It’s World Food Day today, Wednesday 16 October.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, there are a range of objectives of World Food Day. You can read those here.
However when I think of World Food Day, I think of the differences and the discrepancies among the availability of food around the world. I am so grateful to live in a country like Australia where I have access to clean water, fresh fruit and vegetables that are grown in my backyard (some really are in my backyard!), sustainably produced meat.
I have choices about eating these foods.
A few years ago I came across a captivating book called What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.
I dip into this fascinating book often, and marvel at what different people around the world eat.
The 80 diets are revealed in order of daily calorie consumption from lowest – a Kenyan Maasi Herder on 800 calories a day – to the highest – a”Snacker Mom” from Great Britain who consumes 12,300 calories a day.
Each individual profiled in the book is accompanied by a photograph and an essay describing their food consumption in detail for the day selected, as well as their age, height and weight. It also includes essays from some of my favourite food writers including Marion Nestle and Michael Pollan.
You run the gamut of emotion reading this book.
- There is the teenage refugee from Chad. He may consume 2,300 calories a day, but this predominantly comprises thin vegetable soup and Aiysh, a “thick, congealed grain porridge of sorghum, with a coating of vegetable oil”.
- Curtis, the U.S. Army Soldier consumes 4,000 calories a day, and he loves to put hot sauce on vanilla bean ice cream (the only ice cream he will eat). I do love hot sauce, but that is beyond the line!
- Emil, the Arctic Hunter from Greenland (6,500 calories), ate 4.4lb (2kg) of seal meat for dinner.
The lone Australian in the book, and cover model, Bruce Hopkins, is a Lifeguard. His average daily consumption is 3,700 calories and includes iconic Australian products Weet-bix, Cottees and Cadbury (which did make me giggle!).
It astounds me how few of the 80 diets include the Australian dietary recommended servings of 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit a day. And how many are filled with fast food.
And, most sadly, how many people are forced to eat food that I would struggle to feed my chooks.
We really do live in a lucky country.
Happy World Food Day!