Four students from the Student Dietetic Association traveled to the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada to learn about the multifaceted issue of hunger in the world. Stories, strategies, and multidisciplinary perspectives were shared to inspire and educate administrators, faculty, and students about how they can make a difference in their communities and the world. The Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Program in Rome, Ramiro Lopes da Silva, shared with the conference attendees many different approaches that can be taken towards the issue. He mentioned connecting farmers to markets, protecting the nutritional status of young children, establishing food reserves, providing school meals, and solidifying partnerships, to name a few. One such partnership has been made with the Campbell Soup Company, which has developed a canned product called Nourish that is nutritionally recognized as a full meal. This product can be put into use worldwide, as it is ethnically versatile and lasts for two years. Other speakers discussed factors that are integrated with hunger, such as sociopolitical instability, climate change, poverty, loss of dignity, dependency on handouts, war, and many more. Incorporating various entities, such as governments, local communities, universities, farmers, and the media, into the fight against world hunger can be done by taking initiative to raise awareness on local, political, and corporate levels. Several speakers reminded the attendees not to get overwhelmed, but to break the issue down into achievable units. Getting involved locally is an excellent way for students to do this. Serving at the local God's Pantry or soup kitchen, growing a garden, being mindful of sustainability, buying locally grown food, and raising awareness about the hunger issue all help, even if in a small way. As one of the speakers exclaimed, "Several pushes become a shove!" The SDA hopes to use the information learned at the Annual Summit to continue their hunger efforts and expand these efforts to other organizations within the University of Kentucky by establishing collaborative relationships.
The Student Dietetic Association volunteers at the God's Pantry Food Bank monthly. Volunteer dates for Spring 2011 are Thursdays 5:30-7:30 with specific dates of January 27, Feb 10 and 24, March 10 and 24, and April 7 and 21. For more information or to sign up, contact Amy Doersam at firstname.lastname@example.org.