By “Big Kenny” Alphin @BigKennyTV
Earlier this year, I traveled to Austin and spoke at the Texas Global Food Security Summit held on the sidelines of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Convention. The meeting brought together more than 5,000 farmers from across the country, featuring participation from national and state agricultural leaders, corporate executives, and other leaders from the agricultural sector in policy, research, economics and aid.
This convention and summit were a great place to talk with the experts in food security and agriculture on how we might all join together for the shared goal of ending hunger by 2030.
Though you may know me from the Big & Rich stage and songs like “Coming To Your City” on College GameDay, I was thrilled to put on a different hat as a son of a farmer and a multi-generation farming family from Culpeper, Virginia, raised to believe farmers feed the world and no one needs to suffer from hunger.
My life has led me to witness hunger in many places; from the slums of Mathare and Kibera in Kenya, to the edges of war in South Sudan, to school-age children right here in the United States. Bearing witness to this critical issue that plagues more than 820 million worldwide, I came to ask a big question: How can I play a role in getting to the roots of hunger and malnutrition issues for my neighbors at home, and around the world?
Food is a key basis for peace. Where there is peace, there can be access to resources; but where there is instability, food can be scarce. And when people live in food insecure environments, unrest ensues. It’s a horrible cycle of poverty and potential violence. At this Summit, leading experts advised us how we can put a stop to these cycles of food insecurity. Food security is of critical importance for local security issues and national security issues.
We’ve all got to be on the frontlines of these discussions because they are important to the peace and wellbeing of our own nation and uplifting people around the world. When we feed a mother’s starving child, we are making friends and contributing to global peace and productivity.
If you are asking the same questions as I am, I urge you to get involved with me in ending hunger across the U.S. and in developing nations worldwide. Start by looking around your own community. Be aware of how hunger affects the young and old. I think we can all agree there should be no hungry children. There should be no hungry veterans. There should be no “hungry” anywhere.
Did you know that in 2017 alone, globally the U.S. reached more than 22 million children in developing nations with nutrition interventions? That’s 22 million lives saved thanks to American tax dollars! It’s amazing we can do so much in global health and development, like feeding 22 million kids, with less than 1% of the U.S. budget!
More good news: Congress offered a modest increase to global nutrition to feed more children in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations budget in December!
We have such great abilities in this country; I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Being part of the solution to end hunger is not only the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do. We need to help others help themselves.
Talk to your children about hunger. Be engaged in your school community. Be engaged in your faith community. If you have a lot, give a lot. If you don’t have a lot, give what you can or volunteer.
I know I’ve got to do my part to raise a voice for the hungry. We are all making a great difference from what we’re doing as a nation; and we are all making a difference in what we’re giving of ourselves. I know “We The People” can do this and even more inspired seeing Farm Bureau, The Voice of Agriculture, taking such a huge role in leading the way. Join me in this ambitious goal to end hunger by 2030.
“Big Kenny” Alphin is an artist, songwriter and humanitarian. He grew up on a cattle farm in rural Virginia.