Friday, 29 July 2011

Solving the food crisis -- Josette Sheeran

In this 20 minute TED video, Josette Sheeran, the head of the UN's World Food Program, explains why in a world with enough food for everyone, it is used as a weapon of war; and a billion people (1 out of 7) are starving. She proposes a total transformation of food aid -- into food sovereignty.

Nutrition is crucial in the first 1000 days of a child's life. It will never recover from the neural and physical damage due to lack of food. And breastfeeding (by properly fed mothers) could save a baby's  life every 22 seconds.

Sheeran talks about WFP's programs, shifting to improved local food supply rather than imported stocks. Food for Humanity: better nutrition can transform life chances and national earning. School feeding (less than 25 cents day) attracts girls, lowers birthrates and is the "poor man's safety net" -- with local foods. Warehouses for Hope are locally-provided storehouses, assuring food sovereignty and school meals: 500 in Cameroon alone. Digital Food solves the problem of famine amid plenty, by giving penniless people vouchers to buy local food. Purchasing for Progress creates a guaranteed market for small farmers and peasant women; one example, which she urges the G20 to adopt, is Brazil's Zero Hunger Program costing about 5% of GDP. The long term antipoverty benefits far exceed the costs. She hopes there we can soon say, "There was a time when 1/3 of the world's children grew up with brains and bodies stunted. No more. That's history."
See also her biography; Wikipedia on the World Food Program; UN ReliefWeb humanitarian news and needs, e.g. the current Horn of Africa famine; World Bank's Food Crisis Open Forum (Apr 2011) videos and transcripts; independent NGOs' IPC Food Sovereignty proposals. An analysis in plain language: ETCgroup, Who Will Feed Us? Questions for the Food and Climate Crises (free download, 2009) raises questions about the failure of MDGs, financial speculators, corperate agriculture and distribution, the impact of agrofuels and climate change, and technofixes proposed by Gates, Rockefeller, and Monsanto.

Youth and educational resources: download the videogame Food Force; WFP educational resources and UK youth We Feedback; Oxfam International Youth Partnership's CHANGE initiative; and Taking IT Global networks. See also Minneapolis thinktank IATP (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy); Food First factsheets and newsletters on the US and international food sovereignty movements; Food Secure Canada; for British sources, UKabc.

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