One only has to look at me to know that I like food. I enjoy the richness of harvest time. I like walking down the aisles of the supermarket and seeing the wide variety of foodstuffs. I have my favourite types of food. I like pastas. I like carrots. I love bananas and strawberries. Some foods I am not crazy about are brussels sprouts or liver. But in general I like food.
One of my favourite dinners is a roast turkey dinner. I like the turkey, both hot from the over and cold in a sandwich. I love cranberries. I enjoy some stuffing. I like the vegetables tht come with the thanksgiving dinner. It is always a wonderful feast. I always eat more than I should and leave the table feeling stuffed like my friend the turkey.
It seems fitting then that in the church we celebrate world food day the week after Thanksgiving. After so many of us have gorged ourselves the weekend before, we reflect on the idea of food security around the world. On the week after Thanksgiving when so many of us have had too much food, we are asked to pause and think about how food is not shared equally around the world. I read recently that one third of the food produced for Canadian consumption is wasted each day. This may seem hard to believe, but it is true. I think of foodstuffs which have gone bad in my fridge and ended up in the green bin. I also know that when I go to a restaurant, the portion sizes there are always much too big. Yes some things I take home in a doggy bag, but too much goes wasted. I am just one person, but multiply my wasted food by 37,000,000 and you can imagine how much food gets wasted here in Canada.
So each year, enough food is produced to feed about 8.5 billion people. Right now there are just over 7.5 billion people in the world. So everything should be fine yes. The answer is no. Each day over 25,000 people in the world starve to death from lack of food. Nearly 900,000,000 people are not sure if they will have enough to eat. One freak storm, one drought, or one insect infestation and they will go hungry. While some worry about their bulging bellies and ever uncomfortable belts, one person in eight on our planet suffers from lack of food.
I offer these words not to take away from the joy of our thanksgiving feasts. I offer these words though just to make us truly mindful of what a precious gift food is and how it should not be wasted. So I offer words of wisdom- buy what you need but don't over buy. Buy only as much food as you can consume before it goes bad. Don't buy 6 bananas when you can only eat 4 for instance. Support your local food bank and other organizations that support global food programs. These small steps will bring now the number of starvation deaths each day. These small steps will help to ensure that fewer people will live with food insecurity. Blessings.