Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Food News: A Happy World Food Day and a Belated Blogiversary!

October happens to be a crazy month for those interested in anything remotely food-related. Besides just being a transitional period for food crops, there are also several major international and national events. Today is World Food Day, which serves to raise awareness around reducing hunger, and marks the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization back in 1945. This year's theme focuses on agricultural cooperatives - institutions that play key roles in improving the livelihoods of rural poor, most of whom are actually smallholder farmers. I wrote more on cooperatives back in July on International Day of Cooperatives, and this year has been designated by the UN as devoted to these efforts.

Particularly for coffee, cocoa, and other crops primarily grown at a small scale, where aggregation is necessary and producers' interests are often undermined, cooperatives are very beneficial and becoming more ubiquitous. Cooperatives often help farmers access markets and technical assistance, negotiate better prices, and even build communal processing or storage facilities. For example, Kuapa Kokoo, the cooperative that supplies Divine Chocolate, has brought a more transparent and democratic process to the cocoa supply chain in Ghana. At the same time, it has helped women gain leadership roles and control over their own farming ventures.
But today is also important because it's the day I remembered (belatedly) my blog's anniversary! Last year I attempted to summarize the humble beginnings of My Munchable Musings back on October 10th, 2009 (a revamp of a 2008 blog). However, I think that celebrating this 3rd blogiversary at the same time as an internationally recognized observance such as World Food Day reflects the evolution and maturation of the blog.

Because we don't live in a bubble, or a vacuum, it is essential to be cognizant that choices we make (even ones locally) can have far-reaching implications. MMM has morphed over time to include more musings on hunger and poverty, while still keeping the climate, the ecology, the water, the soil in the mix (because everything is connected). But it's a lot to wrap one blogger's head around, and days like My Munchable Soapbox many times turn into a sounding board or a platform to work through ideas and concepts running rampant in my head. And that is one thing a blog should be able to do - grow with the writer, be a place to work through messy concepts, and in the end come out better.

I hope the next year sees more growth, and there will definitely be change. Happy Blogiversary MMM. I promise to bake you a cake this week :)~

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