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Earth Day menu: helping feed those facing food insecurity

Earth Day 2022_Marshall University

The biggest nutritional problem the hubby and I have is deciding what to cook for dinner, and then who's going to cook it. Sometime we just opt for what we call foraging, with each of us finding something to eat that night on our own.

We are lucky. Our meal hunts are easy, confined to our well-stocked kitchen.

However, an estimated 800 million worldwide face food insecurity. That includes an estimated 38 million people, 12 million of whom are children, in the United States, according to 2019 data from the Department of Agriculture.

As we celebrate today's 52nd Earth Day, millions across the world are exploring environmental sound ways to, as this year's theme says, Invest In Our Planet.

That's a broad topic, which includes the connection between food and our environment.

The effects of climate change on food production are often neglected in favor of more dramatic stories on melting glaciers, tropical storms, and sea level rise. But climate change threatens a complex global food system that is already struggling to meet the needs of a growing and changing population., the nonprofit global organizer of the movement, notes that animal agriculture is one of the largest contributors to climate change. The group also pushes for regenerative agriculture practices restore soil, organic matter, and biodiversity, as well as reducing atmospheric carbon.

Attention to these areas, say advocates of farming changes, can help promote the overlooked climatological concern of food security.

Food security donations: Changes in food production practices are worthwhile. But it's a long way every day, not just Earth Day, from farms to the tables of hungry individuals.

So, in addition to supporting general pro-planet food production activities on Earth Day, consider donating to programs that help feed those who can't afford regular meals.

One of my favorites is chef José Andrés' World Central Kitchen. His crews show up, as the nonprofit's name says, all over the world where people are facing sustenance issues, regardless of what crises have created them.

A Climate Disaster Fund also is part of World Central Kitchen's efforts. Andrés' group has committed $1 billion over the next decade to support communities impacted by the climate crisis.

Local hunger help: If you want to go more local, find a community garden that you can help. Or start one yourself.

A gardener at a community planting spot in Harrisonburg, Virginia. (Photo by Matthew Kowal courtesy Wikipedia Commons)

And, of course, if you want to offer more immediate relief, donate to your area's food bank.

As with all donations, contributions to food-related nonprofits might be tax deductible. I know that's not why most folks give, but this is a tax blog, so I had to mention it.

Regardless of how you spend Earth Day, enjoy. And make it a daily practice to help our planetary mother survive and ultimately thrive for the good of us all.

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