Wednesday, 5 June 2013
The Big IF...
Please excuse this brief break in normal programming. I've been asked to say a few words about the Big IF... campaign to combat global hunger, and their rally in Hyde Park this Saturday (8th June).
I'm sure I don't need to flag the irony of a restaurant blogger being asked to ally himself with a charity like this. We could all do more, every day, to help those in need but coming from a self-confessed glutton who eats out far more than he should, I can understand why you'd want to tell me where to stick it.
But if all my years of food blogging have left me with anything tangible apart from a gut and a faint whiff of tandoori lamb chops, it's a platform to tell a chunk of the internet about a good cause, and so I hope you won't mind me doing so.
The story is a simple one. The world produces enough food for everyone, yet hunger kills over 200 children every hour. This, clearly, cannot be allowed to continue, and this year with David Cameron leading the G8 group of richest countries, we have a once in a generation chance to make sure everyone gets the food they need to live. It’s within our reach, IF (hence the title of the campaign) we act together.
At an evening hosted by tireless activists from Save the Children and very ably catered for by the River Café (head chef Danny Bohan and head sommellier Emily O’Hare) we learned about how the charity helps families in East Africa not merely by handing out food aid but by providing ways in which they may become self-sufficient, such as a dairy cow and training on animal husbandry. Crucially also, an extra focus this campaign as opposed to previous years is on tax transparency, and helping the governments of affected countries to collect the taxes that are due to them from business operating in their countries. External investment in jobs is welcome, but will not help break the cycle of poverty unless taxes are reinvested in internal infrastructure.
There's all sorts of things you can do to help, detailed on the website. But the biggest show of strength would be to register and attend the Big If rally in Hyde Park on June 8th, something which would be impossible to ignore by those in power.
I promise I'll get back to "moaning about Michelin stars or drooling over the latest hip burger joint" (© The Observer) as soon as is humanely possible. Meantime, take a few seconds to register on the website or tweet or do whatever you can do to get the word out. This time, and perhaps for the only time on this blog, it really is a matter of life or death.
Photographs by Jiro Ose/Save the Children