The amount of food that goes to waste every passing day is nothing short of alarming. That handful of rice we end up throwing down the bin definitely has its repercussions. Nearly 800 million people worldwide suffer from hunger. Yet, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations, we end up wasting almost a third of our planet’s produce. That’s 2.9 trillion pounds of food going down the drain. With the world population expected to hit 9 billion people by 2050, hunger in this world is as big a problem as global warming.
If we were to look at just India, the picture is only marginally better than impoverished underdeveloped nations. As per UNICEF, every year over a million children in India die from causes related to malnutrition. You don’t need much more than that to realise how serious things are. While most of us remain oblivious to the real issues of the world, there are some people who deserve a lot more attention than they currently get as they fight for the millions surviving on nothing more than water. They are the ones actually making the difference.
Ayres was a Catholic priest in New York in the 60s when he realised his passion for radio broadcasting. Hosting and producing a radio talk show, Ayres would talk to many seeking advice from him. In 1975, Ayres and his friend and singer/songwriter Harry Chapin decided to do something to aid the impoverished with the most basic need, food. Together, they started The World Hunger Year (WHY) – an organisation that would fight hunger through charity and seek help from celebrities and leaders to help promote their cause. They believed that problems like poverty and hunger could only be tackled via long-term solutions like supporting community-based organisations. Along the way, Ayres also started additional organisations to help the cause of world hunger. As of now, he’s doing his best to help the needy, while also feeding his passion for writing and recording music.
With $2000 of cash advance on his credit card, Bill Shore founded Share Our Strength (SOS) along with his sister Debbie back in 1984. Share Our Strength is a national nonprofit organisation that aims to end the problem of child hunger in America. From a $2000 credit, SOS has raised and invested more than $528 million in the fight against hunger.
U2’s main man is not only famous for some really epic numbers, but also for his humanitarian work across the globe. His work dedicated to ending world hunger and eradicating the AIDS epidemic is nothing short of remarkable. Bono started his work for humanity after viewing a benefits show organised by Amnesty international back in 1979. Since then, the rockstar has been performing and organising charity events to raise money for awareness and resources. For his amazing work across the globe, he has been awarded the Pablo Neruda International Presidential Medal of Honor by the government of Chile, the Portuguese Order of Liberty and three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize apart from the Man of Peace Prize in 2008.
Sustainable food system activist, Ellen Gustafson raised a very valid point when she founded 30 Project, a campaign that would speak about the link between hunger and obesity. Her very valid concerns revolve around how big-money fast-food giants and convenience stores are driving out the farmers and the nutritious food that they’d grow. She was also a part of the FEED Foundation that fed over 60 million school children around the world with the money raised by selling 500,000 reusable bags.
Featured as the 47th most powerful woman in the world in 2015, Ertharin Cousin is the head of the UN World Food Programme – the world’s largest aid agency combating world hunger. Under her, the WFP helps hand out food items during the time of a crisis, helps farmers in production and better management of crops, and educates mothers in child malnourishment. Cousin’s ultimate goal is to eradicate world hunger and convert beneficiary nations into donor countries.
Jim has devoted all his career to help reduce hunger and poverty in the world. Acting as the president of the Food and Research Action Committee since 1998, Jim also works to protect the legal rights of children and people living in poverty and expanding their economic security. He has also litigated in the Federal Court and the Supreme Court to enforce reforms on medical aid, food stamps among other public benefits issues.
Originally a physicist, Coonrod’s tryst with The Hunger Project started back in 1977 where he started off as a volunteer. He joined the organisation in 1985 and worked his way up the ranks. Coonrod is currently the Executive Vice President there. At The Hunger Project, John takes care of all the research, advocacy, fundraising and communications efforts for the charity. He’s a big supporter of agriculture in the developing markets and raises awareness about how climate change will affect farming in the coming years.
Apart from being a scientist, writer and director, Dutch Louise Fresco is also an expert on food and agriculture sustainability. A former UN director, Fresco has a very strong hold on a number of global issues like poverty, hunger and other environmental issues. Smart agriculture, according to her, is the answer to the world’s hunger needs. She believes that we must support local agriculture around the world instead of being in love with the idea of a farmer’s market, overpriced items of food and homemade products. Having done field work in most of the 80 countries she has visited till date, she’s also an advisor to the Dutch government.
Rachel Zelon is the founding member and the current CEO of Hunger Relief International, a Christian relief and development organisation, that is trying to help eradicate hunger in malnourished families by working with the local communities. Zelon began her career with the Peace Corp before working with The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) for fifteen years helping in refugee assistance, protection and resettlement. She is also known for rescuing members of the Jewish community from Iraq in 2003.
Otherwise known as the ‘Indian Father Of Green Revolution’, Professor Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan is world-renowned for his work. For his work in the ‘Green Revolution’, he received the World Food Prize in 1987, the proceeds of which were used in setting up the M.S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF). The foundation works towards tackling the issues faced in agriculture, food and nutrition in rural India with science and technology.
Started by Ankit Kawatra, Feeding India is an organisation that works towards eliminating hunger from India by 2025. Largely a volunteer-run organisation, Feeding India collects excess food from donors, whether it’s homes, hotels, canteens or restaurants, and uses it to feed the hungry in the country. According to the United Nations development report, 40% percent, or Rs 58,000 crore worth of food produced in India goes to waste. Which is all the more alarming when we find out that a staggering 45% of Indian children die from malnutrition.