Let’s contribute our grain of sand, here and now.
Hunger is on the rise, slow in some places, and doubling in others, devastating the food security for millions of people around the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused nations to be on quarantine and exercise social distance, and in this way, destroying economic security and leading the most vulnerable to states of acute hunger. This is a major setback for the United Nations, whose goal is to eradicate world hunger by 2030. This year alone, 265 million people could be seen on the brink of hunger, according to estimates by the UN World Food Program, as it has been reported.
The UN says that a profound change in the global food and agriculture system is needed to feed these populations. “Investments in agriculture are crucial to increase agricultural productive capacity and sustainable food production systems are necessary to help mitigate the difficulties of hunger,” says its website regarding this objective, the number two of the 17 that it has committed to meet by the end of this decade.
To mitigate the considerable impact that this pandemic is having, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations urges countries to meet the needs of the most vulnerable communities, for example, by promoting social protection programs and supporting the capacity of small farmers to increase food production.
It is easier said than done. If we look at our country, the United States, one of the most capable in complying with the guidelines that the UN proposes. However, child hunger is skyrocketing here, a New York Times investigation into the Pandemic EBT program recently revealed. School meals have been critical for some families, but confinement has reduced this social supply. The government started a program to offer electronic cards with the funds from those meals for families to buy food. But the administrative capacity to distribute these cards has only been enough to meet the needs of 15 percent of eligible children.
For countries with less infrastructure than the United States, asking them to mitigate the damage created by the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult, it is even more difficult to ask them to do so in large measure. The solution is to focus and support local efforts, anywhere in the world.
Let us look very closely at what we are doing regarding this call for a profound change in the food and agriculture system to feed us all, and especially the most vulnerable populations.
All those groups or individuals that do something to remedy hunger and offer nutritious food to their neighbors in their communities are making this call. At the macroeconomic level, it is a call from millions of people and hundreds of community groups around the world.
I share some of them here in our neighborhood in Kingston.
Seed Song Farm and Center is committed to subsidizing fresh produce all summer to 45 families in the area that have been economically affected by the pandemic. For this “Farm Feed Your Neighbor” campaign, the farm raised over $17,500 through Go Fund Me. Seed Song Farm’s goal is to provide food to 100 families and that would cost $44,500. If you want to make a donation or apply you can visit seedsongfarm.org or send a check to Seed Song Center, 160 Esopus Ave, Kingston, N.Y. 12401.
Another place to get fresh vegetables and fruits from local farms is People’s Place. Every Tuesday, from 9am to 11am, you can get products free of cost. The YMCA farm project is also open on Thursdays from 3:30pm to 6pm and on Tuesdays, from 10am until 12:30pm. All proceeds from sales support the project and the youth of the community that are employed to encourage interest in agriculture and fresh, local produce.
We have to support small farms and let go of our predilection for processed foods from far away lands. This thinking is also growing as a result of the pandemic. If we want to eradicate famine, we have to contribute our little grain of sand to our local communities around the world.
Angélica Medaglia, translator of classic texts of Tibetan Buddhism into Spanish and English and freelance writer, is born in Colombia and lives in Woodstock.