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One Step Closer to Food Security

One Step Closer to Food Security

Food insecurity impacts communities across the country and the world. 795 million people – one in nine people worldwide – are still hungry and 159 million children are chronically malnourished. Over consumption of resources and climate change are putting pressures on our planet that it can’t sustain. As a result, another two billion people are expected to be undernourished by 2050, but efficient land use and sustainable practices can change that.

Food insecurity causes has many grave impacts. Increased conflict and migration, resulting from lack of access to food and water, has put stress on populations and nations worldwide. Additionally, nearly half of a child deaths each year can been attributed to malnutrition.

Last month, Congress passed the Global Food Security Act (S.1252/H.R.1567) with strong bipartisan support. This bill builds on success from the Feed the Future initiative, to help countries create long term agricultural development and policies to meet the needs of their populations. Understanding the important role that women and smallholder farmers play in agriculture and nutrition, this bill focuses on their economic empowerment and leadership. Because small farms produce 80% of the food consumed by developing countries, investing in them is imperative to improve food production and access.

In order to be most effective in the long term, this bill focuses on incorporating U.S. assistance with the country’s food security strategy, allowing countries to eventually transition away from U.S. assistance. Now that both chambers have passed the bill, they must reconcile the minor differences and pass a final bill. We joined other faith groups in a letter supporting the Global Food Security Act and urging swift passage.

The passage of this bill is a promising step toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of zero hunger and ending poverty worldwide by 2030. As a Jewish community, we are taught the importance of feeding those who are hungry: "When you are asked in the world to come, 'What was your work?' and you answer: 'I fed the hungry,' you will be told: 'This is the gate of the Lord, enter into it, you who have fed the hungry'" (Midrash to Psalm 118:17). The Global Food Security Act goes beyond the important work of feeding those in need, and provides strategies to prevent food shortages and promote food security.

Rachel Landman is the assistant director of 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy in Byfield, MA, where she ran the inaugural summer Israel program, which focused on exploring Israel through the lens of science and technology. She holds a degree in biology from Hamilton College and served as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. She is an alumna of URJ Crane Lake Camp and grew up at Brooklyn Heights Synagogue in Brooklyn, NY. 

Rachel Landman