Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Food Actions: Ban GMOs in Santa Fe; Use 1% of Albuquerque Public School Budget to Buy Locally

No GMOs in Santa Fe
 Healthy-food advocate Ethan au Green, South West organizer for Real Food Challenge, invites you to  join farmers, consumers and sustainable food advocates as they ask Santa Fe's Food Policy Council to take meaningful steps toward labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food, banning GMO crops in Santa Fe, and increasing local organic / non-GMO food production.

Thursday, April 24, 9 to 11 am
Location: The Food Depot meeting room
1222 Siler Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505


The mission of The Santa Fe City and County Advisory Council on Food Policy (the Council) is to create and maintain a regional food system that nourishes all people in a just and sustainable manner.

For over a year, the Food Policy Council has avoided taking a clear policy position on the production and labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, despite instructions by a unanimous resolution of Santa Fe City Council, introduced by Councilor Patti Busheei, to develop policy recommendations for labeling retail GE food sales and banning crop-based agricultural GMO production within Santa Fe.

At the previous Food Policy Council meeting in March 2014, indigenous farmer and Council member Emigdio Ballon insisted that it is time for the Council to stop delaying and determine a clear position on this crucial issue of public concern, particularly in light of widespread opposition to plans for 93 acres of city-owned land to be leased to a Washington-based corporation for genetically engineered poplar trees in Espanola, NM.

Following Mr. Ballon's plea for urgency, the Food Policy Council agreed to dedicate much of the April meeting to discussing final determination of policy recommendations for Santa Fe's stance on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Please join farmers, consumers and sustainable food advocates as we ask the Santa Fe Food Policy Council to adopt a strong position in favor of meaningful steps toward GE labeling, banning GMO crops in Santa Fe, and increasing local organic / non-GE food production. Join Facebook Event

Urging Albuquerque Public Schools to Buy from Local Farmers

The Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) is planning a conversation around a proposal to the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County and Albuquerque Public Schools (APS), asking for 1% of all food purchasing budgets to be set aside for purchasing from local producers.  APS is the largest purchaser of food in the state of New Mexico, and just 1% of their general purchasing budget could help establish a secure market for farmers.

Former State Senator Eric Griego will be joining the conversation to help strategize and answer questions folks might have along the way.  The dinner meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 30, at 5:30  at SWOP, 211 10th St. SW, Albuquerque  RSVP on Facebook 

"As we continue to work with farmers and food insecure communities along the Rio Grande we have identified a need for inclusive policy such as these," said organizers of the SWOP campaign.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Salvaging Food: New Mexico Public School Lunches Also Have Unused Food (Part 2)

(This is the the second of four parts on the theme of salvaging food from restaurants. Part 1 looked at a comprehensive guide put together by the National Restaurant Association and USDA. Part 2 looks at a Memorial approved in the New Mexico House of Representatives, related to the federal Good Samaritan Law)

One of the initiatives the New Mexico State Legislature approved approved during this year's 30-day session was House Memorial 7 (HM7).  The measure, introduced by Rep. David M. Gallegos of Eunice, gained unanimous approval.. A memorial does not carry the weight of law nor does it require any appropriations.  Nevertheless, this is more than a symbolic expression from the State Legislature. The original proposal by Rep. Gallegos simply sought to make it easier for public school directors to donate excess school meals to feeding operations.  The final version added a provision to create a working group that would look at food redistribution in our state.  Here are some excerpts from the legislation:

A MEMORIAL REQUESTING PUBLIC SCHOOL FOOD DIRECTORS TO DONATE EXCESS SCHOOL MEALS; REQUESTING STATE AGENCIES AND NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS TO CONVENE A WORK GROUP TO ADDRESS FOOD REDISTRIBUTION TO HUNGRY AND HOMELESS PEOPLE IN NEW MEXICO.

WHEREAS, the Food Donors Liability Act protects food donors acting in good faith from any civil liability or criminal penalty regarding the condition of the donated food, and Public Law 110-247, the Federal Food Donation Act of 2008, encourages executive agencies and contractors of executive agencies to donate excess, apparently wholesome food to nonprofit organizations to feed food-insecure people in the United States; and

WHEREAS, an executive agency making donations pursuant to the Federal Food Donation Act of 2008 is exempt from civil and criminal liability to the extent provided under the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act; and

WHEREAS, there are nonprofit organizations in New Mexico that engage in "food rescue programs" to salvage food from restaurants, repackage it and give it to nursing homes;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the public education department be requested to inform all school district and charter school food services directors that they are encouraged to donate excess school meals to public or nonprofit organizations that feed the hungry and the homeless...

Read the Full Memorial

(Coming Friday: Part 3 looks at how a restaurant owner started a food salvage operation, which eventually became The Food Depot food bank in Santa Fe).

Monday, April 21, 2014

Salvaging Food: A Guide from the National Restaurant Association (Part 1)

I started putting together this blog post to highlight how Reunity Resources and the City of Santa Fe had developed a pilot progam to convert food scraps to compost.  As I was conducting research on how restaurants deal with leftover food, I cam across a very interesting and comprehensive guide (put together by the  National Restaurant Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture) for restaurants to donate their leftover meals to  food-salvage operations,

So I decided to look at the issue in a four-part series. Part 1 offers excerpts from the guide, Part 2 provides excerpts from a memorial passed by the State Legislature to encourage public our state's public schools to donate excess food, Part 3 describes how food salvage got its start in Santa Fe, and Part 4 looks at the operation that changes food scraps to compost.

Here are a few excerpts from the report  entitled Food Donation: A Restauranteur's Guide

Food Donation
Of the many methods employed to fight the problem of hunger in America, food recovery may be one of the best because it makes use of wholesome food that would otherwise be discarded. A June 1997 study by the US. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that more than one-quarter of all food produced in the nation is wasted. The study, conducted by the USDA Economic Research Service, is the first of its kind in 20 years to examine and quantify food loss. The study found that, in 1995, about 96 billion pounds of food-or 27 percent of the 356 billion pounds of food available for human consumption in the United States-were lost at retail, consumer and foodservice levels... With little effort, [restauranteurs] can make a huge difference in the lives of children, the elderly, the home- less and even the working poor in their communities by doing something that is already second nature to most restaurant professionals-feeding people.

Rescuing Fresh Produce
Restaurateurs should begin their search for donation items by looking at the food they have in storage, such as fresh produce that will spoil before it can be used. While no one would want to eat anything that is moldy, there are many occasions when perfectly edible fruits and vegetables are thrown out because they have passed the point of restaurant quality or freshness or are discovered to have bruises or to be soft so that the produce cannot be served to customers.

Protection from Liability
One of the biggest obstacles to donating food to hunger programs has always been the prospective donor’s fear of liability. However, everyone involved in the fight against hunger is now breathing easier since the passage of the Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act in October 1996. The coverage provided by this law-in combination with proper food-safety practices and thorough documentation-will go a long way toward protecting restaurants from liability in the unlikely case of a lawsuit involving donated food. 

(Next: Part 2: Donating Excess Food from Public Schools in New Mexico)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter: Experiencing God's Radical Transformation

Lavender blooms
Easter is not merely about the cycle of life and the return of greenery after its hibernation through winter. It’s about God’s radical transformation of us and our lives, about how when we surrender to God’s grace, we are changed into new people. When we give ourselves in love, God gives us new life. Resurrection is no mere happy ending, a return of life that was there all along but hiding: it’s about a beginning, about new life, life out of actual total death, life that really wasn’t there before at all.   -Steve Garnaas Holmes
         from Holy Week reflection in Unfolding Light blog

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Good Friday in Downtown Albuquerque A Day of Mixed Emotions

As I was walking on the sidewalk outside Immaculate Conception Church to my car, perhaps 20 minutes after the Urban Way of the Cross had ended, a man stopped to ask me a question. "Excuse me sir," he said. "I heard there was going to be a Way of the Cross ceremony here today. Did I miss it?" The man was wearing dirty clothes and was carrying a soiled backpack. He might have been homeless. I looked him directly and said, "yes, we did have a Way of the Cross ceremony here this morning. I'm sorry you weren't able to join us." He looked at me with a somewhat disappointed look and thanked me for the information. All I could do at this point was to thank him for asking. He smiled and walked away.

The contrast of this day did not escape me. The route of our walk went in front of police headquarters and the site where just a couple of weeks ago hundreds of citizens gathered to protest police mistreatment of the homeless community, and in particular the senseless and unnecessary shooting of a homeless man. Our task at the police station was different. We were charged with offering quiet indignation along with prayers.

Indignation and Mourning
As I thought back on the different reflections that were presented this morning, I realized that our task this day was to contemplate on human rights. The Christ whom we mourn this day was the victim of torture and capital punishment.

None of our seven stations this morning addressed those topics specifically, but we examined how we as a society are complicit in other areas. Why are some people in our society not paid fair wages? Do we discard returning citizens, especially women, after they are released from prison? Do those in authority (and ourselves) treat people differently based on appearance? Why do many families in our country not have access to wholesome food (or any food)? Why do we mistreat undocumented immigrants? Why is creating community not as important as housing a homeless person? Is hospitality at the center of our work with the homeless community? We not only mourned and expressed indignation.  We prayed in song after each of our reflections.

Blessing and Gratitude
But Good Friday is not just about mourning. This day is also about blessings, although different than those we experience on Easter Sunday. The Creator gives us an opportunity on this day to contemplate, and contemplation offers a deep sense of cleansing.
Walking deepens our sense of contemplation, even if it's on the sidewalks of downtown Albuquerque instead of a labyrinth.

And as we take in the quiet and the stillness (even with occasional cars buzzing by), we make that connection with the Creator. And at that point, we cannot help but feel a sense of gratitude.

This is what my prayer was when I was anointed on the forehead with oil. Thank You God.  I was thankful not only for myself, but for everyone there, especially the woman who joined us in the pilgrimage on her electric wheelchair. I saw the face of God in the gentleness of  the small service dog she was embracing on her lap. I'll remember the woman and her doggie on Easter Sunday.We know and feel Resurrection with a a big Hallelujah!, which is what we will celebrate on Sunday. But after that moment is over, then there is the quiet and steady Hallelujah, the moment when we realize that God loves not only me personally but all of humanity.

Click here for photos from the 2014 Urban Way of the Cross

(Ellen Buelow, a member of the Bread for the World leadership team in New Mexico and a volunteer with Catholic Charities, offered the reflection on food insecurity at the fourth station. The reflection lasts about 4 1/2 minutes).

Friday, April 18, 2014

Threatened with Resurrection (The Words of Guatemalan Poet Julia Esquivel)

Julia Esquivel is a Guatemalan poet and theologian exiled in Mexico. She has worked with several human rights organizations, and her poetry has been widely recognized in the Americas. 

As her native Guatemala endured nearly 30 years of catastrophic political violence under the rule of a series of dictators, Esquivel watched as thousands and thousands of Maya, Quichez and other indigenous groups were savagely murdered. Hundreds of villages were literally wiped off the face of the earth and the entire nation experienced a type of profound communal trauma in the face of massive and often arbitrary brutality.  Where others gave up hope, or took up arms in resistance, Esquivel searched for another path toward peace, playing the role of activist, poet, and minister. One of her most popular books is entitled The Certainty of Spring.

The poem "They Have Threatened Us with Resurrection" reflects the anguish created by years of repression and war in her native Guatemala and other Central American countries in the 1970s, and1980s. On this Good Friday, I would like to share some excerpts from the poem.

It is something within us that doesn't let us sleep,
that doesn't let us rest,
that won't stop pounding
deep inside,
it is the silent, warm weeping
of Indian women without their husbands,
it is the sad gaze of the children
fixed somewhere beyond memory,
precious in our eyes
which during sleep,
though closed, keep watch,
systole,
diastole, awake...
.
What keeps us from sleeping
is that they have threatened us with Resurrection!
Because at each nightfall
though exhausted from the endless inventory since 1954*,
yet we go on loving life
and do not accept their death!..
Join us in this vigil
and you will know what it is to dream!
Then you will know how marvelous it is
to live threatened with Resurrection!

-Julia Esquivel
Read full poem on Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality

(Translationfrom Spanish by Ann Woehrle)
*Inventory since 1954: year in which the government of President Jacobo Arbenz was overthrown by a CIA-backed mercenary army coup, which initiated the unrelenting and ever-mounting repression by the military regimes in continuous power since then.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mother Teresa: Hunger Not Only for Bread

At Loyola University, New Orleans
“God has identified himself with the hungry, the sick, the naked, the homeless; hunger not only for bread, but for love, for care, to be somebody to someone; nakedness, not for clothing only, but nakedness of that compassion that very few people give to the unknown; homelessness, not only just for a shelter made from stone but for that homelessness that comes from having no one to call your own.”

- Mother Teresa

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Music, Film and Pottery: The Arts at the Center of Efforts to Alleviate Hunger and Homelessness in New Orleans


(from WLAE Video on Vimeo)

In April 2013, New Orleans Artists against Hunger and Homelessness (NOAAH) celebrated the 75th birthday of one of its founders, Grammy Award winner Allen Touiissant, as part if its annual benefit concert. The event was made into a full-length documentary film entitled A Tribute To Toussaint. The film will premiere on Wednesday, April 30, 7:00 p.m. at the Seventh Annual Sync Up Cinema Conference Film Screening at The New Orleans Museum of Art. The documentary also features performances by renown artists Elvis Costello, Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Jon Cleary, Cyril Neville, Joe Stampley and Joe Henry. Documentary interviews include Jimmy Buffett, Robert Plant, and Cyndi Lauper.  The event is Free and open to the public.

2014 Benefit with Empty Bowls Project
NOAAH's annual fundraiser this year will be a little more low key (but there will still be music! And Allen Touissant will also be there!).  The event will be held in conjunction with the New Orleans Empty Bowl Project on Sunday, May 11, at Rock-n-Bowl, 3000 South Carrollton Avenue,from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Empty Bowls is part of an international grassroots effort to fight hunger.

Admission is $30 and includes a complimentary bowl and bowling. Performing will be The Hot 8 Brass Band, recent Grammy nominees and featured in the HBO series (see video below). There will be a cash bar and food provided by Kajun Kettle and Southern Hospitality.

A silent auction will feature bowls glazed and signed by guest artists, including Allen Toussaint who will attend the benefit. Earth and Fire Studio in New Orleans was instrumental in coordinating potters from the region who have donated the 300 bowls for the May 11 benefit.

Click here for more information and tickets

Monday, April 14, 2014

Washing of the Feet Rituals in Rome and in Albuquerque

 "Washing feet [is] important to present the Lord's spirit of service and love."
-Rev Federico Lombardi, chief spokesman for The Vatican
The tradition of the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday is based on John 13: 1-17, commemorating a ritual that was said to have taken place before the Last Supper. In what context should we take this Jewish tradition of ritual cleansing? Some view this tradition as merely a reenactment of what might have occurred when Jesus was gathered with his disciples for his last meal.  We miss an opportunity for spiritual growth if we view this as only a remembrance ritual.

"By dressing as a servant and undertaking the servile and humiliating task of washing feet, Jesus identifies the paradoxical manner in which God chooses to reveal himself," Peter Lopinski wrote in McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry. "The foot-washing episode parallels the account in Luke 22:27, wherein Jesus states: 'I am among you as one who serves'."

Pope Francis illustrated this on Holy Thursday of  last year when he  he washed the feet of two women at a Rome youth prison, a sharp contrast to his predessor, who the previous year washed the feet of 12 priests during a Mass in Rome's St. John Lateran Basilica. On Holy Thursday 2014, Pope Francis plans to visit the Centro Santa Maria della Provvidenza Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi home, where he will wash the feet of residents, many of whom are elderly and disabled.

Many communities across the country use the occasion as another opportunity to serve the homeless community. In Santa Barbara, CA., the organization Willbridge community has led a community service that includes non-profit organizations and churches.

Washing of the Feet at Albuquerque Rescue Mission
Locally, Albuquerque Rescue Mission will hold its annual Feet Washing for homeless and near homeless men, women and children this coming Saturday, April 19, from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.

Staff and volunteers will provide those in need with shoes, socks, medical attention, as well as other services like blood pressure checks, dental consultations, and haircuts. Prayer and counseling will also be offered.

Any donation of shoes, socks, toiletries or candy for children’s Easter baskets can be dropped off at Albuquerque Rescue Mission, 525 2nd Street SW (phone number is 346-4673).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Food Distribution Center Opens in Truchas, New Mexico

(Photo courtesy of Mary Singleton)
If you saw the movie Milagro Beanfield War, then you're familiar with the scenery around the rural mountain community of Truchas in northern New Mexico. Robert Redord filmed this popular movie in this small community nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in 1988..

The setting is also reminiscent of Collbran, Co., one of the locations where the the documentary A Place at the Table was filmed.  And there are parallels between Collbran and Truchas: both are communities with small populations that are experiencing hunger. Collbran has about 790 residents, while the population of Truchas is 560 (according to the 2010 census). There is another similarty: both communities are located about an hour away from the nearest city. Collbran is situated about 40 miles from Grand Junction, while Truchas is about 37 miles from Santa Fe. Despite the relatively small distances, the two communities are isolated enough that residents are not able to access services in the nearby big city. (I made an earlier comparison between Mesa County--where Collbran is located--and Grant County in southwest New Mexico).

First food distribution in Truchas on April 9 attracted 65 customers  (Photo courtesy of Mary Sngleton)
Food distribution twice a month  
You know the story in A Place at the Table.  Pastor Bob Wilson of the Plateau Valley Assembly of Good took frequent trips to Grand Junction to obtain food from the local food bank to supply a food pantry in the city. 

In the case of Truchas, the Truchas Services Center worked with The Food Depot food bank in Santa Fe to create a food distribution program in Truchas.  Mary Singleton, who serves as treasurer of  the board of the Truchas Services Center, said the organization had worked tirelessly over many weeks and months to open the distribution center. "This has been a long time dream of mine - after many years of writing letters we will actually get to provide food directly to our community!," said Ms. Singleton, a Bread for the World member who regularly organizes Offerings of Letters at Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church in Truchas. "It's hard to put in words what this means to me personally."  
 
On Wednesday, April 9, members of the community received the first food boxes. "We had about 65 customers which is huge for our small community," said Ms. Singleton,  "Working with the Food Depot in Santa Fe has been the key to making this happen.  They helped us put together a plan for food delivery and filled our order with so much more than we expected.  All the food was distributed in less than an hour."

Since 1974, the Truchas Services Center  has provided a variety of services to the community, including a  library, a preschool program, a community center and  a summer arts program. Add to those a twice-monthly food distribution program for residents of  Truchas and nearby communities (like Ojo Sarco, Cordova and Chimayo) 

And Smith Memorial Presbyterian Program offers the community the opportunity for anti-hunger advocacy. Last  year, Mary Singleton organized a few members of her church to participate in the 2013 Offering of Letters campaign, which centered on A Place at the Table and the lack of access to nutritious food for many residents of our country.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Living Signs of Love

I receive daily e-mails from Gratefulness.org and from Sojourners (Verse and Voice) with spiritual and inspirational reflections. These reflections are usually quite different from each other. On rare occasions, the message is very similar, and this was the case this past Monday.  I share these reflections from Henri Nouwen and I. Carter Heyward.

Word for the Day
 Monday, Apr. 7
In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.  -Henri Nouwen
 
Verse and Voice 4.7.14

verse of the day
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.   - John 15:12-15

voice of the day
"In the Spirit which draws us into honest engagement with one another, including those who may be very different from us in various ways, God calls us to wake up and learn how to love and respect one another, period." - I. Carter Heyward

prayer of the day
Lord God, King of the Universe, we lift up our hands to you and ask you to help us bear the burden of injustice. Grant us a discerning spirit to follow your path to justice. Equip us with your patience and your grace so that as we walk with those who suffer, we might strengthen and uphold one another. Amen. - From Common Prayer

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Legal Right to Humanitarian Assistance (Two Online Discussions Sponsored by Doctors Without Borders)

THURSDAY, APRIL 10 at 1:00 PM EDT
Is Humanitarian Law Still Fit for Purpose?
Implications for Protection and Humanitarian Effectiveness

View the Live Webcast  

From Syria to the Central African Republic and South Sudan, today's conflicts remain characterized by appalling violence against civilians and recurrent obstruction to the delivery of humanitarian aid with blatant disregard for international humanitarian law (IHL). Paradoxically, IHL is one of the most widely accepted bodies of international law and has seen dramatic developments over the last decades, not least with the creation of international criminal jurisdictions, such as the International Criminal Court.

Moderator: Jérémie Labbé, Research Fellow for Humanitarian Affairs, International Peace Institute
Speakers: Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier, Legal Director, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
Hansjoerg Strohmeyer, Chief of Policy Development and Studies Branch, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Gabor Rona, International Legal Director, Human Rights First

MONDAY, APRIL 14 at 8:00 PM EDT
 

Current Challenges in International Humanitarian Law: An MSF Field 
Perspective
Join a panel of experts for an in-depth look at how applications of international humanitarian law impact MSF's responses to current emergencies in South Sudan, Central African Republic, Chad, and other conflict areas around the world.

MSF invites you to participate in a live webcast on Monday, April 14 at 8pm EDT to mark the release of the third English language edition of The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law.  

This online panel discussion will feature the book's author and MSF legal specialist, Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier, and two experienced MSF aid workers.  Drawing on their experiences from some of today's most violent conflict zones, the panelists will explore the challenges of ensuring armed groups respect international humanitarian law (IHL) and the safety of patients, health care workers, and medical facilities. They will also examine some of the tensions arising from the legal status accorded certain war-affected populations—whether refugees or internally displaced persons—and how this status affects their access to humanitarian assistance.

Register Here
(Viewer participation is encouraged via a chat feature available during the webcast).

Featuring:
Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier, Doctor of Law and magistrate, is the legal director of MSF and former research director at the Foundation Médecins Sans Frontières. She is the author of The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law. 
Timothy Harrison, RN, recently completed a four-month mission with MSF in Malakal, South Sudan—one of that country's most contested areas in the ongoing civil war. Harrison, a Boston-area based nurse, will reflect on this experience and provide insights gained from his eight previous missions with MSF.
Anthony Thouvenin is the Logistics Supervisor for MSF operations in Chad, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Sudan. He recently returned from the border of Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR), where he coordinated MSF's emergency project providing aid to those fleeing violence in CAR.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Pastor Urges Congregation to Participate in Offering of Letters With These Simple Words....

"This morning we have our letter writing campaign for Bread for the World...You can write a letter to your congressman and say 'I support the programs that help people who are [hungry]. And I want my political representatives to do the same.' It's so easy. God doesn't ask you to do what you can't do. God asks you to do what you can."

-Rev. Bob Campbell, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Community, Albuquerque (Sermon on Sunday, April 6)

Read More about 2014 Offering of Letters to reform food aid.

(Thanks to Larry Buelow for providing a video of Father Campbell's Sermon).

Monday, April 07, 2014

WFP Director Etharine Cousin: Touched by the Faces of Extreme Hunger

Photo: World Food Programme
Etharin Cousin, who was appointed as 12th executive director of the World Food Programme in April 2012, was the keynote speaker at a conference sponsored by the Institute of  International and European Affairs in Dublin, Ireland, in March 2014. Ms. Cousin talked about a visit to an exhibit about the Great Irish Famine, which shows some of the faces of the approximately 1.5 million Irish men, women and children died of starvation or related diseases.

"The expressions of those faces was very, very similar and familiar to me. They were faces I've seen in too many places today around the world...whether it's in a refugee camp in Dadaab...a mother in a refugee camp in Jordan who fled the Syrian conflict...or it's in The Philippines...talking to a mother or father who lost everything because of  [Typhoon Haiyan] because of the food that we are bringing.

While we are all thankful that the famines that created the history and have become a part of the history of this country are rare today, the reality is the challenge of lack of food, lack of access to nutritious food still exists.  And, unfortunately, in 2014 babies still die because of lack of access to food. 

So, people as, Is there a hunger crisis? Of course, there is a hunger crisis/  If 842 million people are food insecre  and 165 million children are chronically malnourished, that is a crisis. It is particularly a crisis because we know the answers on how to overcome food insecurity. "   

 
London newspaper The Telegraph has a great article about the WFP executive director.
Ertharin Cousin often wakes up at night, haunted by things she’s seen. It’s part of her job, as the executive director of the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP), to travel to some of the poorest countries in the world, and one particular experience has stuck with her: seeing two children in Somalia, the age of her own grandchildren, who were so malnourished they couldn’t move.  Read full article

Crisis in Central African Republic

(Note: The World Food Programme is providing assistance to refugees affected by an extreme crisis in the Central African Republic. The situation, which we wrote about in this blog a few weeks ago, has worsened. Here an update from The Telegraph

Click here to see how you can help the WFP respond to the crisis).

Sunday, April 06, 2014

An Eye-Opening Documentary About the Food Industry and Our Consumer Choices

The Media Literacy Project invites you to a free screening of the documentary Feeding Frenzy: The Food Industry, Marketing & the Creation of a Health Crisis today, Sunday, April 6, at the Guild Cinema. 3405 Central Avenue NE, in Albuquerque, at 4:30 p.m.. Ticket costs covered by Santa Fe Community Foundation.


Feeding Frenzy: The Food Industry, Marketing & the Creation of a Health Crisis [Trailer] from Media Education Foundation on Vimeo.

The screening will be followed by a food justice panel at B2B Bistronomy (across the street at 3118 Central Ave SE). The panel will feature Sut Jhally, executive director of the Media Education Foundation, and representatives from the Media Literacy Project, Los Jardines Institute, American Friends Service Committee, Tewa Women United, and Native Health Initiative.

The public is encouraged to purchase food at B2B Bistronomy, as 20 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Media Literacy Project.