Vegetarians are doing their part during the COVID 19 pandemic. Volunteers from Community Solidarity — the country’s largest all-vegetarian hunger relief food program — distributed tens of thousands of pounds of groceries in Hempstead, New York, recently as part of its growing effort to help people in need. Several other regions in New York were also served.
Organizers with the nonprofit said they have watched demand skyrocket as more families face issues of hunger and food insecurity, due to the economic fallout from COVID-19. “We have never seen this before,” said Jon Stepanian, chief executive at Community Solidarity. “Some of the families are in tears when they come to us.” While the nonprofit has been providing food relief for years, organizers are now reaching thousands more families. The organization used to serve 3,000 families directly and is now serving 10,000, Stepanian said.
In normal times, Community Solidarity assists thousands of families each week by sharing free nutritious vegetarian groceries and hot gourmet vegan meals. These plant-based foods are healthier than anything offered by mainstream food banks. They’re also more compassionate and more sustainable. Their cruelty-free mission is simple. By promoting a vegan diet, and sharing vegetarian groceries, they save animals. By empowering communities, and ending hunger, they help people.
It’s a heart breaking problem. According to the UN 820 million people suffer from hunger. Starvation kills, and it hurts to have to go to bed malnourished and hungry. Hunger and malnutrition are some of the most serious problems facing humanity. Children are especially vulnerable. But there’s something we can do about it. Read more
New research suggests that if the desire was there, this country could grow food to feed over 700 million people — by focusing on plants. That could meet the needs of most of the world’s hungry population.
If U.S. farmers took all the land currently devoted to raising cattle, pigs and chickens and used it to grow plants instead, they could sustain more than twice as many people as they do now, according to a report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Vegetarians of Washington has submitted a population-health-initiative-proposal to the University of Washington Population Health Initiative, which aims to bring together the research and resources of the UW and partners around the Puget Sound and beyond to improve the health and well-being of people around the world.
Funded by a gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Initiative will focus on three key areas: human health, environmental resiliency, and social and economic equity.
Our proposal outlines the benefits to human health, the environment, global hunger and other social justice aspects. We proposed that the Initiative look for ways to educate the medical profession, NGOs, policy makers, teachers, farmers and the general public about the importance of a plant-based diet, and how to go about making the necessary changes. Our key conclusion states:
The potential for improving health and saving human lives by encouraging the world to shift to a plant-based diet is enormous. The costs of this project are small, in comparison to the potential huge global savings in healthcare costs, not to mention the potential for saving the planet from climate change and many other environmental crises, and freeing up vast quantities of land and water for an ever-increasing population.
They will be considering all proposals in January 2017. We hope they step up to the plate!
The following is an excerpt from our book, Say No to Meat, by Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose, published by Healthy Living Publications. This book includes answers to all the questions you may have about becoming a vegetarian, and is invaluable to new and existing vegetarians alike!
How can following a vegetarian diet help the hungry people of the world?
Let’s start with the agricultural facts of life. Farm animals function, in effect, as food factories in reverse; that is they give us less nutrition than they are fed. For instance, a cow will give us as beef only 10% of the protein and 4% of the calories it consumes. The rest is used by the cow to enable it to live and breathe throughout its lifetime. With 56 billion farm animals raised globally each year, you can see just how much food is being wasted. Read more
A new landmark study by researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment looks into how to feed another 3 billion people, the expected increase in global population before it levels out. The food necessary for the extra 3 billion is “the diet gap” facing humanity. As their report says, “Sustainably feeding people today and in the future is one of humanity’s grand challenges. Agriculture is the main source of water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and habitat loss, yet we need to grow more food.”
Many people are surprised to learn that most of the food we grow in America, and a substantial portion grown in other parts of the world, is used to feed farm animals instead of people. There are a lot of farm animals to feed too. In fact every year we raise 60 billion animals just for food. Then consider that cows, for instance, give us only 4% of all the calories they eat in the form of beef.
But what if we took the food currently fed to farm animals, and used it to feed people instead? This report shows that not only could we feed 3 billion more, we could actually feed 4 billion more people by using food in this more efficient way. The food for the extra billion would serve as a “safety net” when weather or pests create shortages. Raising food in this way would also have the least environmental impact. The report shows that while other measures would be helpful, nothing other than the vegetarian option even comes close to freeing up the extra amount of food needed. So, as with several other global challenges, the best solution is again a vegetarian solution.
Many people are interested in adopting a plant based diet in order to alleviate global hunger. To learn more about the connection between raising animals and global hunger, please see our Global Hunger posting.
Dawn Moncrief – Executive Director of A Well-Fed World
While giving thanks for all that we have over the upcoming holidays, many of us like to remember all those in the world who do not have enough to eat. One organization which is working hard to promote a plant-based diet as a solution to global hunger is A Well-Fed World. We contacted Dawn Moncrief, the executive director, to learn more about what they’re doing.
Tell us about A Well-Fed World.
A Well-Fed World is a hunger relief and animal protection organization based in Washington, DC. We chip away at two of the world’s most immense, unnecessary and unconscionable forms of suffering… the suffering of people from lack of food and the suffering of animals used as food.
We have a positive, practical and action-led approach that produces immediate assistance for those in need and structural change for lasting results. Most directly, we raise funds for, partner with, and promote innovative, highly-effective projects that strengthen: (1) vegan feeding & farming programs, (2) farm animal care & rescue, and (3) pro-veg advocacy & community-building. For the funding, our Sustainable Keys Global Grants program provides about 50 grants a year to projects in the U.S. and internationally. Read more
Add Microsoft founder and noted philanthropist, Bill Gates, to the list of leaders who understand that we can’t feed a growing and hungry population, in an environmentally sustainable way, on a meat-centered diet, especially when diet-related diseases now top the list worldwide.
According to Bill Gates, “meat consumption worldwide has doubled in the last 20 years. By 2030, the world will need millions of tons more meat than it does today. But raising meat takes a great deal of land and water and has a substantial environmental impact.” Gates cites the UN figures on the expected growth of meat (see chart). Read more
It’s official. The world’s population now stands at 7 Billion. Over a billion people are living with chronic hunger and malnutrition, and rising food prices are challenging the household budgets of the other 6 billion. What many people don’t know is that it is meat consumption in the developed world, and rapidly rising meat consumption in the developing world, that are the prime driving forces behind rising food prices and global hunger. For years this went unrecognized by even economists and policymakers. However, this has now started to change.
Starvation kills, and it hurts to have to go to bed malnourished and hungry. Hunger and malnutrition are some of the most serious problems facing humanity and it’s getting worse. Global hunger is at an all time high, with about 1 billion people in the world going to bed each night still hungry. In the next year, over 10 million people will actually starve to death. Even worse, it is the children who are the most vulnerable. Read more
For many people, the holiday season is a time for gift giving. We consider following a vegetarian diet a profound way of giving the most precious gift of all, the gift of life. Consider that, on average, vegetarians live longer and healthier lives than non-vegetarians. In fact, those who have followed a vegetarian diet for at least half their lives live an average of 13 years longer than others, while experiencing lower rates of most common diseases. In this way a healthy vegetarian diet can give you the gift of life, by adding years to your life and life to your years.
A vegetarian diet also gives life to the earth and to the animals who share it with us. Many people are surprised to learn that there are now 56 Billion farm animals in the world. That’s eight times the human population. This enormous population does not come without consequences. For instance, a report by the UN said that raising livestock causes more global warming than all the cars, buses, trains, boats and airplanes in the world all put together – that’s from all the methane the animals produce, in addition to the fuel used to grow, fertilize and transport the food to the animals, the animals to the slaughterhouses, the refrigeration and transportation of the meat. Read more