College of Agriculture & Natural Resources

AGNR Partners with Hunger U to Combat Global Food Crisis

The Hunger U Tour Bus parked in front of Cole Field House to teach students about the global food crisis
Image Credit: 
Edwin Remsberg

The article below was published in The Diamondback on Tuesday, October 8:

Editor's note: a source's last name has been withheld for privacy reasons.

On Wednesday, the sidewalk in front of Cole Field House is reserved for organic fruits and vegetables at the weekly farmers market. Yesterday, however, the HungerU Tour occupied the space in the name of food scarcity.

The HungerU Tour is a mobile classroom with interactive displays that travels to college campuses to educate students about global hunger and agriculture. The project is part of the Farm Journal Foundation’s Farmers Feeding the World campaign and made its debut on this campus yesterday through a partnership with the agricultural college.

“Our goal is to engage with students about the world hunger crisis,” said Malorie Bankhead, a HungerU member. “We want to make it a relevant cause and inspire action.”

The second part of the tour is planned for today, starting at 9 a.m. Although yesterday’s event ended early because of inclement weather, students have been very receptive to the message so far, Bankhead said.

“I always look forward to interacting with international students,” Bankhead said. “You never know what stories they’ll tell you. One girl stopped by who was from the Philippines and told me about how she had witnessed hunger firsthand.”

The HungerU campaign originally reached out to the university, and agricultural college officials thought it would supplement work students were already doing, said Leon Slaughter, associate dean of the agricultural college. The issues discussed relate heavily to the sustainability studies minor, one of this university’s most popular minor programs, Slaughter said.

“It is already a challenge to feed our current population, so we need to educate people that world hunger needs to be solved,” Slaughter said. “When you go to the grocery store and see there is an abundance of food, I hope people realize other places aren’t so lucky.”

HungerU stresses that hunger isn’t only a problem overseas. The exhibit prominently displays the fact that one in six people in the United States is fighting hunger.

“The truck has definitely made me more aware of the issue,” said junior education major Sean Rotter. “If I see a food drive, I would be more likely to help now.”

But Ashli, a junior community health major whose last name was withheld for privacy reasons, said the information isn’t new to her.

When Ashli was 9 years old, her mother and stepfather got divorced. For months, rent was hard to come by, and Ashli’s mother had to choose which bills to pay. Ashli remembers the moment she realized something wasn’t right: She was telling her mother she wanted to bake a cake and make a fancy meal for her mother’s birthday, and she simply got “We’ll see” as a response.

“We ate less of the food we had and just tried to ration it,” she said. “It’s tough for a child to go through. Children shouldn’t be thinking about whether or not they’re going to eat.”

Ashli hopes the HungerU Tour will help her peers realize the magnitude of the issue.

“Hopefully, seeing the exhibit will put the hunger crisis on people’s radars, which is the first step to fixing it,” she said.

According to the HungerU website, the world’s population is projected to grow to 9 billion people by 2050. Hunger is already the world’s number one health risk, killing more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. With about 2 billion more mouths to feed expected by 2050, Bankhead said this generation has to start figuring out an answer.

“Hunger awareness is key because we have to be the generation that’s part of the solution,” she said. “To fight a problem, you have to be aware it exists.”

The Diamondback’s Jeremy Snow contributed to this report.

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