In order to help those who are hungry, we need to “stay hungry.” This was the message FFA members received in the How Hungry Are You? workshop presented at the National FFA Convention & Expo. The workshop encouraged participants to consider what they really know about world hunger and how they can help fight to end it.
Ending hunger can seem difficult to one person. Issac Valencia and Kelsie Hinders presented the workshop as part of the Feeding the World—Starting at Home hunger initiative to help students understand the issues and implications of hunger. Students first learned what percent of income to every dollar is spent on food in countries across the world. The United States spends an average of five percent of their income to every dollar on food, while other countries spend over a third of their income. Students then thought about all the things they could not buy or do if they had to spend more money on food. “We could not have cell phones or any electronics, so we can forget Facebook!” said Erica Hyland of Glastonbury, Conn.
The cost of food is just one reason people are hungry. It is also difficult to grow and access nutritious food in some areas. A video about urban farming demonstrated how working together as a team and developing a common purpose can make a difference. “Growing a garden started as a simple community event, and now it has spread all across the country,” Valencia said. “We can go back to our communities and start a community event. Regardless of where you are from, working together toward a common cause is powerful.”
Team work was necessary in completing the final task of the workshop. Students worked in teams to unscramble the hidden message: In order to help the hungry we need to stay hungry. “World hunger is not going to be solved when we walk out these doors,” Valencia said. “We saw what a simple act of a community garden can grow into. Let’s think about how we can go back to our communities and work to end this problem together.”
“Staying hungry” in motivation resonated with FFA members. Hyland told how her FFA chapter worked as a team to package 26,000 meals for people in Africa. Hyland will “stay hungry” to help after learning how many people are in need. “It really hits me hard,” Hyland said. “My chapter will continue to work with Kids Against Hunger to get food directly to people in need.”
Abigail Cline of Kingston, Ark., wants to seek more knowledge about hunger for her studies in pre-med at the University of Arkansas. “Knowledge is one of the most powerful tools to use, so I will reflect from this workshop. When I become a doctor, I can use this information to help patients,” Cline said.
Lauren Schwab is a former FFA member from Somerville, Ohio. She is a 2011 graduate of Miami University with a degree in journalism and women’s studies. She is currently a graduate student in family studies and works full time on her family farm. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.