We hear these words on the news – “food insecurity”, “famine”, and “humanitarian crisis” – and they sound serious and scary. But knowing what the words mean can remove some of that fear and help us better understand the next steps to help.
Food security is the goal–the ideal. Food security is when people have access to good, clean food and have enough in their bellies. That averages out to about 2100 calories of food a day (remember though, not all calories are the same) and 15 liters (that is a whopping 3 gallons) of water per day.
Food insecurity is when people have a hard time getting their basic needs met. Perhaps they live in a food desert, where there aren't enough grocery stores in a neighborhood.
An acute food and livelihood crisis is when people can't even get to the 2100 calories without extreme measures. Next, is a humanitarian emergency, where it's hard to manage even 4 liters of water per day, and there is access to less than three food groups. Next is famine, the most serious, when there is no access to food and the people experience mass starvation.
Now that we understand the language of food, we can better help each other get to food security.