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Pope sends message for World Food Day

October 15, 2010:

This year's World Food Day asks us all to be 'United Against Hunger'

In a message to mark World Food Day tomorrow, the Pope has urged everyone to give priority to “one of the most urgent goals for the human family: freedom from hunger”. This year’s World Food Day has the theme: ‘United Against Hunger’.

There have never been so many hungry people in the world, according to Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organisation, which organises World Food Day.

The critical threshold of one billion hungry people in the world was reached in 2009, part due to soaring food prices and the financial crisis. It was, he said, a “tragic achievement in these modern days.

In his message to the Food and Agricultural Organisation, Pope Benedict XVI said the agricultural sector had to be given “its proper importance”.

In order to achieve freedom from hunger, it was necessary to ensure not only that enough food is available, but also that everyone had daily access to it, the Pope said: “This means promoting whatever resources and infrastructures are necessary in order to sustain production and distribution on a scale sufficient to guarantee fully the right to food.”

Faith in Food

As World Food Day focuses attention on the plight of the millions of people who will go hungry tonight and in the days to follow, ARC can announce that food is at the heart of a major new global initiative, Faith in Food, that is supported by the major faiths and leading secular groups.

Faith in Food seeks to restore a rightful relationship between faith communities, the food they eat and the land it comes from, with the long-term goal of creating a more sustainable, socially just, healthy food system for all.

We will be launching Faith in Food at the Sacred Soil Festival of Faith in Louisville, US, in November – watch this space.

Moral outrage

In the meantime, the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organisation has asked people to sign an online petition “to reflect the moral outrage of the situation”. The ‘1 billion hungry project’ asks people to sign the anti-hunger petition at www.1billionhungry.org.

As Dr Diouf says, on this World Food Day 2010, when there have never been so many hungry people in the world, let us reflect on the future. With willpower, courage and persistence – and many people working together – we can produce more food more sustainably, and get into the mouths of those who need it most.

For more information, here are two useful websites: the FAO's World Food Day page and World Food Day USA.

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