I heard on the news last night that a group of McGill grad students won a million dollars in the Hult Prize social entrepreneurs competition to solve the global food crisis. The Clinton Global Initiative is a key partner and Clinton was there to present the cheque. Their entry: feed people bugs, help them grow more bugs, grind up bugs and turn them into flour. Okay, sure in some countries eating insects is already a common practice and the Aspire project, as it was called, did focus on increasing nutrition, but here’s the real issue. It’s the same problem we have been dealing with for decades, there’s more than enough food in this world to feed every living soul, we have a distribution problem, not a production problem. And yet, companies like Coca-Cola can get their product into the most remote rural villages of the developing world. Do you think there might be a clue there as to why the food distribution system doesn’t serve everyone? And don’t even get me started on the charitable food system, which is often used to introduce developed world products into the market. There’s a problem with the entire global economic system, not just the food. The fact that keeping people poor and hungry is part of keeping that system is more sickening to me than having to eat bugs (no judgement on bug eating, I’m a vegetarian and Clinton is a strict vegan!?).
Too bad the Hult Prize people didn’t call on Frances Moore Lappé to be one of the judges – she and her daughter Anna are busting myths about food and hunger on a daily basis at the Small Planet Institute. Frances Moore Lappé is the author of the classic Diet for a Small Planet and a host of other books; her daughter Anna is a prolific writer as well. Hopefully Clinton and those students will take time to read the report, Framing Hunger by Lappé and other food activists who have been working on this hunger issue for a very long time.