Leading actors Scarlett Johansson and Kristin Davis, photographer Rankin, supermodel Helena Christensen and TV presenter Zoe Ball are among the stars joining Oxfam in putting out a call to fix the broken global food system, which is failing to feed nearly a billion people each day.
The international food system – which takes food from the fields to our plates – is currently leaving one in seven people going hungry every day and, according to Oxfam, the situation is getting much worse. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Angélique Kidjo and international actor Gael Garcia Bernal are also among the names joining Oxfam calling for governments and big businesses to act now and fix it, to avoid the first ever global food crisis.
Grow will be Oxfam’s biggest ever campaign and aims to end world hunger. It will be launched in 45 countries from today, and aims to gather millions of supporters.
Oxfam global ambassador Scarlett Johansson, said: “Sharing food is one of life’s pleasures. On a global scale, we don’t share fairly. Close to a billion people go to bed hungry every night. The fact is: the global food system is a broken one. All of us, from Kentucky to Kenya, deserve enough to eat.”
Celebrity photographer Rankin is playing a key role in the campaign. Having photographed the Queen, and A-list stars including Kate Moss and Kylie Minogue he has now turned his camera towards people in Kenya, who are struggling to feed themselves and their families. He has produced a range of striking images, including a powerful shot of a woman holding a handful of food which she and her neighbours survive on each day, currently on billboards, TV and underground station adverts across the UK.
“I have recently returned from Kenya with Oxfam, where we visited the region of Turkana,” said Rankin. "The area has been so badly hit by drought that the people there are surviving on as little as a handful of maize a day. They are unable to grow food and their cattle are dying.
“I spoke to the community and asked them what the one thing was that they needed most. They all gave the same answer; they wanted the means to grow their own food and to sustain their own lives. This seems so simple but as of yet it is not possible. This scandal can, and must, be rectified.”
Zoe Ball is also backing the campaign: “In 2007 I visited Malawi with Oxfam. Whilst I was there I was completely blown away by the efforts of the women of the village who worked so hard to produce the food that fed their families. Women farmers produce a huge portion of the worlds food. Yet there are almost a billion people facing starvation and, in the majority of areas, these people are women and girls. We have enough food and resources on our planet for everyone to be able to eat. There is no need for anyone to go hungry.”
Sex and the City actor Kristin Davis has just returned from Haiti with Oxfam where she visited women’s farming projects.
“In my travels with Oxfam I have met many women all over the world farming to feed their families, working their own land sunrise to sunset but struggling to do so,” she said. “Here in Haiti, I met with a co-op where farmers are growing mangoes. With Oxfam’s help they are beginning to see success and expand their business. Food security is vital so that a country can supply food to its own people – this was especially evident after the earthquake where Haiti had to rely on huge amounts of food aid.”
Rising food prices, the gathering pace of climate change and the worsening shortages of water, land and energy sources means the problem is getting worse. Currently the poorest people in the world are spending up to 80 per cent of their weekly income on food, with people in India forced to spend more than double what we spend in the UK. One litre of milk in the UK costs around 26p, while someone in India can expect to spend the equivalent of £10.
To find out more about the campaign visit www.oxfam.org.uk/system.