The Right to Food

Let’s make a review of the key aspects of a right that is not yet being fulfilled, as part of World Health Day celebration.

A hans is shown holding a tangerine from a tree

The Right to Food

Let’s make a review of the key aspects of a right that is not yet being fulfilled, as part of World Health Day celebration

What is being healthy? “The absence of sickness” some people would say. But it turns out it’s a lot more than that. According to the WHO, health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity“. Health, being commemorated every April 7th on World Health Day, is influenced by different circumstances, including proper nutrition that allows our body to get the nutrients it needs to keep functioning.

Unfortunately, today there are 690 million people in the world who suffer from hunger or food insecurity, according to the FAO, and 2362 million who, despite having access to food, suffer from malnutrition. These imbalances have obvious health consequences: 1,900 million adults are overweight or obese, while 462 million are underweight, according to the WHO. The reason? Poverty: people do not have the resources to access quality food.

These figures prove that the current economic model is not able to provide the population with sufficient resources to subsist, develop and maintain good health. At the same time, capitalism and consumerism have proven to be harmful to all ecosystems, which jeopardizes the survival of all species…including humans.

That is why in 2015 the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of global goals to be achieved by all countries by 2030. The second of these goals is “zero hunger”: in short, to ensure that all people can effectively exercise their Right to Food.

About the Right to Food

Gleaners holding cabbages at Sant Boi de Llobregat (Barcelona) / Espigoladors

What is the Right to Food? It is a universal right already enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, more specifically, in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It involves up to 4 key aspects:

  1. Access to food must be universal for all people, regardless of their sex, age, origin, political opinion, religion, language, and condition. No individual, group, organization, law or public or private entity may interfere in the exercise of the Right to Food.
  2. The quantity and quality of food must be adequate to achieve a dignified, healthy and active life. This includes fresh, seasonal, local, organic and agro-ecological foods.
  3. Food must be safe for consumption and free of any chemicals or pathogens that may endanger the health of the people who consume it.
  4. Food must be affordable and available in shops and markets.

To comply with these aspects, it is essential that the institutions promote real political changes in favour of food sovereignty, that is, the right of the people to define their own agri-food policies in accordance with the principles of proximity and sustainability. This means revalue not only food itself but also agriculture, which is the sector that produces it. Today local producers are struggling because of climate change, coronavirus and, in more structural terms, market dynamics, which destroy the productive system and compromises the food sovereignty of the states.

At Espigoladors, our goal is to work to reduce food waste and food loss, support local producers and provide fresh food and job opportunities to vulnerable people. Our commitment to social and food justice also involves defending the health of people and ecosystems. That is why we take advantage of the celebration of World Health Day to claim the right to healthy food; we will continue to work to change the economic model and replace it with a more just, dignified, and sustainable one.