Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hunger and Human Rights: a virtual Conscious Consuming Event!

I have been thinking about the impact of my food-purchasing decisions quite a bit lately. Now I'll be experiencing and thinking about these things in a whole new way - at least I anticipate that being a result of my participation in the exercise outlined below. Read on and join me!

Azalia, one of my co-workers at
Grassroots International has just developed a Resource Rights Curriculum - "Land and Hunger: Making the Rights Connection." She has piloted everything except the "call to action" at the end. The movement from education to action is a crucial element of Grassroots' effort to build social movements so that's where I, and perhaps you, come in.

Below are three possible “Challenges” that will bring home the connections between land, hunger, poverty and the globalization of the food industry. Choose one or more of the following three challenges and try them for 5-7 days anytime in February.

I will be doing options 1 and 3. I'm going to start next week and I'll incorporate daily updates into the comments section of this blog post. If you want to participate, please update us using the comments section of the blog or send me a summary email.

1. Boston on $2/day
Challenge yourself to eat on $2/day for a week. The idea for this challenge is to look at how poverty and hunger are related. This amount does not include transportation, labor, rent, gas, electricity or any other inputs needed. You must use $2/ day (not $14 in one lump sum). Keep track of what types of foods you eat. Track whether or not the quality of food you eat changes drastically. Nearly 3 billion people live on less than $2/day including expenses for heat, housing, etc. That is almost half the world’s population. This widely used figure has been adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP).

2. Eat Locally
A big concern is the globalization of the food industry and a lack of information on where food is from, produced and what’s in it. Challenge yourself to eat only locally produced food for a week. Keep a log and answer some of the following questions:

  • What foods you are able to eat?
  • Is the quality of the food that is available comparable to food that is not locally produced?
  • How much does it cost in comparison to what you would normally spend?
  • Where do you have to go to purchase local food?
  • Are you forced to travel a longer distance?
  • Is there a farm near that sells local products?
  • How far do you have to travel to get to a local farm that produces and sells food?
  • Does buying locally produced food affect planning of meals and time?

3. The Global “Foodshed”

Challenge: Like water flows through a watershed, our food flows from producer to consumer. How far does your food have to travel to get to your table? Keep a daily food log tracking the country of origin of every item you eat for a week.

  • What is the food item?
  • What is the city and country of origin of the food item?
  • What company makes the food item?
  • List the ingredients of the food item and write down any ingredients that are unfamiliar to you.
Will this be easy? Probably not. Will it be fun? Possibly. Will it be an interesting experience? No doubt!

I'm starting on Monday February 13th. Care to join me???

1 comment:

Marty Wrin said...

Well it's still a few more days before I start the Challenge and it's already impacting me in two ways:

1) I ran to a meeting today instead of taking the T and just running back. I did this because I wanted to save the $1.25 T fare since I had put it in the perspective of it being over 1/2 days worth of food money even though transportation won't be coming out of the $2/day. It's really putting things in a different perspective already.

2) I'm eating the perishables like crazy! I have fruit, vegetables, bread, etc that will go bad if I don't eat it before I start the Challenge!