Oxfam America Launches GROW Campaign for Food Security
By Guest Contributor on Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
Today Oxfam launched its new GROW campaign to respond to the impending food crisis. At a luncheon in the Newseum in Washington, D.C, Oxfam president Ray Offenheiser announced a five- point plan to solve the problem; Oxfam asserts that investment in small-scale food producers should be encouraged, excessive speculation in agricultural commodities should be ended, food aid should be modernized, the Corn-Ethanol industry should be denied the favoritism it enjoys today from the federal government, and land and water grabs should be regulated. “[Starvation victims] go to bed hungry because of politics,” and he called for this to end.
The campaign enjoys the fervent support of Djimon Hounsou, an Academy Award-nominated actor known for his previous philanthropic work around the issue of “blood diamonds.” As a child growing up in Benin, Hounsou himself was a victim of hunger, and he has joined with Oxfam to work toward its elimination.
The luncheon also featured a panel of experts independent of Oxfam, sharing their thoughts on the new campaign. The Kenyan Ambassador to the United States, Elkaneh Odembo, commended Oxfam for the work they are doing but does not understand why change cannot come sooner. “Why do we have to wait 40 years for everyone to be fed?” he asked. Not surprisingly, no one had an answer.
The U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter spoke next. He stressed the need for small scale farmers, who he asserts are the most efficient, to implement agroecology in order to protect themselves (and the world’s food supply) from droughts and other uncontrollable inhibitors to production.
The panel closed with renowned author Frances Moore Lappé, best known for her book “Diet for a Small Planet.” She strongly endorses Oxfam’s new campaign. and is utterly confidant in the ability of “our species” to innovate its way out of anything.
Having lived in developing countries, returned Peace Corps volunteers understand the food challenges and policy dynamics described by Oxfam’s GROW campaign in a way that most Americans don’t. By lending their voices and their stories to this effort, the Peace Corps community can play a powerful role in improving the status of the 1 billion starving people in the world. The National Peace Corps Association hopes you’ll join with us in bringing the world home — and support Oxfam’s GROW campaign.
Learn how you can get involved: http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/what-can-i-do
Thanks to new summer advocacy interns Greg Doolittle and Zoe Quint for their reporting.
Watch the GROW campaign video: