World Food Day: Hunger can be overcome
This Oct. 16, the world puts 500 million family farmers in the spotlight in observance of World Food Day 2014. This year’s theme recognizes family farmers around the world as central to solving global hunger and malnutrition.
For the U.S. and Canada, the face of family farming remains dynamic. A recent survey of North American family farmers, led by Humanitas Global in collaboration with Food Tank, shows that farmers are torn between a love for the land and trying to make ends meet.
The greatest challenges for family farmers today include the cost of land, labor costs, government regulations and policies, climate change and the inherent risk of farming, as well as the disproportionate amount of work required given the financial returns.
As advocates of family farming as the best way to care for the land and continue to produce the food we need, Catholic Rural Life aligns with faith organizations and sustainable agriculture groups who seek to overcome these challenges.
Our Catholic partners at Caritas Internationalis has taken this to heart and urges an end to hunger by 2025. Their campaign One Human Family, Food for All is taking the initial steps to do that. And they’re getting support from the Holy Father himself.
In a video message posted to the Caritas website, Pope Francis reminds us of the words of Jesus:
“‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat’. The words of Our Lord call to us today, telling us not to turn away, indifferent, when we know our neighbor is hungry.
How to begin: reflect, then act
Sister Barbara Neist, SSND, wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper in Jefferson City, MO, that shows us how we can begin to act on this call from Jesus. She writes:
World Food Day is a time to reflect on the problem of hunger and to explore solutions that people of faith and of good will are promoting so that all may eat and know God’s abundance. In his World Food Day 2011 message, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI reminded the world that: “Freedom from the yoke of hunger is the first concrete manifestation of that right to life which, although solemnly proclaimed, often remains far from being effectively implemented.”
In his message in 2013, Pope Francis reminded us: “It is a scandal that there is still hunger and malnutrition in the world. It is not just a question of responding to immediate emergencies, but of addressing together, in all areas, a problem that challenges our personal and social conscience, to achieve a just and lasting solution.”
The students at Helias Catholic High School are being challenged on this World Food Day to respond locally to this urgent need through a food drive. In doing this they are joining many other groups and individuals in the community who have responded in similar ways.
May the commemoration of World Food Day be a catalyst for all people of good will to continue to work to ensure the right to food for all people of the world, a right many are still waiting to enjoy.