World Food day,2020 was celebrated on 16th October throughout the world. Young India network of Nada India foundation organized a webinar on 16th October to discuss the diversity of foods present in India and to spread awareness about the beauty of locally grown fruits and vegetables. The basic idea behind the event was to connect people from different parts of India so that they can share their food stories and eat healthy-nutritious food online together on the occasion of World Food day.
The United Nation Organisation's Food and Agriculture Association (FAO) was established on 16th October in 1945. To commemorate this day, World Food Day is celebrated every year with a new theme. The objective is to create awareness about the existing problems of obesity and malnutrition due to hunger. This year the theme of World Food day 2020 is – Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together.
As the impact of COVID-19 pandemic has hit countries around the world. World Food Day calls for Global Solidarity to help the most vulnerable people recover and make food systems more sustainable and shock resilient.
Like air and water, food is fundamental to life itself. We need it to survive and thrive. But food is so much more. It’s a source of enjoyment. It’s an expression of culture and faith. It’s an art form. And it brings families, friends and communities together. Food is an essential part of what it means to be human. Which is why unsafe food is so unacceptable. It turns what should be a source of nourishment and enjoyment into a source of disease and death. Unsafe food is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. And yet food safety has not received the political attention it deserves. The fact that even on World Food day about 870 million people are suffering from hunger tells us how serious the situation is throughout the world.
India is the land of cultural diversity. There is no homogeneity of flavour between North and South or East and West but rather, a wealth of flavours that is simply staggering. Culinary diversity is one of India's treasures. In this modern era, where everyone is short on time and consuming junk food, we are slowing forgetting about our regional food, our roots. These days people are running behind the western culture, they are running behind ‘Quinoa’ but are forgetting ‘Dalia’ which is commonly available throughout the country. Rather than buying those exotic avocados, let’s add some spinach, coconut pulp and kiwi in our diet which are a great source of naturally occurring saturated fats and zeaxanthin.
The event started with a small introduction about the significance of World Food day followed by presentations from our various participants. Our participants from Jammu showed us different kinds of dishes like Rajma-chawal and Shufta. As they say that ‘behind every meal is a story’ it was really great as we all went back in times talking about the foods our grandparents used to have and how it has changed with time. From talking about everyone’s comfort food i.e. dal chawal to new innovating recipes like ‘whole wheat dumplings’ the session was really fun.
Our peer supporters talked about various important topics like positive peer pressure and how it influences our eating habits, food security, trans fat, hunger index and sustainable agriculture. This was followed by a talk by our chairperson Mr. Suneel Vatsyayan. Mr.Nitish was our guest speaker and he addressed the gathering about the importance of multigrain bread and different ways through which we can convert unhealthy foods to healthy foods ex- having air-fried samosas rather than having regular deep-fried samosas.
Finally, we discussed the Call to action i.e. small steps we all can take at our personal or community level which will have really great outcomes in the near future. Some of these steps are-
- We all know that these days the fruits and vegetables we get from the grocery stores are filled with chemicals, pesticides, etc which in the long run leads to different types of cancers and other diseases. So guys, what’s better than growing some vegetables at home in our kitchen or backyard. We all can start with growing micro-greens like wheatgrass, pea sprouts, etc which we can use to garnish our salads, soups with. Also, we can grow cherry tomatoes and herbs like mint, coriander and basil.
- In school playgrounds too, a small corner can be allocated to children so that they can grow the vegetables they like. This way, we will be able to inculcate the values about nutritious food in young ones too.
- Government needs to make sure that farmers are educated on the ill effects of using chemical pesticides and fertilisers while growing crops and instead should be encouraged to use natural manure because there is no use of eating food if you are not receiving the nutrients it has.
- Party caterers, restaurants, hotels should distribute the food left by giving it to the under privileged or associating with NGO’s so that food is not wasted because 1 in 6 meals is wasted in hospitality and catering services.
- You can request your school or university canteen to not sell unhealthy food inside the premises. If your younger brother/sister is going to school, talk to their teachers and ask them to monitor if his/her students are bringing healthy/unhealthy snack to school and report the same to parents.