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Postcards Campaign on Food Rights

Raising Awareness Localy for Global Change About this resource pack This campaign aims to raise Irish people’s awareness of how their actions effect people in the Ireland local communities and people in the developing world and help people to make the connection between local action and global impact. This campaign offers a creative dialoge through making and writing postcards. The postcards are the means to generate a dialoge between young people, schools, communities & government representitves around our food choices. The activities offered in this resource pack raise important questions such as: Where our food comes from? How its farmed? How much it costs us to buy food? how much the people who grew it get paid? And what can we do to help reduce hunger? This campaign was created by a group of students from Art, Development and Education course, Cork Institute of Technology, Crawford College of Art and Design in 2010/2011. The group research the topic of consumption and aid in the context of sustainability. The sessions offered here are based on facilitated sessions that took place in Carrigaline Educate Together School in March - April 2011. The activities are designed for young people ages 8 to 11.

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Resources Content ÀÀ Pg 1: About this resource pack ÀÀ Pg 2: Write 4 Food : What do we know about the right for food? ÀÀ Pg 3-4: Write 4 Food : Postcard Campaign ÀÀ Pg 5: What can be done about hunger? ÀÀ Pg 6: Write 4 Food logo sticker page ÀÀ Pg 7: postcards sample page ÀÀ Pg 8: background to the topic of Food Rights: •  Pg 8: Where our food comes from and how it’s produced •  Pg 8: Intensive Farming & Agriculture •  Pg 9: Food Consumption & Packaging •  Pg 10: What can we do? Buy Local! •  Pg 10: Feeding 6 Billion People from a Small Planet ÀÀ Pg 11: Online Resources


Postcards Campaign on Food Rights

Raising Awareness Localy for Global Change Write 4 Food : What do we know about the right for food? Session Aim is to introduce the group to the theme of Food Rights Session Objective: ÀÀ To reconsolidate the group at beginning of session ÀÀ To introduce the participants to facts and information related to the theme ÀÀ To create space for participants to express their opinion on the topic. ÀÀ To generate motivation for the group to continue working with topic ÀÀ To generate ideas how to continue working with theme Time

Description of activity

10 min

Play a game, each one say their name and a vegetable they like with a movement that shows the food.

5 min

Tell the group the plan for the next hour and give name budges.

Masking tape and markers


15 mins

1.Put images relating to the right for food around the room 2. ask each one to choose a picture that say something about the right for food 4. sit in the group for 5 min and talk & write what do they think is the issue the picture shows 5. each group feeds back what they talked about

White tack printed MGD about hangar and child rights including right for food

Find out what do they know about the right for food

1. explain: every first journey is stating with a powerful question. ask: What are the question we would like to explore in this topic? 2. Divide into groups of 3-4 people 3. Ask to write in the group 3 questions: - questions that are important to ask - questions that you’d like to know the answer - questions that you want to ask people who produce food in our community (the baker, supervalue manager, farmers) 4. Once the group written the questions, they can dress up and get ready to be recorded. 5. film each group on video

handout for the question and answers video camera cable/card reader charged battery backup camera colored papers markers costumes

30 min

10 mins


Objectives Ice breaker get them laughing and more allert

images relating to food issues

get the participants asking more questions related to the topic

Write on the board: Important to remember: - It’s OK we don’t know the answers yet - there are no bad/wrong questions - a good question can change the world!

the whole group sitting in a circle, each one is saying one thing that he/she will take with them from the activity.



Postcards Campaign on Food Rights

Raising Awareness Localy for Global Change Write 4 Food : Postcard Campaign

Session Objective: To create a Postcard Campaign to raise Irish people’s awareness of how their actions affect people in the developing world by making the connection between local action and global impact. Write to important people who make decisions about where our food comes from, how it’s farmed, how much it costs you and me to buy food and how much the people who grew it get paid. This workshop plan can be adapted to any group or any timetable. Time

Description of activity



5 mins

Introduction to theme of the Right to Food and explanation of activities planned for the day

Info about Millennium Development Goals and the Right to Food posted around room

Introduce facilitators to group

15 mins

Name game – Participants stand in a circle, introduce themselves and name a food that the like which begins with the same letter as their name eg: “My name is Deirdre and I like dates” Go around the circle and each participant repeats the person immediately before them and introduces themselves. At the end see if everyone can remember what has been said by going round the circle once.

20 mins

Moving Debate – room is divided into agree and disagree. Facilitators read a statement aloud and participants move to the one side of the room depending on whether they agree or disagree. They can remain in the middle if they are undecided

Agree/Disagree Cards 3 or 4 statements relating to the Right to Food eg: There are no hungry people in Ireland The way to stop hunger is to produce more food We are helping Africa by buying their Food.

To stimulate ideas and debate among the participants about the theme and to develop their deliberation skills

20 mins

What are problems and solutions to hunger? Group divided into four two working on causes of hunger and two working on solutions to hunger. Brainstorm ideas on paper using words or images or both.

Oxfarm activities: Making a Meal of It, Lesson plan 7: Why are people hungry? & Lesson plan 9: Hunger, what can we do? Large sheets of paper Pens/colours

To begin to get participants thinking creatively about why hunger people go hungry and to begin to generate ideas as to how this problem could be solved

10/15 mins

Short Movie – Show a short movie that relates to food consumption, production or hunger eg: Fast Food Nation, Supersize Me or The Meatrix

DVD/YouTube link Projector or video player

Another method for stimulating ideas or showing a different aspect on the topic

10 mins

Reflection on Film – ask what participants thought of the film, did they learn anything new, do they agree with the film’s message, and how does this message relate to the Right to Food?

Ice-breaker exercise for facilitators if they have never met the group before and/or if the participants don’t know each other.

Further reflection and discussion of theme


Postcards Campaign on Food Rights

Raising Awareness Localy for Global Change Time

Description of activity



25 mins

What can we do? In groups or individually participants brainstorming solutions to the problem of hunger and the right to food and answer the following questions:

One page of four questions photocopied for groups or individuals

Looking towards the solutions and the message they want to send to the world. The ideas generated will be incorporated into the postcards.

A4 pages of coloured card Magazines, newspapers, leaflets with images of food, packaging can even be used for collage Scissors Glue Colours, pastels, chalks Letters and letter stencils

To create a set of postcards which although different all send a clear message about the Right to Food. Following the workshop these images can be scan and printed and sent to relevant people. Participants can decide who they would like to target for their campaign, their school authorities, local businesses or politicians, national government etc.

What can Children, Schools, Community, and the Government do to promote the Right to food? 40 mins

Art session – Making Postcards Participants are given the chance to create a postcard using images and a clear message of what they see as most important for the Right to Food.

10 mins

Feedback – participants share their work with the group and explain their idea behind the image

Allow the group to see the work produced by all participants and to generate further ideas.

10 mins

Warm down and wrap up – ask each participant to share one thing they learned in the workshop and finish with a game

To bring the day to a close with some reflection and fun!


Postcards Campaign on Food Rights

Raising Awareness Localy for Global Change What can be done about hunger? What can children do to reduce hunger?

What can schools do to reduce hunger?

What can Carrigaline do to reduce hunger?

What can govenment do to reduce hunger?


Postcards Campaign on Food Rights

Raising Awareness Localy for Global Change Sample postcards made by 4-5-6 class at Carrigaline Educate Together School, March 2011.


Postcards Campaign on Food Rights

Raising Awareness Localy for Global Change Background to the topic of Food Rights Where our food comes from and how it’s produced Coffee Coffee originated in Ethiopia from where it travelled to Europe and later the Americas Cultivation: Tropical climates throughout Latin America, SubSaharan Africa and Asia Top Producers: Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia and Columbia Highest consumption per capita: Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and the Netherlands (Ireland 38) 2.25 billion cups of coffee consumed every day 25 million small producers world wide Problems with cultivation: Deforestation, soil and water pollution, habitat destruction and large inputs of water: it takes about 140 litres (37 US gal) of water to grow the coffee beans needed to produce one cup of coffee, and the coffee is often grown in countries where there is a water shortage, such as Ethiopia. Fair Trade: guarantees coffee growers a negotiated preharvest price. A number of fair trade impact studies have shown that fair trade coffee has a positive impact on the communities that grow it.  

Chocolate Chocolate produced from the cacao beans which originated in Central America Top Producers: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil 50 million small farmers depend on the cacao trade Top consumers: Ireland consumes 11.2kg of chocolate per person every year, it is number 1 followed by Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg and the UK Problems with cultivation: Deforestation, Child labour: According to a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), in 2002, more than 109,000 children were working on cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), some of them in «the worst forms of child labour». Fair-trade cocoa producer groups in Belize, Bolivia, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Haiti, India, Côte d’Ivoire, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Sierra Leone. As of 2005, less than 1% of the chocolate market was Fair Trade. [31]

Tea Tea native to Southeast Asia and grown in sub-tropical climates Top producers: China, India Kenya, Sri-Lanka, Turkey Top consumers: 1: Turkey 2: Ireland & UK 4: Iran 5: Morocco Most widely consumed beverage in the world after water

Bananas Bananas are native to Southeast Asia but are cultivated across the tropics

Top producers: India, Philippines, China, Ecuador, Brazil Fyfees, an Irish company, are one of the top banana exporting companies in the world even though no bananas are grown in Ireland. They import bananas from Central America and export them to the rest of Europe Problems with cultivation: There is a “race to the bottom” being pursued in the banana industry as companies relocate from country to country in search of ever cheaper bananas. But somebody has to pay a cost for food to be ‘cheap’ and in the case of bananas this cost is being paid by hundreds of thousands of workers, small farmers and their communities. The impacts of this race to the bottom are devastating: migration, gender discrimination, cancer and even death caused by unprotected agrochemical use, environmental damage and a widespread failure to respect internationally agreed labour standards including, increasingly, the right to join an independent trade union.

Maize Maize (corn) originated in the Americas but is now the most widely produced corn though only a small proportion goes towards human consumption the rest being used for animal feed and bio-fuel Top Producers: US, China, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia Genetically modified (GM) maize is one of the 11 GM crops grown commercially in 2009. [32] Grown since 1997 in the United States and Canada, in 2009 85% of the US maize crop was genetically modified. It is also grown commercially in Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Canada, the Philippines, Spain and, on a smaller scale, in the Czech Republic, Portugal, Egypt and Honduras. [1]

Rice Rice is the most important grain for human consumption and is the second most widely produced grain after maize (corn) Top producers: Djibouti, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam Top Consumers: China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh & Brazil Problems with cultivation: requires large inputs of water

Tomatoes Tomatoes are native to Latin America and there are over 7500 varieties grown in the world. Top producers: China, US, Turkey, Italy

Potatoes Potatoes are native to Bolivia and Peru Top Producers: China, Russia, India, US, Ukraine (Sources: Wikipedia, Oxfam &

Intensive Farming & Agriculture Traditionally farmers would have grown lots of different crops and also kept animals so that they could feed themselves and also have some stock to sell for income.


Postcards Campaign on Food Rights

Raising Awareness Localy for Global Change

Nowadays there is an increasing pressure to farm intensively. This is a system of farming using large amounts of labour and money on small areas of land, relative to the amount of crop being produced or animals being reared. Intensive farming concentrates on one crop or animal type to make it as efficient as possible. Large amounts of people and machinery are used to spray fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides to growing crops: large amounts of money are needed to buy the machinery for this and then to keep them working as well as to build water systems to keep the crops watered. While these farms are very efficient at producing a lot of food at low prices and keeping production costs down they have a very negative effect on the environment. These include: Damage to the health of farmers and workers spreading the chemicals Soil damage and erosion leading to drought and crop failure Damage to hedgerows Factory-style production of meat, eggs and dairy products with little regard for animal welfare Can lead to an overreliance on the crop and if it fails this can cause major hardship

What can we do? Food production systems must achieve three aims: increase production and productivity, reduce pollution and re source degradation, and be socially and economically viable. Among hundreds of attractive possibilities, the following will have priority: ÀÀ Prevent soil erosion with live hedges, grass strips, orchard trees, green manuring ÀÀ Improve the management of irrigated areas, in particular by improving drainage to the 11 million hectares of waterlogged irrigation land in Asia; ÀÀ Large-scale promotion of integrated plant nutrition systems, which provide crops with the nutrients they need at the optimal return to the farmer; ÀÀ large-scale promotion of integrated pest management systems, which use biological and other techniques to control crop pests with a minimum use of pesticides; ÀÀ development of animal diets to reduce methane emissions from cattle; ÀÀ improved fishery management to allow marine stocks to recover, the; ÀÀ Foster biodiversity through techniques such as mixed use buffer zones to protect existing areas, and the maintenance of crop diversity through crop rotations and sequences.

(Sources: Oxfam Education, Wikipedia, World Egalitarian Initiative, Healthy Food For All, Water Policy Briefing Issue 16, Insight Review Articles: Agricultural sustainability and intensive production practices, Food For All: Food security and the environment)

Food Consumption & Packaging

Every day we consume goods that are packaged. The most common dilemma we have today is the disposing of the large amounts of waste we produce. In effect there is much interest today in the disposal of segregated waste. In Ireland we are provided with three bins and black bin, a green bin and a brown bin for collection by the local town councils in Ireland. Un recyclable rubbish goes into the Black bin, Recyclable rubbish such as cardboard and plastics goes into the green bin and organic waste (such as food waste) goes into the brown bin. This service that the council provided for each household is charged every year and there is lot more emphasises being put on local and Global industries disposing of their wastes in a more environmentally friendly way, as on an international level there are big problems with waste management. While in the Past, materials from dumps were used creatively, there is becoming more and more of a problem with chemical levels from the disposal of substances such as computer components in developing countries, where toxic levels are affecting the climate. Some of the materials we use daily in the packaging of daily good are: adhesives, Aluminium, Biphenyl ( BPA ), cling film, Phthalates, re-using packaging and plastics. Packages food and drink consumption in Europe is predicted to grow by 2% annually. The annual volume of 864 billion in packaged units is to have increased by more than 80 billion in 2015. So packaging types are going to be very important on the market place over the coming years in order for us to allow households to recycle what they can. (Reference : The Future of European Food and Drink Packaging 2015). While the report is focused on the business side of packaging there is also a large amount of the article dedicated topic such as sustainable packaging and the plastic bags ban. Today we are charged for every plastic bag we use from our local supermarkets are Plastics while they can be recycled can take a long time to disintegrate. Glass accounts for 10% of all packaging in produced goods. It can be easily recycled and there are many bins and other recycling facilities around local areas. The first bottle banks were erected in 1977 and there are now 50,000 bottle banks on over 20,000 sites around the UK. Recycling rates in order countries have reached up to 80%-90% unlike the 33% recycling rate we see for glass in the UK. So if you’re not availing of the local bottle banks you should be. Better infrastructure in Other European countries makes it easy for people to recycle. So if you can recycle what you can today as it’ll set a good example for future generations. If the more we consume is on the rise then the amount we have to dispose of is going to be on the increase and we must make the most out of what is being provided in our Countries so we can put


Postcards Campaign on Food Rights

Raising Awareness Localy for Global Change more pressure on other Countries with waste disposal issues. If their waste and dump grounds are so toxic they are causing a change in the climate then we must do our best to set an example. Nuclear power can even be recycled all we need is to encourage the governments of today to invest in industrial resources that provided us with the ability to re-use waste.

Local Food, Why is it better? When we buy food today we mostly see our choice as informed by simple notion of hunger. However, each choice we make has many consequences on other people lives, such as farmers and farm workers, and on local and distant environments, on faraway and close by communities, on the economies of different countries depending on where the food was grown, processed, packed, and shipped from and to. Not many people realise the amount of power that is hidden in every food choice, a power that is reflected in Wendell Berry words: “Eating is an agricultural act”. If we look at the food we buy today, our food is usually less fresh since it been often picked before it’s ripe and it travelled for many miles. It less tasty because the verity was chosen for other attributes such as capacity to handle the long transport, long shelf life, and appearance. Taste is usually very far on that list. And it’s less health, much of our food today is packaged and processed, it’s full of artificial preservatives, sugar, salt, fats, which are known to cause cancer and obesity. We know very little about the food we get in the shop, we sometimes know where it came from, we might know the date of expiry, and if it was grown in an organic method and if some of it was produced in fair trade values. We don’t know the conditions of production, or date of harvest, and for food that is not marked ‹fair-trade’ we don’t know the farmer’s share in the profit. less knowledge means less democracy, and less power to consumers. Small scale local food system on the other hand, are more self regulating, maintain a dynamic equilibrium through time, they keep local knowledge alive on many aspects such as soil, ecosystems, land races, non crop plants, pollination, community needs and more. The local farmer is a better stewards of the last since they have to deal with the consequences of their actions, consequences that big agribusinesses can avoid. The first step for changing this system is to re-establish the connection between farmers and consumers. We need to change our diet, reduce meat and animals products, reduce products that require excessive transport, and buy products that fresher food with less packaging. And we need to designate more land for stewardship practice, meaning small farms, allotments, and back gardens. To support food producers that have a bigger stake in their communities.

The characteristics of alternative food system would be to produce food and consume it on bio-regional basis; to shorten the food supply chain; and to create interdependent ddscommunity of farmers and consumers, distributors and retailers.  A local food system with those characteristics will have a positive impact on local cultural development, on local environment, on local social aspects and on the local economy. In this model our diet will be using a more traditional food caching (food cellaring, preserving, drying and canning), it will be more seasonal and it will be produce in a local area that is defined by distance. Borrowing the idea of water shed, a local food system can be described as ‹food shed’ – a geographically limited sphere of land, people and businesses tied together by food relationships. The benefits of a food shed system are: reduce fossil fuel (by less transport), less energy spent on process and storage because food is consumed sooner. Food waste is recycled back into the farm brining nutrients back into the soil, diversity on farm and landscape level healthier integration of urban, working landscapes and natural ecosystems, and money stays in local economy. A shorter food chain have many positive aspects, a local food supply system is more able to respond to global collapse such as one caused by pick oil and climate change. It forms better relationship between consumer and farmers and it allows integrated farm management (IFM) and other points that were described above. However, local food system is more vulnerable to extreme weather, war and long economic collapse, it won’t be able to provide a long supply in area of food shortage, and it forces areas to grow produce that doesn’t suit the climate or soil. In all those a global food system is much more capable. We don’t need to choose between the two, but to create the option to enjoy both in a responsible way. Getting in closer touch with the people who produce our food and creating a food community is an important step. Making our food life a democratic process by finding our more information about our food, what it contains, where did it came from, and what where the work conditions of the people who made it. By asking ourselves why do we choose a food item: Is it because it’s nutritious? Or because it’s cool? Is it because it’s fast or because it’s tasty? How do we feel after we would it this food? Do we buy it only because it’s cheap? Or sweet? Or trendy? If we make our choices more informed we are already making a positive change in our life and consequently in our communities. (Sources: Stephen R. Gliessman. “Agroecology” chapter 23 culture, community and sustainability; Bruce Darrell, “Fleeing Vesuvius over coming the risks of economic and environmental collapse” the nutritional resilience approach to food security; Rob Hopkins “Local food”)


Postcards Campaign on Food Rights

Raising Awareness Localy for Global Change Feeding 6 Billion People from a Small Planet Access to Food: The International and Domestic Context Hunger and malnutrition are probably the greatest challenges to human development in today’s world. The number of chronically hungry and undernourished people in the world spiked at 1 billion in 2008 as a result of sharp rises in food prices brought on by the world economic crisis (Khoo, 2010). In the Irish Hunger Task Force 2008 report Irish Aid signalled combating hunger as the priority for aid and development. The Millennium Development Goals include reducing the number of people suffering from hunger by half by 2015 (Irish Aid, 2008). Hunger and malnutrition, however, are not just problems of the developing world; developed countries are now facing crises of over-nutrition and obesity and despite greater levels of economic growth and human development there are still some sectors of society that suffer from food deprivation. This essay will first look at hunger on a global scale and the response from the international community before turning to deal with issues of hunger in Ireland and how we are dealing with this at a local and national level but also how our Aid policy is contributing to fighting hunger on a global scale.

Hunger is a Worldwide Problem Since the 1960’s the proportion of hungry people in the world has decreased from 33% to 18% but the world’s population has almost tripled since then and the absolute numbers have not improved. In south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa hunger continues to grow (Irish Aid, 2008). In India there are 204 million hungry people and in China 142 million. The majority of people who suffer from hunger are not facing acute starvation instead they face chronic malnutrition which effects life-expectancy, maternal and infant mortality and child development. The lack of essential nutrients such as Iron, Iodine and Vitamin A cause anaemia, mental retardation and blindness in millions of people (Khoo, 2010). There is, however, more food in the world: food production increased by 25% between 1990 and 1997. The problem is one of production, access and distribution. Climate change and global warming are having serious affects on food production in countries where hunger is most urgent and continuing inflation in food prices continues to impede people’s ability to access sufficient food (Irish Aid, 2008). The richest 20% of people in the world consume 16 times more than the poorest 20% and this is leading to a crisis of over-consumption. There are 1 billion overweight people in the world and 300 million obese people. More doesn’t mean better as many

obese people lack essential Vitamins and minerals and are at risk from major health problems such as diabetes and heart disease (Khoo, 2010). The Food Safety authority in Ireland have found that it is ten times cheaper to feed a family on foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt than healthier foods such as fruits, vegetables and lean meat (Healthy Food for All, 2009). In Ireland over-consumption is not the only problem; it is estimated that 15% of the population experience some form of food deprivation be it through, affordability access, availability or choice (Ibid). “Food poverty can de defined as the inability to access a nutritionally adequate diet and the related impacts on health, culture and social participation (Combat Poverty, 2008).” Those groups which are most vulnerable to food poverty in Ireland are low-income households, the elderly, the homeless and the refugee/ asylum seeker communities. Income and the percentage share of income which must be spent on food, access to retail outlets where cheaper and healthier food is available, the capacity to shop, availability of transport and access to storage and cooking facilities can all act as constraints on food consumption (Ibid).

The Aid Response The aim of Irish Aid’s Hunger Task Force Report was to evaluate the status of world hunger, to assess measures that are already being taken and to propose new measures to tackle this crisis. The report states that there is a failure of national and international governance in terms of efforts being made to eradicate hunger and that it is unlikely that the MDGs will be met. They see a role for Ireland in becoming a world leader in the eradication of hunger by promoting this as an essential aim of development and poverty reduction initiatives. They also see a need for the reform of international institutions such as the UN and international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary fund to focus on methods for eradicating hunger (Irish Aid, 2008). On a practical level they recognise the need for increased agricultural production, especially in Africa where Irish Aid is most active, and they have chosen to support small holder agriculture as the most efficient and effective way of combating hunger. By promoting bio-diversity on small farms, farmers can become self-sufficient in food and even generate an income from the sale of their surplus crops. They emphasise the usefulness of local farming knowledge, growing crops suitable to the region and the need to constantly link agricultural practices to nutrition. They also stress the need for equitable access to markets for farmers and fair prices for produce. Irish Aid have signalled that support for women is crucial as they make up 80% of small holder farmers and women usually look after the health and nutrition of their families (Ibid).


Postcards Campaign on Food Rights

Raising Awareness Localy for Global Change Other methods to tackling the hunger crisis have been proposed. AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution for Africa) is a collective of a number of African governments, philanthropic organisations such as the Rockefeller and Gates Foundations and agribusiness. It has proposed to implement a green revolution similar to that which happened in India from the 1960’s onwards. This aimed to reduce hunger by focusing on the mass production of high yield varieties of rice and wheat. However such farming required huge investments of machinery, irrigation and large inputs of chemical pesticides and fertilisers. While food production did increase yearly by 7% poor Indians could not afford higher food prices, much of the bio-diversity and as a result dietary diversity was lost and there was huge rural unemployment as small farmers were pushed out of business. The environment also suffered through soil degradation, deforestation and overuse and pollution of water sources. Nevertheless AGRA see no impediments to a similar revolution working in Africa as technology has moved on and it is possible to create, for instance, drought resistant crops (GRAIN, 2007). While it is true that the world’s population continues to grow and that food production needs to be increased to combat hunger as well as meet the needs of expanding population it seems that small scale, more sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture would be more appropriate to allow people to feed them selves and generate their own income. How is Ireland responding to food deprivation faced by 15% of its population? The Healthy Food for All initiative led by Combat Poverty, Crosscare and St. Vincent de Paul aims to promote the implementation of food policies based on sustainable, affordable consumption and healthy eating across the public policy spectrum. They have already had cooperation from the HSE, Departments of Education, Social and Family Affairs, Health and Children. On a practical level they actively “support local initiatives which promote availability and access to healthy and affordable food for lowincome groups, with a focus on community food initiatives and direct food provision, including school meals.” (Combat Poverty, 2008). One such food initiative is the Seed to Plate Project in Southill, Limerick. They run two organic gardens in Southill with the participation of people from across the class and age divides in Limerick. The project aims to promote healthy eating and organic home gardening practices within the local community, to improve access and availability of fruits and vegetables in the community and to improve relations between young and older people within the community. They also operate a community café which cooks and sells produce grown in the organic gardens. It aims to be a self-sustaining initiative based on community participation (Healthy Food for All, 2009). There also exist in Ireland two food banks, one in Limerick

and Dublin, where producers and retailers can donate surplus products – canned food, fresh produce, frozen foods, cereals etc. – which are then redistributed among charities and NGOs who work with disadvantaged groups such as the homeless or low income families.

Conclusion Amartya Sen has said that hunger and famine are caused “by the inability of people to secure access to food – an entitlement failure (Zerbe, 2004).” While natural events such as changes in rainfall patterns may seem to cause famines it is in fact because people in Southern Africa have limited ability to secure access to other sources of food due to overall low levels of development, low incomes, access to land and the ability or willingness of their governments to provide assistance. Since the modern, post-Victorian era, the developed world, including Ireland, does not experience famine and yet it is clear that if 15% of the population still suffers from food deprivation or poverty that the developed world must question consumption and production patterns that have led to this situation. Neither are they separate problems, however. We live on a small planet with an ever growing population and it is up to all to realise our interdependence and to find sustainable alternatives to the current ways in which or food is produced, distributed and consumed so that everyone can enjoy their right to food. Bibliography Combat Poverty Agency, (2008) available at: http://www. GRAIN, (2007) ‘A New Green Revolution for Africa?’ available at: Healthy Food for All (2009) available at: http://www. Irish Aid, (2008) ‘Irish Hunger Task Force Report 2008.’ available at: Khoo, S. (2010) Lecture notes from SP404 Development and Change, NUI Galway Zerbe, N. (2004) ‘Feeding the Famine? American food aid and the GMO debate in southern Africa.’ Food Policy 29 pp.593-608


Postcards Campaign on Food Rights

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This campaign aims to raise Irish people’s awareness of how their actions effect people in the Ireland local communities and people in the d...