Hunger is so wrong. There has never been such an abundance of edible food in this world, in recorded history – there is no reason, whatsoever, that one need go hungry. But we continue to see hunger everywhere we turn – during times of strife and conflict the innocents are displaced and their infrastructure collapses and starvation sets in; in the less devolped countries of the world we see inmature infrastructure unable to store and distribute food supplies, and in the “modern’ countries, including the United States, we have 1 in 6 of our population falling into the category of “food insecure” – they struggle, daily, to feed themselves and their families ( Hunger: Food Insecurity in 2010, What’s Up With That?).
So what’s right? Allow me to give you two separate examples of how some are doing the right thing to address this phenomena. One is right here in the United States and the other is in Brazil.
Belo Horizonte, Brazil:
This morning I read an extraordinarily uplifting piece about the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. They have declared hunger to be illegal. I shalln’t recap the entire article (see link below), but allow me to highlight some of details with hopes that those reading can take the data and emulate in their own villages, towns and cities. In 1993, the city of 2.5 million had 275,000 in absolute poverty and 20% of the children suffering hunger. Fast forward to 2010, hunger is virtually non-existent and only 2% (two percent) of the city’s budget was used to achieve this result – how much was two percent, 2 million dollars – less than a dollar per constituent.
According to Frances Moore Lappe writing about Belo Horizonte in Yes! (see link below), “The city agency developed dozens of innovations to assure everyone the right to food, especially by weaving together the interests of farmers and consumers. It offered local family farmers dozens of choice spots of public space on which to sell to urban consumers, essentially redistributing retailer mark-ups on produce—which often reached 100 percent—to consumers and the farmers. Farmers’ profits grew, since there was no wholesaler taking a cut. And poor people got access to fresh, healthy food.”
The Belo Horizonte model needs to be emulated, replicated, and implemented across every nation, in every urban environment – there is no reason for hunger. I agree with the city of Belo Horizonte, hunger should be illegal.
Thank you for your time. Thank you for your actions to address hunger. As always, your comments and opinions are welcome.
All the very best,
Northwest Harvest – Hunger Relief Organizations Aim to Break Guinness World Record
Pierce County, Washington: Emergency Food Network
Guiness World Record Effort -> Fill the Bowl
Yes! Powerful Ideas, Practical Actions: The City that Ended Hunger – Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Treehugger: Brazilian City Make Food a Basic Right and Ends Hunger