Take the Challenge

In the year 2007, 850 million people still go hungry everyday.

What Can You Do about the Violence and Injustice of Hunger?

Start by Taking the Grassroots Land and Hunger Challenge

We are in the business of moving people from education to action. With this goal in mind, we offer a series of consciousness raising exercises that provide insight into the face of hunger and what grassroots activists around the world are doing to fight it. We hope that people put these insights into action.

Below are three Challenges that bring home the connections between land, hunger, poverty and the globalization of the food industry.

These challenges demonstrate our approach to education: It ought to be provocative, fun and interactive, drawing learners into the education process and building from their own knowledge base. Good education inspires people into social justice action.

The Challenges

Part One

To get you started thinking about the relationships between land, hunger and the food system, try one of the following options. Give yourself bonus points if you try to combine elements of more than one challenge.

1. Your home town 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. To fully experience this challenge, you must use only $2 each day, not $14 in one lump sum at the beginning of the week. Keep track of what types of foods you eat. Track whether or not the quality of food you eat changes drastically. It might also be interesting to note if you have to travel further or go to different stores than you usually shop at. 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

Globalization of the food industry means that food generally travels 1500 miles from field to plate. As consumers, we often have little idea of where food is from, how it’s 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 are you able to eat?
  • How does the quality of the local food measure up to food brought in from afar?
  • How much does it cost in comparison to what you would normally spend?
  • Where do you have to go to purchase local food?
  • 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 flowing 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

Part Two: Take the Next Step

Share this activity, or your experience of participating in these activities, with others. You may want to share some of your reactions as comments here on the Grassroots Journal or on your own personal or organizational weblog. Encourage friends or family members to try one of the challenges, share our land and hunger curriculum with other interested parties or take local, national and international advocacy action to stop hunger. Whether you make this an intimate personal experience or invite your whole school to join you in the challenge, we’d love to hear from you.