Every year, 150 countries celebrate World Food Day, making it one of the most celebrated days on the UN calendar. World Food Day was established in 1945 to commemorate the formation of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
World Food Day is an opportunity to promote collective action around sustainable and inclusive agri-food systems. Agri-food systems involve the farms, supply chains, markets, and accessibility of food across the globe, looking at food production and distribution. From seed to soil and market to table.
World Food Day isn’t just a celebration of food. It brings awareness to our food and agriculture systems and how we can work together to prevent hunger, promote sustainability, and protect our water resources to ensure healthy food production.
Why is World Food Day important?
World Food Day brings to light three key areas where we can take action together: food waste, hunger prevention, and the importance of clean water on food production and consumption.
In the UK alone, 6.7 million tonnes of food is wasted each year; food that either could’ve been given to a family in need or tossed in the compost bin. Wasted food ultimately ends up in landfills, which leads to more emissions and feeds into climate change.
Almost 40% of the world’s population can’t afford a healthy diet. Yet, according to the UN’s price index, world food prices were up 33.9% this year. Affordability and accessibility are essential to ensuring children and families receive adequate nutrition.
Access to food is a right, not a privilege. Efficient distribution and waste reduction are two ways the UN is working to tackle hunger and malnutrition.
“We need to re-think how we see and value food — not simply as a commodity to be traded, but as a right that every person shares.” – U.N. chief Antonio Guterres
The importance of clean water
When we imagine hunger and poverty, we usually don’t picture unclean water as a part of the food equation. However, unclean water leads to malnutrition, as children ill with diarrhoea are unable to absorb the nourishment their bodies need.
Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes says: “No matter how much food a malnourished child eats, he or she will not get better if the water they are drinking is not safe.” Improving access to healthy food also means access to hygienic and sanitized water. That is why SwimTayka is committed to advancing education and stewardship of all aspects of clean water.
How SwimTayka addresses clean water and food
Sustainable water stewardship is a collective effort. SwimTayka collaborates with organisations across the globe to educate and empower children to responsibly care for their local water sources by preventing pollution and keeping waterways clean.
Preventing water pollution
Back in 2017, Bali had to declare a “garbage emergency” with an onslaught of plastic and rubbish piling on the beaches. SwimTayka partnered with Swimdo in Bali to educate children about water safety and stewardship. As the children were playing at the beach, they noticed how dirty the beach was and decided to do a cleanup together.
SwimTayka and Swimdo took the opportunity to start a conversation about how pollution impacts the health of the community, the food they eat, and the farmers growing their food. Spreading awareness about water cleanliness and environmental protection at a young age helps children develop sustainable practices to last a lifetime.
Fostering care for the environment
In Peru, one of the biggest environmental issues facing the community is microplastics, often found in fish caught off the coast. SwimTayka partnered with Otra Cosa Network to teach children about keeping water clean and the health effects of microplastics. Through community beach cleanups, children learn why they need to prevent their trash from ending up in the ocean and why proper rubbish disposal is so important. They share their learnings with their parents and grandparents, spreading a sense of water stewardship across generations.
7 Ways to celebrate World Food Day 2021
As we collectively work to improve access to healthy food and safe water, join us in celebrating World Food Day this year. Here are some ideas for ways to get involved:
1. .Join an upcoming SwimTayka trip. Volunteer applications are now open for upcoming volunteer trips. Our programmes provide swimming lessons, drowning prevention, and environmental water stewardship courses. Help educate children who live along the earth’s open water. Apply today!
2. Give to your local water conservatory. Find a water conservatory near you and donate to help protect the natural sources of fresh water in your area.
3. Savour your favourite foods. Ask your children what their favourite foods are. Then enjoy their favourite snacks or meals as a family.
4. Use the day as a teachable moment. Start a conversation with your children about agri-food systems. Ask them to think about how your food has made the journey from soil to farm to your table. Consider printing a colouring book activity or grabbing a children’s book about the topic.
5. Eat meatless meals for the day. With vegetarian and vegan diets having a 41.5% smaller footprint on the environment, consider eating meatless meals for the day as a way to celebrate World Food Day.
6. Spread awareness. Share relevant news articles and posts about World Food Day and the importance of clean water. Use your professional and personal social media accounts to raise awareness about water stewardship and the health effects of unclean water.
7. Donate to your local food banks. For many charities and nonprofits, monetary donations are more effective and impactful. Check with the organisations near you to find out where they have the biggest needs.
If you are interested in learning more about our partnerships or programmes, we’d love to hear from you.