because we’ve underestimated the need to empower people and hold governments accountable.” – Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food World Food Day 2011 marked the […]
“We have failed to end hunger using the traditional recipe that saw hunger as a technical problem, requiring only that we produce more. We’ve failed because we’ve underestimated the need to empower people and hold governments accountable.”
– Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food
World Food Day 2011 marked the GROW campaign’s biggest effort yet to upend the traditional recipe for hunger relief and empower Americans to hold the US government accountable for a more just food system. In the face of economic challenges in the US, turmoil in Europe, conflict in Libya, and other major world events, the prospect of making World Food Day a tangible and real moment for Americans seemed daunting when we first started planning. Yet, on World Food Day, we learned that US citizens do care about global food justice. They joined us by the thousands, bringing GROW messages to communities across the country.
Oxfam’s World Food Day celebration had two main aims: to support the GROW campaign’s five policy goals and to boost the campaign’s central goal of supporting the burgeoning food justice movement worldwide. Indeed, the two purposes go hand and hand. GROW’s policy goals take aim at powerful special interests–like Big Ag and the US maritime industry around food aid reform, Wall Street around agricultural speculation, and companies and countries around land grabs. Without active engagement by people who care about repairing our broken food system, these special interests will win—and people living in poverty will keep losing.
Case in point: the way supporters of Big Ag in Congress recently tried to push through the Farm Bill without any democratic debate in an effort to avoid real reform. The kind of national support for food justice that World Food Day generated is increasingly important not only to advocate for effective policies like Feed The Future, but to stop bad policy and bad process, exemplified in the rushed Farm Bill, that harm the poor.
The results of World Food Day were impressive:
• More than 9,700+ people attended 400+ Sunday Dinner conversations in 42 states and four countries.
• Oxfam volunteers tabled at 60 Farmers Markets nation-wide—engaging communities on the GROW Campaign.
• At the World Food Prize in Iowa, Oxfam hosted two women farmers from Ethiopia and Colombia, and supported nine events attended by about 750 people.
• Oxfam’s World Food Day celebration was truly global: People all over the world participated in events, awards and actions during Oxfam’s GROW week.
Not only did Oxfam supporters start conversations in their communities, but they also sent Congress a strong message that cutting poverty-focused foreign assistance will harm global food security. Cuts to foreign aid would decimate both capacity-building programs that help small-scale farmers feed their communities and emergency food aid that saves lives during crises.
• Activists collected 2,400 petition signatures at Sunday Dinners and Farmers Markets and Oxfam online supporters sent 7,838 emails urging Congress not to cut poverty-focused development assistance.
• 15 Oxfam Sisters on the Planet Ambassadors, business leaders and military veterans had 22 meetings on Capitol Hill – including 11 meetings with their Senators and Members of Congress—and secured committements from several to support strong foreign aid that will help improve food security on World Food Day–and every day.