Fighting hunger at all levels

Octavio Soares, Global Head of Seed Supply at BASF, shares his thoughts on food insecurity

The number of Americans who do not know where their next meal will come from might surprise you. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), about 1 in 9 households (11.1 percent) encountered difficulty in providing enough food for their family at some time during 2018.


This is an issue that is dear to me as it has affected my family. My grandfather passed away when my father was a young boy which left my grandmother to raise three children on her own. At times the food available was not enough for the three children. Because of my father’s experience, I grew up knowing the value of food.


There are many families that share the experience my father had, including families with children. Within food insecure households are 11.2 million children that face hunger. There has been a decline in food insecurity among households with children over the past couple of years, which has trended from 15.7 percent in 2017 to 13.9 percent in 2018 and represents the lowest rate in at least 20 years.


This is an encouraging statistic, but our work to end hunger is far from over. At BASF Agricultural Solutions, employees work tirelessly to find solutions to help farmers increase food production and to feed a growing population out of the same or fewer acres of productive land.


Aside from the work that is done by my fellow employees at BASF, I’ve also seen examples of people working tirelessly within their own communities to find solutions to food insecurity. I believe wholeheartedly that this issue will not be solved unless people are working at the ground level to fix it.

Through my involvement with the board of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, I’ve witnessed employees and volunteers that focus not only on providing nutritious meals to those in line at the food pantries, but also on shortening the line. They do this by teaching people how to grow produce in their yards or community gardens and how to cook nutritious meals by using as many ingredients as there are available to them.


The Food Bank also partners with other nonprofit organizations to help people struggling with food insecurity develop skills and gain access to resources to help them out of their situations. I’m inspired by these acts of service and confident that if people work to fight hunger within their own communities, we will continue to see declining rates of food insecurity.


One way people can make an impact on a local level is by volunteering their time at their local food bank or shelter. This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, BASF Agricultural Solutions North America employees volunteered their time at the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina packing food items to assist with hunger relief efforts in their community. It’s going to take fighting hunger at all levels to overcome this issue, so I encourage you to take action like us at BASF and volunteer at your local food bank or food shelf to help reduce the prevalence of food insecurity.