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World Food Day Aims to Make Public Aware

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Americans, it is said, sometimes forget that food doesn't grow in the supermarket.

To counteract that failing, and raise the level of public awareness about the ecology of food production and use, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (fao) is sponsoring the first World Food Day on Oct. 16. fao officials hope that both schools and community organizations will use World Food Day as an opportunity to teach children and adults about the global and local connections that link them to their food supply.

So far, the response from schools has been enthusiastic but fragmented, according to World Food Day officials in Washington.

Hundreds of Requests for Material

"We have received hundreds of letters from elementary-school teachers asking for class material on world hunger issues. Two points have emerged," the officials write in a "round-up" of activities. "There isn't enough variety for younger children's study, and teachers generally don't know what does exist."

Organizers for World Food Day suggest that schools interested in celebrating could plan activities such as classroom discussions, fairs, special school-lunch programs, or displays.

Shortly after World Food Day, the Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will put together a special children's reading list of books on hunger and other relevant topics. The center is also planning a special meeting for teachers and librarians on ways to present material on food and hunger to children.

The U.S. Committee for unicef is also planning to include students in its celebration of World Food Day. Several hundred high-school newspaper editors from the New York City area will join unicef for a special program.

Students To Make Donations

The unicef committee will also begin "test-marketing" a program called "Spare A Bite," for high schools only. During the test year, the program will operate only in selected high schools in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

Participating students will donate $2 to unicef, and agree either to fast for one meal, or--if school-lunch regulations do not permit this--give up some "extras." The program may be expanded next year if all goes well, according to unicef officials.

Information on World Food Day is also included in the classroom materials for theican Federation of Teachers' (aft) East Africa hunger project.

An aft spokesperson says that the union has received hundreds of requests for the East Africa project material.

fao officials hope to make World Food Day an annual event.--S.W.

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