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Connect with your local food system this World Food Day

World Food Day is celebrated around the world each year on October 16. Those in Central Florida can celebrate with local UF/IFAS Extension events throughout October.

In 2021, 13.5 million U.S. households were food insecure, meaning they lacked reliable and consistent access to affordable and nutritious food, according to the USDA. In Florida, one in eight people face hunger, with one in six of those being children. UF/IFAS works to raise awareness of hunger but also to help feed people.

“By celebrating World Food Day, we hope to educate and empower communities to fight hunger in their own backyard,” said Norma Samuel, UF/IFAS associate central district Extension director. “Improving food access is an effort we can all be a part of.”

Being part of a local garden that provides food to those in need, giving back to a local food bank, and supporting local farmers are just some of the ways residents can help fight hunger in their communities.

From virtual community gardens workshops to hands-on farm-to-table events, there are events across Central Florida that celebrate food and encourage others to participate in their local food systems.

The celebrations extend to Gainesville. The UF/IFAS Global Food Systems Institute (GFSI) will host a State of Hunger and Food Insecurity event to learn about the state of hunger from the campus level to the international level. GFSI faculty will share the work they are doing to reduce hunger and food insecurity and to promote resilient food systems around the world and in local communities. On October 17, participants can join in person or virtually to learn more at the free event.

“For many years, undernutrition around the world was decreasing, but since COVID-19, these numbers have been increasing. The number of women who are anemic, the number of people who can’t afford a healthy diet, all these numbers have increased since COVID-19,” said Adegbola Adesogan, director of GFSI. “In the last year, with the crisis in Ukraine, things have worsened significantly. Prices of fertilizer and fuel have increased up to 150%, and this has increased the price of food. Animal feed prices have increased dramatically as well. In some countries, nutritious foods are no longer affordable for the vast majority of the population. Hunger remains a challenge both locally and globally.”

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