World Food Day 2014: Family Farming

October 15, 2014

“…Farmers are not just farmers. They’re teachers, stewards, and business women and men who deserve to be recognized — and celebrated during the International Year of Family Farming and for years to come — for their contributions to the planet and to us all.” – Danielle Nierenberg and Sarah Small, Food Tank

October 16 is World Food Day. This year’s theme is Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth – in line with 2014 being the UN’s official International Year of Family Farming.

On this day, we highlight the important role of family farming and smallholder farmers in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas.

Family farming is inextricably linked to national and global food security. Both in developing and developed countries, family farming is the predominant form of agriculture in the food production sector. Family farming includes all family-based agricultural activities, and it is linked to several areas of rural development.

As Executive Vice President, John Coonrod, recently wrote in an essay as part of the US Committee for FAO’s Perspectives series for World Food Day, “Family farms feed the world and care for the earth. However, their ultimate success will require a profound transformation in gender relations and local democracy.” Read his full essay.

The objectives of World Food Day are to:

  • encourage attention to agricultural food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental efforts to this end;
  • encourage economic and technical cooperation among developing countries; encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions;
  • heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world;
  • promote the transfer of technologies to the developing world; and
  • strengthen international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and draw attention to achievements in food and agricultural development.

Immediately prior to World Food Day, we also recognize International Day of Rural Women on October 15. The day celebrates the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.

Day of Rural Women 2014

2014 International Day of Rural Women Facebook Cover Photo

Rural women are key agents for achieving the transformational economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development. But limited access to credit, health care and education are among the many challenges they face, which are further aggravated by the global food and economic crises and climate change. Empowering them is key to not only to the well-being of individuals, families and rural communities but also to overall economic productivity, given women’s large presence in the agricultural workforce worldwide.

Learn more about how The Hunger Project invests in the leadership and organizations of rural women. When rural women, who have often been suppressed for generations, have the opportunity to gain leadership skills, they become critical change agents for a sustainable and well-nourished world.

Watch a video from one of the women farmers with whom The Hunger Project works in Mexico.

Learn more about the International Year of Family Farming

Small family farms are the key to reducing poverty and improving global food security. The United Nations declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) to recognize the importance of family farming The Hunger Project has a deep commitment to small scale farmers.

In addition to the larger celebration of the IYFF, The Hunger Project-Mexico, in partnership with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – Mexico, the Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL), the Ministry of Agriculture (SAGARPA), the National Institute of Social Development (INDESOL), and the Union of Manufacturers and Traders of Vegetables of the Central de Abastos, launched the Mexican Network for Family Farming. This network aims to promote the International Year of Family Farming through various government and civil society actions. It seeks to promote policies for sustainable development of agricultural systems based on the family unit and recognizes the contribution of family agriculture and small-scale agriculture to eradicating hunger, conserving the environment and reducing rural poverty.

The goal of the 2014 IYFF is to ‘reposition family farming at the center of agricultural, environmental and social policies in the national agendas by identifying gaps and opportunities to promote a shift towards a more equal and balanced development. The 2014 IYFF will promote broad discussion and cooperation at the national, regional and global levels to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by smallholders and help identify efficient ways to support family farmers.