“We cannot let children die. This is the 21st century. ” – Mary Robinson, Oxfam Ambassador & Former Irish President
Some of us on this big, unequal, fragile planet have enough food, and enough discretionary time that we are fortunate enough to luxuriate in it. We exalt food, and more and more of us write about it, photograph it and constantly discuss it among a growing online community.
The current horrific reality for the people of the Horn of Africa could not be more obscenely contrasted.
As someone who participates in that food obsession, I feel a particular responsibility to pay attention to a food crisis, especially when it is on such a devastating scale.
I’m sure you’ve all heard some of the shocking figures about the crisis: 11 million people affected; 500,000 children are at risk of starvation right now.
But if you’ve already donated what more can you do? You’ve only got so much to give, right? Right.
If we think more deeply, however, about food justice, then we can see opportunities to change things permanently in our own lives and lessen food inequalities. Changes such as making better food choices, eating only what we need, not wasting food, and being more aware and respectful.
And for one week, we can convert those changes into dollars for the current crisis in East Africa.
So, join me on my one week $10 A Day Eating Challenge.
Here’s how it works.
Note, this is just a rough guide, so if you have a household of 3, 4 or more, figure out what a reasonable amount is that is challenging but realistic, while saving money. If you don’t think you can do it on $10, make it $12 – as long as you are changing habits, becoming aware and raising some funds, that’s all that matters.
I’m starting this tomorrow (Sunday 31 July). You can start with me, or do it whenever you’re ready. And by all means, do two weeks if you can.
1. Estimate how much you spend on food and drink (include alcohol) in a week.
2. Put aside $10/day to live on for a household of up to two.
3. At the end of the week, subtract 2. from 1. above, and donate the difference to a Horn of Africa famine appeal.
Some things to think about:
- Plan your meals in advance and shop accordingly.
- Think about curbing social activities, or doing them differently (instead of meeting out for drinks, have drinks at someone’s home with everyone bringing something)
- Use what’s already in your cupboards and don’t buy what you don’t need.
- Instead of doing one trip to the supermarket and blowing your entire week’s budget, go to a market if you can and buy what’s on special.
- Stock up on some basics like lentils, rice, onions, potatoes and tins of tomatoes.
- Make coffee at home, rather than buying it out.
- Take your lunch to work
- Follow my blog and Facebook page for tips on what to cook
- Share your progress and food saving tips here or on my Facebook page.
For your donation:
What else you can do:
- Stay informed. Follow organisations like the World Food Program and Oxfam on Facebook and Twitter, and share, retweet and repost.
- If you have a blog, put a World Food Program or Oxfam banner on it: http://www.wfp.org/how-to-help/community/link-us#HOA; http://www.oxfam.org.au/explore/conflict-and-natural-disasters/current-emergencies/africa-food-crisis-promote