My post today is part of Blog Action Day (BAD) 2011.
Blog Action Day started in Australia on October 15, 2007, when Collis & Cyan Ta’eed invited bloggers from around the world to write about the same global topic on that day. Last year I joined thousands of bloggers from a hundred-and-thirty countries to write on Water.
As this year’s BAD day – October 16 - coincides with World Food Day, the 2011 theme is FOOD.
Last year on World Food Day I noted that:
- one in seven people alive today go hungry every day.
- Hunger kills more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. A child dies every six seconds from hunger.
- One in eight Americans received emergency food help last year
Nothing’s changed. If anything, it’s even worse.
What can ordinary folks like you and I do? Do we help feed the hungry when we tell our kids to “eat everything on your plate, because children are starving in Africa, Asia, or at the Homeless Shelter downtown?”
We aren’t feeding the hungry with our scraps, but hopefully we’re teaching our kids not to waste food, although I don’t know what kind of lesson they learn when they see how much food is thrown away at restaurants.
One way to defeat hunger, Empower women!
World Food Program’s “Focus on Women” Executive Director Josette Sheeran said, “People often ask: What can be done to defeat hunger? My answer is simple: empower women, because women are the secret weapon to fight hunger.”
in the hands of women, food is far more likely to reach the mouths of needy children.
Nangor Lobongia (left). Copyright: WFP/Rose Ogola
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On this World Food Day us folks with our full pantries and fridges don’t need to rush out and become vegetarians, but if we ate more vegetables with small portions of meat and fish, and never ever ate any animals, or animal “products” produced on a factory farm, that would be a great start.
Did I just hear you say, “I don’t buy food from factory farms!”
Do you know where your eggs come from? To answer that question, I repost part of a blog I wrote last year: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Do you buy the cheapest eggs you can find; or perhaps you’re concerned for your family’s health and pay extra for organic; or maybe you care about the *chickens*, and pay top dollar for organic free-range bought at a local farm?
Before World War II most egg farms in the U.S. had flocks of less than 400 hens, but today, about 95% of our eggs come from “egg factories” i.e. about 245 egg producers have more than 75,000 hens, and 12 have more than 5 million. That’s not a misprint – FIVE MILLION chickens – and they call it a “farm“? Help!
I’m sure you’ve driven past those huge egg operations without realizing there are around half a million chickens in those buildings. If you were ever allowed behind those nice clean walls you’d be shocked to see the conditions: three or four birds squashed in each cage stand on wire “floors” that make their feet bleed, offer them no space to move around or stretch their wings, and they are never allowed to forage for food, or see the light of day.
Cal-Maine, the largest egg producer in the country, sold 778 million eggs last year from their factory farms. An undercover worker of the Humane Society of the USA spent a month working at a Cal-Maine egg farm in Texas and videotaped what he saw. It’s horrifying…
Less than 5% of U.S. farmer’s allow their chickens to live cage free as they do at
Robert and Tracy G’s farm near Pisa, in Italy (photo left).
Mr F and I buy our eggs from small family farms at the farmer’s market, and on occasion at Wholefoods or Trader Joes where we willingly pay extra for organic cage-free eggs, because we think the term “organic” means they’re laid by happy healthy chickens and “cage-free” means they’re running around outside.
Not so. The Cornucopia Institute’s two-year-long investigation into organic egg farms shows that about 80 percent of the market’s certified organic eggs actually come from the same factory farms as those producing non-organic eggs,
“a high percentage of the eggs on the market should be labeled ‘produced with organic feed‘ rather than bearing the USDA-certified organic logo,” because many of these birds never actually get to set foot outdoors.
Check out the Cornucopia Institute “organic egg scorecard” list which shows ethical family farms, exposes factory farm producers, and which brands to avoid in the grocery store.
But in some States eggs must be washed in a chlorine bath, which damages the egg’s outer protective cuticle – like our nails – so they coat it with mineral oil “a petroleum product never intended for consumption.” Unfortunately the oil crosses over the semi-permeable shell membrane to end up in the egg you eat with your breakfast toast.
Some egg producers don’t wash in chlorine, some use vegetable oil, you’ll only find out if you ask the farmers directly.
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Don’t forget the millions that aren’t just hungry today, they’re starving because of famine, floods, earthquakes or wars.
If you’d like to help The World Food Programs
- 50 US cents per day can feed a hungry child or mother
- $50 donation will feed a girl in school for an entire year
- $72 will provide nutrition for a pregnant girl, or a new mother. (A malnourished mother usually gives birth to underweight babies, who are 20% more likely to die before the age of five).
click on this link to donate. Several countries offer tax-deductible options. And thanks.