Thursday I spent the afternoon listening to Michael Pollan talk about his new book Cooking and the evening with a bunch of food bloggers and Save the Children, talking about hunger. A full, interesting day of contradictions.
The #foodiesvhunger evening was hosted by Save the Children to get food bloggers talking about the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign. Brie (a food blogger and Save the Children campaigner) spoke about real people and their hunger stories and how programs like financing a cow or a sheep have had a life changing impact – income, food, school for their kids, opportunities. And it's so uplifting and hopeful to think that you can sponsor a cow or a couple sheep and totally change a family's life. That's tremendous and real and tangible and makes the donor feel important and useful and like your money is really making a difference. I get that. But you can't buy goats and cows for every family in the poor parts of the world and fix the problems of hunger. In order for there to be a lasting systemic change that means your grandchildren aren't also buying cows to give to poor people, we need a significant political shift.
That's what the Enough IF campaign is about. Hundreds of organisations around the world have joined forces to send a single message to politicians around the world: put hunger on the agenda. There's enough food to feed everyone. The Enough IF campaign is working to make sure that the issue of hunger remains a key focus for the upcoming G8. Now they need people power to make sure that the message is heard, loud enough for the politicians attending the G8 and Hunger Summit to know that this matters to their consituents.
On June 8 in London David Cameron is hosting a pre-G8 meeting on Hunger. The Enough IF campaign is holding an event in Hyde Park, not far from the meeting. A rally to show people that feeding everyone is possible and to show the politicians that it matters to us. People power and support is important and more powerful that retweeting something or liking something on Facebook.
And you should care. Our #foodiesvhunger evening was centred around lovely wines and a gorgeous dinner put together by River Cafe sommelier Emily O'Hare and Head Chef Danny Bohan, friends of Amy from Save the Children. We drank beautiful wine and ate beautiful food, but we started the evening with a spoonful of ugali, a tasteless sludge of corn flour and water. It's a common staple starch food in eastern Africa and is meant to be eaten with other things – I imagine it's sort of like a rice or polenta base for the real food, the vegetables and meat. But if you can't afford the meat and vegetables part you eat ugali stuff on its own. It's basically nutrionless. It is definely tasteless. And if your kids grow up eating only that they will not grow up healthy.
So as we sat around eating phenomenal ham and risotto and rabbit and fresh borlotti beans (which was my favourite part of the meal) and drinking a gorgeous selection of wines that were paired with the food and enjoying conversation and laughter… well, it just makes you think. I don't think anyone needs to feel guilty about the circumstances of their lives, but we do need to recognise our privilege and acknowledge that we are lucky and not everyone is. And that we are not powerless to help those people who are not as lucky as we are. You can help buy a sheep. Or you can tweet about the #BigIF campaign. Or you can sign up here. Or you could actually show this matters with your time and your presence and attend the big event on Saturday the 8th of June.