Editor’s Note: Global Perspectives on Food Days


It’s October again, and that means “Food Days,” which center around the awarding of the World Food Prize on Oct. 16 … which is also World Food Day, so designated by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

A decade ago when I worked for another UN agency, UNICEF, I traveled to countries that many have never even heard of, let alone seen. It gave me a more tangible appreciation of the challenges faced by people who don’t live in industrialized countries like I do. Lack of access to clean water, adequate health care, and education. The ravages of war and human rights abuses. And, of course, hunger and food insecurity.

More often than not, farming was for subsistence, not for the growing of cash crops. In Malawi I saw a village where people lived in huts, with primitive stoves that were the center of daily life. I was particularly struck by a home that had a single lightbulb dangling from the ceiling, the only sign of electricity in that dwelling. It then dawned on me that it was a “luxury” few of the other families had. Not incidentally, those experiences gave me new perspectives on debates over technologies such as GMOs, which could make major contributions to the future of people who are far less fortunate than the rest of us.

As the annual fall harvest comes in and we enjoy the bounty that carries over into the holiday season, we should also take some time to consider the struggles of others at home and abroad, and how our increasingly interconnected world comes with a mandate to work toward the betterment of all of humanity.

In this issue of Food Insight, we look at recommendations to improve public understanding of antibiotic resistance, explain the challenges of soil degradation, offer nutrition tips for expectant mothers, and give you the low-down on food colors.