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Four great ways to celebrate World Food Day 2020

Watch out for World Food Day on October 16. The date commemorates the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation by the United Nations in 1945. This year’s theme is Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together.

This is a great opportunity to do some fun activities at home with your children to give them a better understanding of how a sustainable supply of food relates to their own lives and the local area as well as those in far-away places. And the event is of particular significance this year because it takes place at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic threatens food security in many parts of the world. Former primary school teacher Oli Ryan of education resource experts PlanBee reports

1. Discover fascinating food facts

World Food Day Facts

  • Eight hundred million people around the world suffer from hunger.
  • In parts of the world where hunger is a big issue, life expectancy is shorter, infant mortality is higher, and productivity is lower.
  • Around the same number of people around the world suffer from obesity due to unhealthy diets.
  • Obesity kills more people than hunger.
  • Inefficient, unsustainable food systems harm ecosystems and contribute to global warming. Changing the way we produce food is key to tackling climate change.
  • As the climate changes, we will have to change the way we produce food: yields will decrease, and new food sources will have to be found.
  • In developed countries, tackling obesity would save hundreds of billions of pounds in healthcare costs.
  • In countries where hunger is an issue, eliminating hunger would dramatically increase productivity and national wealth.

2. Make it meaningful.
Food security and food poverty are significant issues in the UK too. It’s a good time to talk about food banks, free school meals and the importance of eating nourishing food for health, happiness and even for effective learning.

What is ‘food security’?
Food security means being having access to adequate supplies of food to live healthily. To have food security:

People must have enough money to buy food
Food must be affordably-priced
There must be reliable supply chains for food
There must be enough reserves of food, or reliable enough supply chains for a variety of foods, to ensure that access to food is not interrupted
The food available must be nutritious, so those who consume it can lead active, healthy lives
What are ‘sustainable food systems’?
Effective, sustainable food systems affordably provide an adequate amount of food to meet demand while also supporting the ecosystems they rely on for the production of food.

A good example are the new greenhouse system in Norfolk and Suffolk, set to produce 10 per cent of UK tomatoes. The greenhouses will be heated by warm water pumped from nearby water treatment plants, producing far lower carbon emissions than traditional growing methods. It also reduces food miles and establishes a more reliable supply of food in the local area. Can you think of an example of a sustainable food system in your own area?

3. Link it to your local community
Church of England schools have a long-standing tradition of celebrating harvest festival by collecting store cupboard food items for the elderly and vulnerable in their community. This year, Sukkot, the Jewish harvest festival, is celebrated 2nd-9th October.

If there’s not much happening locally, why not arrange to do something to help those less well-off in your community? Find out where your nearest food bank is. Many will list the items they are most in need of each week on their website.

4. Make healthy, nutritious food together
Talk ‘around’ the recipe you choose to follow; for example, you might try to find out about the food journey of one or more of the ingredients.

You can find out more about what’s happening during World Food Day 2020 by following the hashtags #WorldFoodDay and #FoodHeroes on social media. For more activity ideas and resources for celebrating World Food Day, check out PlanBee’s World Food Day collection.