World Food Day October 16th

Forgotten Hands [Photo by Hamed Parham] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

World Food Day is celebrated around the world on October 16th. It is designed to raise awareness and understanding about world hunger and promote action year round to alleviate hunger. The date of October 16th is significant because it commemorates the 1945 establishment of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

World Food Day was first held in 1981, and is currently sponsored in the US by over 450 national private sponsors. Although it is an international event, planning for World Food Day occurs at the community level. Typically, events are organized by individual groups working together with national sponsor affiliates.

This coalition approach allows for the sharing of ideas and involvement of more local businesses, schools, religious centers, service groups, government offices, media and others. The goals of World Food Day events are to increase awareness and support for hunger relief efforts. These goals can be accomplished through a variety of public outreach efforts.

Here are 2 social enterprise initiatives related to food!

Fair Food Network’s Good Food Social Enterprise Lab

 [Photo by » Zitona «] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Good Food Social Enterprise Lab was organized by Fair Food Network in March 2010 as a way of gathering together leaders in the national food industry to identify innovations that offered the most benefit to the community and were therefore most deserving of philanthropic investment.

They also developed some consensus on what resources were necessary to execute and scale up new and innovative projects to improve food systems. One thing that the leaders agreed on was the need for more education related to social enterprise in the food industry. They looked at one case study in particular of a social enterprise that has managed to thrive in the food industry thanks to its focus on employees, community and customer service. Ann Arbor, Michigan based social enterprise Zingerman’s Community of Businesses was chosen to host 30 industry leaders for the Good Food Lab.

SAUCE Social Enterprise Toolkit for Community Food Projects

Sauce :) [Photo by tastygoldfish] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The SAUCE social enterprise toolkit for community food projects is an online toolkit and database which can be used to locate organizations and study the successful use of social enterprise by other projects. Social enterprise is the idea of using profits generated from running a business to invest in the good of the community rather than for shareholder benefit.

Social enterprises operate businesses and charge for their goods or services, but reinvest all of the profits in scaling up the business or in other projects which directly benefit the community. Community food projects around the world have found ways of using social enterprise to become financially sustainable. They have also benefited from increased government support for the social enterprise idea while other sources of funding for charities have been dwindling.