BBC Future

World-Changing Ideas

A smarter way to stop hunger

We have the ability to feed the world, but we must use all the resources, technology and science we have to make sure we feed people in need, says food bank head Catherine d’Amato.

Hunger is a justice issue, says Catherine d’Amato, President and CEO of The Greater Boston Food Bank. We should use the resources, technology and the science we have to make sure that hungry citizens have adequate food.

The idea that we don’t do this, because we are politically motivated, or because of policy or logistical limitations to get food from point A to point B, is extremely frustrating as this is a solvable problem.

The way d’Amato says we can feed the world is by using models that can work in communities – in one community it might be the water supply to teach farmers how to grow food, in another it might be urban gardening. Whatever it is the community has to be able to sustain it: the political will or the donations come and go, but the hungry child doesn’t come and go.

We are able to use data in way we haven’t been able to before. We can use software platforms and geo-mapping to measure impact. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t do this: we knew we were feeding one hundred people, but we didn’t know if we were feeding the right people, or whether to feed them more. Technology allows people to measure where that food went and who ate it, and therefore the impact is even more profound.

Feeding people in need allows them to focus their minds on other matters, as their basic needs are taken care of. They can contribute to their communities in ways we haven’t thought of, because they have been distracted or having to find their food. We are beyond that, says d’Amato, we have the ability to feed the world.

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