I’ve been on the Hunger Challenge this week. It’s been forcing me to think a lot more about my food. That’s a good thing. Even someone like me, who used to work at a center for agroecology, tends to forget about where my food is coming from and who is involved in bringing it to me.
I have new found sympathy and respect for the people who make a $4 per day food stamp budget work. It takes careful planning and a lot of time cooking and shopping to eat on that. There are single parents out there trying to work two jobs and still plan meals on that tight a budget. They are amazing.
It’s infuriating that anyone would have to do that though. Food is a human right. And yet, according to the World Food Program
There are 1.02 billion undernourished people in the world today. That means one in nearly six people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life. Hunger and malnutrition are in fact the number one risk to the health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
Meanwhile, while people starve or scrape by as underpaid food system workers, agribusinesses and the food industry rake in monstrous profits. Even in bad times, Archer Daniels Midland is making profits of $64 million a quarter.
ConAgra brought in $165.9 million in profit last quarter. Monsato is cutting back now but looking to “more than double gross profit to as much as $8.8 billion in fiscal 2012 from $4.2 billion in 2007.” That’s right. That was billion with a b.
Food should not be a commodity that Wall Street speculates over and buys yachts with while millions are malnourished. It’s disgusting.