First Comes Food: Navigating a Convergence of Global Crises

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First Comes Food: Navigating a Convergence of Global Crises

Amidst the significant challenges we face, children and their families are confronting a complex web of four humanitarian emergencies, each compounding the next. A global food crisis, fueled by record rates of inflation, persistent conflicts, and escalating climate disasters, has only exacerbated the ongoing and unequal recovery from the pandemic.

The result: nearly one in three people are facing hunger worldwide.

While these problems are large and complex, we know that the solution – food security – is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and unlocking lasting societal change for children. That’s why food always comes first. 

By addressing the root causes of food insecurity and hunger, children and their families can have food on the table now and sustainable local food systems that feed and nourish them for generations to come.

Global Food Crisis

The world is in the grip of the most devastating hunger crisis ever seen. In just two years, the number of people facing, or at risk of, acute food insecurity has more than doubled from 2021

Today, 828 million people are struggling to put food on the table and are being driven closer to starvation in a storm of staggering proportions. We urgently need to rise to the challenge of meeting people's immediate food needs while supporting programs that build long-term resilience.  

With you by our side, we are a trusted partner to 271,073 people in 133 high-need communities in 5 countries around the world — delivering everything from nourishing meals to long-term sustainable programming designed to support children and their families in even the most difficult circumstances.

4 Global Crises Driving Food Insecurity 

Pandemic

two women in masks standing with bags of food to give to community membersHundreds of millions of people were already suffering from hunger and malnutrition before COVID-19 hit. Small-scale farmers faced challenges with planting and harvesting due to labour shortages and restricted markets. Meanwhile, school closures disrupted crucial school feeding programs, leaving children without reliable meals. Seven million more children are currently at risk of severe malnutrition than before the pandemic began.

The effects of the pandemic combined with an unequal recovery, inflation, climate change, disrupted food chains and the emerging global recession could severely disrupt the functioning of food systems – even more so for those who are already facing acute food insecurity.

Since 2020, only with your support have we been able to:

  • Deliver urgent food assistance to more than 7,300 children and their families.
  • Foster sustainable food practices in Indigenous communities who were disproportionately affected by the pandemic
  • Support international communities with education and training programs to increase crop production and develop thriving small farming businesses.

While the recovery from COVID-19 may take years, we know that with you by our side, we can effectively and efficiently build equitable recovery systems around the world. 

Inflation

group of children sharing a meal togetherAccess to affordable, healthy food is difficult for Indigenous communities because of their remote locations, limited transportation infrastructure, and higher delivery costs. Additionally, mainstream food supply systems fail to provide culturally appropriate food. 

Inflation and rising food prices have only compounded this issue, making food nearly four times more unaffordable. Today, 52% of Indigenous families are struggling to put food on the table – forcing families to make impossible choices about their most basic needs.  

This isn’t just in Canada. Globally, over 3.1 billion people are unable to afford a healthy diet due to rising prices. Some of the regions facing the highest food prices include Ethiopia and Ghana, CFTC-supported areas.

That’s why a key component of our programming is providing school meals. In the face of rising prices, these programs provide a reliable source of nutritious meals for students, easing the financial burden on families.

With your support, we are funding breakfast, lunch, and snack programs in communities around the world, including 30 Indigenous communities across Canada. These meals improve educational outcomes and help break the cycle of poverty for children and their families. 

Climate Change

This year was an extraordinary year for climate-related incidents. It is almost certain that 2023 will be the hottest year on record and we saw severe crises in the countries we work in that have led to challenges in agricultural production and food distribution. 

a man and woman work their farmland togetherCanada faced its worst wildfire season ever, with nearly 19 million hectares of forest burned. This led to losses in crops and water sources and displaced communities. 

Bolivia just had its hottest winter on record. With drought comes crop and food shortages, exacerbating hunger in areas already suffering from food insecurity.

Africa faces more food insecurity than other regions of the world, with nearly one in four people facing hunger. Due to prolonged drought and flooding in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Uganda, crops were devastated, water sources became scarce, and communities faced heightened vulnerability to hunger and malnutrition.

While global leaders address the root causes of climate change, communities need to be able to withstand its effects right now and be ready for the next climate emergency.

Thanks to you, we trained 4,539 people on climate-smart agriculture and supported 1,173 gardens around the world. In Canada, 1,064 trees and bushes were planted and four food forests were supported.

Disrupted Supply Chains

Transport of food supplies from the world’s major producers is being disrupted by rising fuel prices, dangerous supply chain routes and extreme weather patterns. These factors have led to displacement and inflation, driving an ever-worsening Global Food Crisis.

a mother and daughter are baking together and adding ingredients into a bowlIt is now increasingly difficult for families who rely on cost-effective staples like flour, maize, and sorghum to feed their children to access them at prices they can afford.  

With your help, we are addressing immediate food shortages and ongoing drivers of food insecurity in both Indigenous communities in Canada, and international communities.

Our distinct food systems programming includes immediate food assistance to those affected as well as sustainable, long-term solutions. By providing communities with the resources, training, and tools needed for local food production, CFTC helps enhance food self-sufficiency and resilience, reducing dependency on disrupted supply chains. With your support, we have also provided nutrition education, which plays a crucial role in maintaining health and wellbeing during disruptions.

Looking Ahead

We know that prioritizing food in communities where the needs are greatest will ultimately end the cycle of inequity-driven poverty.

We hope that we can count on your continued support today and throughout 2024 to be there for children and their families when they need you most.

Together, we can increase access to healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate food for all. Together, with your support, we can ensure that food comes first.  

FIRST COMES FOOD

It doesn’t have to be food OR education. It can be food AND education for children and families worldwide. Parents shouldn't have to choose between a meal and education, health, or a brighter future. 

When a child has food, they can have everything else they need to grow and thrive.