Food plays an important role in people’s lives. It provides them with the proper sustenance and energy so they can carry on with their activities for the day.
Through food, people also have the chance to create meaningful connections. This is evident in the Filipino culture. During celebrations like fiestas, birthdays, or holidays, a wide array of food is present on the table. By sharing meals, people get a chance to talk about intimate topics and form stronger bonds with each other.
Yet despite the many benefits of food, not everyone gets to appreciate a bountiful meal. Food waste continues to be prevalent in countries around the world. Another pressing issue that revolves around food is hunger and malnutrition.
In the Philippines alone, millions of people, especially children, suffer from not having enough food. The most fundamental reason behind hunger and malnutrition in Filipinos is poverty.
To help people understand the importance of food and become more aware of the pressing issue of hunger and malnutrition, the United Nations established World Food Day.
Putting food in the spotlight
World Food Day, held every October 16, marks the anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. The FAO was founded in 1945, while World Food Day was established in November 1979.
The event was suggested by former Hungarian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Pal Romany.
Presently, 150 countries across the world participate in the annual World Food Day. During the event, hundreds of activities bring together governments, businesses, NGOs, the media, and the general public to promote global awareness and action against hunger as well as to secure healthy diets for people everywhere.
For this year’s celebration of World Food Day, the FAO aims to direct participants’ to the source of food: agriculture. The event hopes to emphasize the need for a sustainable agri-food system in achieving the goal of food security for all.
According to the FAO, a sustainable agri-food system makes a variety of sufficient, nutritious, and safe food available to everyone at an affordable price. As a result, nobody suffers from hunger or malnutrition. This system leads to better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life for all.
But to make sure that the common goal of a better life for all is met, the FAO’s initiative through World Food Day requires the participation of governments, the private sector, civil society, international organizations, and academia.
With the theme “Our actions are our future–Better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life,” World Food Day 2021 will be again celebrated in Brussels. The theme highlights the idea of the food we choose and the way we consume it affect our health and that of our planet.
#WorldFoodDay calendar of events
To make the event more welcoming and to entice more participants, FAO’s World Food Day has several activities in line for people of all ages.
Starting October 15, global leaders, FAO Special Ambassadors, heads of the Rome-based UN agencies, and other keynote speakers will join FAO Director-General QU Dongyu to mark the World Food Day ceremony.
It will call for the transformation of agri-food systems to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to enough, affordable, safe, and nutritious food to lead active and healthy lives.
The opening ceremony will then be followed by a lecture from Professor Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. There will also be a special dialogue on Tea and Coffee that will explore the production and rich flavors behind beverages that unite many different cultures.
As for the youth from around the world, they will be invited to have conversations with known food heroes that come from different backgrounds such as influencers to farmers to chefs, and innovators, to discover why they choose to work with food.
Other events throughout the world also include marathons, hunger marches, exhibitions, cultural performances, contests, and concerts. And since it’s the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FAO also considered countries that are still observing health safety protocols.
Many events during World Food Day 2021 will also be made available online to allow more people to join in the celebration.
Another global event on food
Besides World Food Day, October 16 also holds another event for food lovers everywhere. But this event is more specific as it celebrates a staple in homes everywhere: bread.
On October 16, many people are also set to celebrate World Bread Day. The event was initiated by the International Union of Bakers and Confectioners. It was created to dedicate a day to a staple food that has served as an important source of sustenance around the world since the dawn of agriculture.
During the past two years, people have started baking as a productive hobby that could keep them occupied and fed during the pandemic. Through World Bread Day, bakers from around the world can enjoy a day dedicated to their favorite bakes.
World Bread Day was also started on World Food Day because both celebrations highlight the importance of food in nation-building and how it has kept civilizations thriving throughout the years.
Bakers can try different activities such as baking their favorite loaf, trying new recipes, and posting about their creations online. Ultimately, they can try different approaches to enjoying the global celebration.
Creating a better relationship with food and how it is consumed can help people from around the world to develop a better environment for themselves and the many others who also rely on food.
Although many people enjoy food and eating, there’s still a lot to learn before they can truly appreciate the food on their plates. This appreciation doesn’t come solely from reveling in the flavors and benefits it has to offer, rather, it comes from empowering the source to make it available for everyone, everywhere.
Through these events, people have a more consolidated movement against hunger and malnutrition towards a better future for everyone. It may seem hard but a common goal can be achieved by examining our actions and how it affects the future.