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Reverse Hunger: Ending the Global Food Crisis

Keep clicking to learn about AJWS's campaign to Reverse Hunger

American Jewish World Service

on 24 January 2013

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Transcript of Reverse Hunger: Ending the Global Food Crisis

We discovered that with a few changes to food aid policy, we can get lifesaving aid to crisis regions 14 weeks faster and feed up to 17 million more people — all for the same amount of money that we’re already spending, not a dime more. You may know that nearly 1 billion people around the world are hungry and malnourished. But did you know that there is enough grain to feed the world twice over? As the world’s largest donor of food to countries in need, every year U.S. international food aid saves millions of lives. But our generosity has unintended consequences. It turns out that U.S. food policy benefits large American agribusiness and shipping companies at the expense of the people we’re actually trying to help. So we decided that we must make our food aid dollars count! It's time we Our goal is bold yet simple:
Feed more people by stopping the unintended but tragic consequences of U.S. food policy. We’ve got a lot to tell you about what we're doing at home and around the world. What's been happening here at home? 2012 2011 October 2011 On World Food Day, we launched the Jewish Petition for a Just Farm Bill, to ask our representatives to take action for smarter food aid. November 2011 Global Hunger Shabbat, a program to raise awareness about our role in addressing global hunger, took place at 135 synagogues, 35 college campuses and 70 homes. January 2012 In less than two months, 10,000 people signed the petition! January 2012 We brought together the Jewish Farm Bill Working Group and amplified our voices! February and March 2012 AJWS activists came to Washington, DC to lobby for just food aid reform. April 26, 2012 The Farm Bill passes the Senate Agriculture Committee with key food aid reforms. April-May, 2012 To advance this work, 40 AJWS activists participated in 15 meetings with 10 congressional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. We are working with our partners around the globe to end hunger in their communities through building local, sustainable food systems and protecting land and water rights. This summer, thanks to you, we made our voices heard in the U.S. Senate. On June 14, 2012, we delivered the Jewish Petition for a Just Farm Bill with more than signatures to Congress and the White House Administration! Every seed represents a petition signer. 18,000 But what happened? 2012 July 11th, 2012 Unfortunately, the House Agriculture Committee passed a Farm Bill that is even worse for food aid than bills passed in previous years. It does not include any of the positive reforms in the Senate bill. Mid July 2012 We asked our members of Congress to sign Representative Marcia Fudge’s (D. Ohio) letter expressing strong support for food aid reform.

44 U.S. Representatives signed the letter! November 2012 Over 200 hundred communities across the country marked Global Hunger Shabbat. We took stock of our efforts to advance food justice for all and we took action: 4,000 activists from all fifty states signed the New Petition for New Urgency, calling on Congress to continue emergency food aid programs in danger of expiring at the end of the year. We’re starting over, but we’re not starting from scratch. It’s up to us to keep important food aid reforms alive in the next Farm Bill. 3 actions you can take: Host a Reverse Hunger event (http://bit.ly/10ducYH) in your own community, home, school or synagogue. Help us flood inboxes on Capitol Hill and make your voice heard (http://bit.ly/V9DAYx)! Check our website (http://bit.ly/QKtX0r) to learn more and stay up to date on everything Reverse Hunger! The time for action is now! A member of Southern Farmer Alliance, an AJWS partner, demonstrating farming techniques in Sai Ngan (Thailand). Saturnino Martinez harvesting yucca in the community agriculture space built by ASPROCIG in El Playon (Colombia). At Kilili Self-Help Project, a community garden, where Nutri-flour is produced (Kenya). We know we've already had an impact. The White House sent AJWS President Ruth Messinger a letter thanking us for our petition! A few days later on June 21, 2012, the U.S. Senate took a major step toward making our food aid system more effective by passing a Farm Bill with many of the key reforms we demanded. We proved that we can make a difference. But our work isn’t over. Photo: James Robert Fuller Photo: Evan Abramson Photo: Evan Abramson At AJWS, we understand that decades of U.S. policy have actually worsened the global hunger crisis. Reforms include:
U.S. aid dollars to buy food from local developing country farmers.
Flexibility to give cash--not commodities--for organizations working in crisis regions. Now, it's your turn to take action. Camille Chalmers, Executive Director of AJWS partner Haiti Advocacy Platform for an Alternative Development (PAPDA), is a key leader in the opposition to policies that have decimated Haiti's agricultural economy, rendering the country unable to feed itself. Meanwhile, in the U.S. House of Representatives... Beyond grantmaking, we know that ending the global food crisis demands action here at home: our efforts to change U.S. policy will have a real impact on the lives of millions of people. Here's an example: Just a few decades ago, Haiti produced enough rice to feed its own people. Now, because of U.S. and international trade and aid policies, Haiti produces less than 20% of its own rice and is forced to import the rest. We're proposing these reforms because in food crisis areas, sometimes food is available in local markets–it’s just too expensive. In these cases, it's better to use cash that will both allow hungry people to eat sooner, and also stimulate the local economy. That's why cash is better: it’s faster and it supports–instead of undermines–local economies. December 2012 Unable to reach agreement and with time running out before the end of legislative session, Congress passed a nine-month Farm Bill extension, rolling over most food and agricultural programs but missing the opportunity to enact food aid reform.
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