This October, why not GROW with us?

Campaigning for change article written on the 20 Sep 2011

Watching the disaster occurring in the Horn of Africa unfold on before us can be paralysing to say the least. Despite the fact the world produces enough food, 1 in 7 people go hungry every day and tragically, 80% of the world’s hungry people are directly involved in food production. And current estimates suggest that the global demand for food could increase by 70% by 2050.

Statistics like these highlight how very broken our world food system has become, and remind us that if we don’t do anything about it, catastrophic famine such as the one occurring in the Horn of Africa will only become more common.

The underlying problems of the global food system are many and varied. They include governmental neglect, corporate exploitation, land grabbing, extreme weather events, failing production, rising food prices and much more. Indeed, the problem is vast, and the issues are deeply entrenched in the existing system. There’s no denying that fixing it will require radical changes to the way the world food system operates. It’ll likely take many years, and require the cooperation and participation of governments, corporations and NGOs alike.

Many people will be wondering “What can we do about it?” But there are things we can do together, both to reduce hunger now, and prevent it in future, and the question then becomes, “How can we not do something about it?”

With this goal in mind, Oxfam Australia is launching GROW Week (Oct 15-22), to coincide with the UN’s World Food Day (Oct 16). As part of this we invite you to Gather to GROW a better global food system by hosting an event for your friends and family to learn about the issues underlying the food crisis, and to raise funds for Oxfam’s East Africa Food Crisis Appeal and GROW campaign.

GROW Week is a wonderful opportunity to come together with family, friends or colleagues in order to:

  • learn about what causes hunger;
  • join the Big Food Conversation; and
  • raise funds in support of Oxfam’s East Africa Food Crisis Appeal and our GROW campaign for the development of sustainable solutions to reduce hunger in the future

Oxfam Australia will provide a range of resources including conversation-starter case studies; GROW placemats and coasters; quick and easy celebrity chef recipes; as well as a “How to” Gather to GROW event guide, to facilitate the conversation and ensure a great event. Your Gather to GROW event can be as small or large as your imagination allows – a dinner for the family, a lunch with friends, a morning tea for your workplace, or a community event involving food.

Cook it yourself, ask people to bring a plate, or eat out – it’s up to you to get inspired, get excited and share your vision for how to GROW a better global food system.

Register your event and find more information

Alternatively, Oxfam Australia is also hosting ‘Shout the Horn’ – a one-off event on World Food Day (Oct 16) happening at a participating restaurant near you!

Grab some friends and make your way down to a participating restaurant in order to raise money to support Oxfam’s response to the East Africa Food Crisis. Find a restaurant near you, or suggest your favourite restaurant to be part of the event.

These actions may seem small, but getting the conversation started and raising awareness about the issues we face are vital first steps.

We can’t let the immensity of the problem lead us into paralysis; the current East Africa Food Crisis gives us more than 13 million reasons why inaction is simply not an option.

Larissa Ocampo is a volunteer with Oxfam Australia