Brazilian City Eliminates Hunger
Community food banks along with local produce farms and co-ops are a help for local needy persons in US as well. Tho not organized by the gov’t, it makes fresh goods more available and surplus goods are distributed by food banks or charitable organizations. The food banks are always in need and always welcome volunteers and contributions. It has NOT eliminated hunger here.
One of the main reasons that Belo Horizonte has been able to eliminate hunger is precisely because it was organized by the government:
The new mayor…began by creating a city agency, which included assembling a 20-member council of citizen, labor, business, and church representatives to advise in the design and implementation of a new food system. The city already involved regular citizens directly in allocating municipal resources—the “participatory budgeting” that started in the 1970s and has since spread across Brazil. During the first six years of Belo’s food-as-a-right policy, perhaps in response to the new emphasis on food security, the number of citizens engaging in the city’s participatory budgeting process doubled to more than 31,000. The city agency developed dozens of innovations to assure everyone the right to food, especially by weaving together the interests of farmers and consumers.
If they were trying to get along with the same old disorganized, uncoordinated efforts based on the premise that feeding others is a charitable act (like we do in the US), I doubt they’d have gotten the results they have. (Infant mortality & malnutrition both down 50%, citizen political participation up by 2x, and it’s the only locality in Brazil where fruit & veg consumption went up.)
This food effort isn’t considered charity or a good deed in Belo Horizonte. Food is considered a right of citizenship. That difference in orientation makes a big difference.
Right on, Lex. Volunteer giving will never be sufficient alone. The USA in recession tells the story: giving to not-for-profits (and we assume, giving generally) has plummeted. Thus, in times when more people need help, less help is available. We can do better, but it’s going to have to be more than do-goodism to us.
Maybe duty is more like it. Bravo, Belo!
Tags: poverty, hunger, poor, food+banks, human+rights, Belo+Horizonte, Brazil, Monte Asbury
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