Food. It’s something that many of us take for granted. Most of us are fortunate enough to eat two to three meals a day. If we skip a meal, it’s usually because we are too busy, and not because we don’t have access to food. But, that is not the case for all. In fact, 815 million people worldwide are undernourished.
What is World Food Day?
As teachers, we do our best to promote awareness of world hunger. No doubt your school has participated in a campaign to donate food or clothing to those in need. This year you might want to consider adding a World Food Day celebration. World Food Day was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Created on October 16, 1945, the FAO’s sole purpose is to end world hunger. The organization promotes the idea that food is not a privilege, but a right. World Food Day was first celebrated in 1979 to commemorate the founding of this organization and to draw attention to the cause. The current mission is to eradicate world hunger by 2030. World Food Day is celebrated on October 16th each year.
What can I do in my classroom?
- Complete the Working for Zero Hunger activity book. The FAO produces several activity books (Climate is Changing, Your Guide to FAO, Eating Healthy Matters) to raise awareness of world hunger. Even one person can make a difference.
- Bring attention to mindful eating. Encourage students to put on their plates only the amount of food they know they will eat. Discuss ways to reduce food waste. Inform them that 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted each year.
- Conduct a waste audit at your school. Educate students about the types and amounts of food that gets wasted in the school cafeteria. Step-by-step instructions from the USDA and EPA organizations explain how to set up an audit, or you can register your school for the School Cafeteria Discards Assessment Project.
- Participate in the World Food Day Poster Contest. Have students (age 5-19) create a poster that illustrates their idea of Zero Hunger. Deadline is November 8, 2019. Check out the beautiful artwork from the winners in 2018.
- Give to a local food bank. Have students either collect money or bring in non-perishable items to donate to a food bank. Make it more meaningful by turning it into a service project–help students organize a bake sale to raise money or have them help you deliver the food and/or money to the food bank. Be sure to check with the food bank first to find out what items are most needed.
Although World Food Day is celebrated on October 16 each year, that is not the only day to support this cause. In fact, it is better for students to often be reminded of the plight of the hungry. Use these opportunities to instill the knowledge and belief that they can, and need to, make a difference in the world.