SEATTLE – Celebrity chefs use their fame and passion to support food aid reform and help reduce global poverty. CARE, the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, cites that “842 million people around the world do not have enough food to eat.” Top chefs feel connected to the cause and many are working to help improve U.S. food aid policy.
In 2014, CARE’s chef program brought four celebrity chefs to Peru to learn about global hunger and poverty by visiting communities firsthand. Spike Mendelsohn, Asha Gomez, Victor Albisu and Mike Isabella traveled together and became advocates to reduce global hunger.
Since his return from Peru, Chef Mendelsohn has shared his experience with policy makers on Capitol Hill in order to advocate for changes in global food aid.
An ideal modernization of food aid would include a focus on purchasing local food during times of hunger crisis, helping farmers yield sustainable harvests, encouraging a diverse diet and supporting female farmers. Food aid needs to be comprehensive and sustainable in order to effectively address global hunger.
The traditional strategy of shipping food from the United States to countries in need is not effective because, according to CARE, “Sixty-five cents of every dollar spent goes to pay for transportation.” Instead, the United States can focus on supporting local farmers and their local markets.
In addition, women bear a great burden of the food production in developing countries. Programs that educate women on the sale of their goods, strategies of credit and land tenure use sustainable methods to reduce global hunger.
Celebrity chefs are in a unique position to increase awareness of global hunger. Even the World Bank (WB) has caught onto this trend. WB President Jim Young Kim met with David Chang, a widely respected chef, to discuss the trend of using food “waste” in high-end restaurants. There is recognition that when so many people in the world die from hunger, it is unacceptable to waste food.
When hunger and malnutrition kill more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined, there is a sense of urgency to act now.
– Iliana Lang