George Kent. Caring About Hunger.

(Sparsnas, Sweden: Irene Publishing, 2016, 199pp)

Questions and concerns about food security are gaining increasing attention at local, national, and international levels.  Food security holds that all people at all times;  have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food;  necessary to lead active and healthy lives.  Climate change is expected to change increasingly the way food is grown;  and create possible water shortages.

George Kent;  who taught political science at the University of Hawaii for many years;  has written extensively on hunger and food issies;  such as his Global Obligations for the Right to Food (2008);  and Ending Hunger Worldwide (2011).  Here George Kent makes an eloquent appeal; to the conscience of individuals and communities worldwide;  to care about adequate food and to move with an awakened conscience into effective  action.

Like Paulo Freire;  George Kent places an emphasis on the development of awareness of individuals;  to understand their capacity to act creatively.  This transformation of consciousness is not just that of separate individuals;  but requires community awareness.  The community comes to understand;  that it can transcend earlier limits;  toward new possibilities for a fuller;  and richer life individually and collectively.

George Kent uses the term “community” to refer to a face-to-face group of interacting individuals;  bound together by a high degree of concern for one another’s welfare.  Such a community has a sense of purpose  about it.  Community consciousness refers to people-in-interaction.

George Kent

Hunger is a Social Problem.

He sets out his position clearly.  “There are no technical obsticales to ending hunger in the world.  It  depends on how people relate to one another; on demensions such as caring;  indifference and exploitation…Analysts may speak about deficits in land availability, water, seeds, knowledge, and trade opportunities;  but fail to see that the major problem might be a deficit in caring.  They do not appreciate that at its root; hunger is a social problem; heavily influenced by human relationships of caring, indifference, and exploitation.  Local shortages are rooted in conflicts of interest; about how the earth’s abundant resources should be used.  Hunger persists because lany people don’t care much about others;  and many people exploit others…There is no easy way to measure caring;  and no easy way to increase it;  but at the very least there is a need to examin the role of caring in relation to hunger.

“A caring community is one;  in which empowered citizens implement their own pathways;  to a sustainable future and build bridges of hope and solidarity.  A well functioning community is much more than random collections of people;  who happen to live near one another.  In strong communities;  there is joint efforts toward a shared goal of living well together.”

Food Security and Hunger.

George Kent does not overlook that there are other agencies;  national and United Nations;  that work on the issue of food security and hunger.  He holds that “the proper functions of agencies at the higher levels of governance is to support individuals;  and agencies at the local level in the communities;  to ensure that the families and neighbors;  they care about have  their needs fulfilled.  Everyone should have the opportunity to live with others in a strong caring community.”

This is a fine guide to developing strong caring communities.

Rene Wadlow;  President, Association of World Citizens.

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