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WASHINGTON - International relief and development organization Oxfam America is marking World Food Day with more than 300 events across the United States aiming to bring the inequalities of the global food system to the kitchen table conversation as part of Oxfam's GROW campaign.
Using specially designed recipe cards donated to Oxfam America by renowned food personalities Giada De Laurentiis, Mark Bittman and Jose Andres among others, World Food Day Sunday dinners will foster a simple yet compelling conversation about where our food comes from, who cultivates it, and how we can make the food system more just and sustainable.
“It's crucial that we all take a moment to think about where our food comes from and the challenges facing the people who produce our food,” said award-winning chef Jose Andres. “The conversations taking place on Sunday night are the beginning of this effort.”
"Around the country, in private homes, farmers markets, schools and churches, Americans will gather to break bread together and have a conversation about the food that sustains all of us and the solutions we can all contribute to make the world a better place," said Jim French, a Kansas farmer who is organizing events throughout the Midwest for Oxfam. "Our effort this World Food Day aims to bring attention to the injustices of the global food system and get on the path to change."
World Food Day also takes place this year amidst a devastating famine in East Africa that didn't have to happen and should never happen again. A new documentary special from Oxfam America and Link TV "ViewChange: Africa's Last Famine," premieres tonight and will investigate solutions to chronic hunger – including weather insurance and investing in small farmers –disputing the notion that famine is simply caused by a lack of food in the global supply.
The program features the story of one Ethiopian mother and farmer, Medhin Reda, who is using weather insurance to withstand periods of drought. Through interviews with Francis Moore Lappe, the award-winning humanitarian and bestselling author of Diet for a Small Planet, the show takes a hard look at food justice. According to Moore Lappe in the documentary, "the world produces more than enough for all of us to thrive ... the real crisis is the crisis of human relationships, how we share in power."
Despite the promise of innovative programs that help address the root causes of global hunger, such as weather insurance for poor farmers, some in Congress are targeting the tiny amount of funding from the federal budget that goes towards foreign assistance for disproportionate cuts that will hobble life-saving programs that invest in small holder farmers like Medhin.
"Innovative and effective programs such as Feed the Future, are seeking to build economic opportunity and self-sufficiency for poor farmers around the world, but this and other crucial anti-poverty programs face debilitating cuts in the Congressional budget negotiations taking place today," said Vicky Rateau, Oxfam America's GROW campaign manager. "Now is not the time to slash effective programs that deliver more with less. Now is the time to invest in a better, safer, and more prosperous world without hunger."
The events taking place in the U.S. add to the global efforts of the international organization and its partners marking World Food Day, which include the crowning of a female food hero in Tanzania, a series of campaign picnics and breakfasts in Belgium, a youth food photo competition in Vietnam, a restaurant cook-off in Burkina Faso, a rural women's assembly in South Africa and a photography exhibit in El Salvador.