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Hacking Hunger

Hidden, human stories about food on the front lines of hunger.
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Hacking Hunger
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Sep 16, 2016

When violence or natural disaster strikes vulnerable communities, good data on the hunger that often results can be hard to come by. For aid workers, knowing where food is scarce and how families are coping is crucial to alleviate suffering. M.J. talks to Jean-Martin Bauer, founder of the World Food Programme’s mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) unit, about how mobile phones in the most remote and dangerous corners of our world are changing how we understand and fight hunger.

Sep 6, 2016

If women farmers had the same access to resources like capital, markets and training as their male counterparts, the number of hungry people worldwide could drop by nearly 20 percent, according to the United Nations. M.J. talks to Lisa Curtis, co-founder of Kuli Kuli Foods, about how building a U.S. market for a “miracle crop” called moringa is empowering women farmers in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities to grow, sell and consume what some believe could be the next kale or quinoa.

Aug 18, 2016

In an increasingly food-obsessed world, journalists and consumers alike are digging into the politics of what ends up on our plates. This global food chain means farmers and families at home and abroad are interconnected in new and complicated ways. M.J. talks to Maddie Oatman, co-host of Mother Jones magazine’s new food podcast “Bite,” about what she’s uncovering in her day-to-day reporting, how living abroad shaped her perspective, and this year’s four trendy foods that could balance sustainability and appetite.   

Jul 20, 2016

At a time when smartphone users outnumber the world’s hungry children by 20 to 1, humanitarian organizations are crowdsourcing creative ideas and solutions to harness technology in the fight against global hunger. That’s why some of the brightest minds in tech innovation joined last week’s launch of the UN World Food Programme’s first-ever Innovation Accelerator. Hear from one of them: Sebastian Stricker, the co-founder of WFP’s award-winning mobile app ShareTheMeal. Learn how it has inspired people around the world to share more than 7 million meals with hungry families across the Middle East since its launch last fall.

Jun 8, 2016

In a besieged town in Syria earlier this year, families had been boiling grass to survive when word spread that the first delivery of food and medicine to reach the area in 18 months was on its way. But when this humanitarian convoy was blocked at a government checkpoint, the fate of tens of thousands of Syrians fell hostage to the whims of a single army commander. Hear from WFP’s Country Director in Syria who was on the convoy about what happened next and learn how a displaced Syrian aid worker is struggling to feed families cut off from aid. Go behind the scenes with these two humanitarians as we reveal the logistical challenges they face when trying to deliver food in one of the most dangerous and volatile countries in the world.

May 12, 2016

What's it like to live in a country with terrain that is both breathtakingly beautiful and incredibly dangerous? Few places exemplify this better than Nepal, and few people know this contrast as deeply as its local mountain porters after last year’s twin earthquakes. We share interviews with four Nepalese porters who helped deliver food and supplies to communities in need after the country’s worst natural disasters in 80 years. We explore how the earthquakes changed their lives, what they carried up some of the tallest peaks in the world, and what’s at stake for Nepal’s ongoing recovery effort.

Intro music by Nepalese guitarist Sandeep Tuladhar. Outro music, which was unaltered, by Wacky Southern Current under a Creative Commons License. (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Mar 18, 2016

Millennials are the largest and most educated generation in the U.S. Today, they outnumber baby boomers by nearly 8 million people. And the United Nations has tasked this generation with tackling one of the biggest challenges of our time - ending hunger by 2030. We talk with five students of the “Zero Hunger Generation” who attended last month’s Universities Fighting World Hunger summit in Missouri about who they are, what they believe, and what they’re doing to rise to the occasion. One of these students is Cedric Habiyaremye, whose childhood as a former refugee led him to a career in agriculture.

Feb 19, 2016

A historic drought is sweeping Ethiopia and more than 10 million people have been pushed into hunger. We talk with two humanitarians in Ethiopia—John Aylieff from the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) and Dianna Darsney de Salcedo from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the single largest donor to WFP's Ethiopia operations—to hear how families are coping with one of the worst droughts in decades. We also hear from Abebe Haregewoin, an Ethiopian man who is raising money from his home in Silver Spring, Maryland to help WFP feed people in his homeland.

Music: Mulatu Astatke, The Story of Ethio Jazz, "Yekermo Sew"; Girma Yifrashewa, Love and Peace, "The Shepherd with the Flute" 

Dec 12, 2015

We speak with Dina el-Kassaby, one of the WFP's Communications Officers based in Cairo, about how the conflicts in Syria and Iraq have impacted ordinary families throughout the region.

Nov 24, 2015

In this segment of Hacking Hunger podcast, Allan Jury, WFP USA's Public Policy Vice President and food security "Yoda" debunks some of the pernicious myths about global hunger and explains how agencies like the World Food Programme are making progress. 

Sep 30, 2015

We're joined today by Roger Thurow, an award-winning journalist and author who has traveled across the globe reporting on food security, agriculture and humanitarian issues. We spoke to Roger about his experience in the field, how 9/11 led him to cover global hunger issues, and his motto: “Outrage and inspire.”  Music Featured: Modest Mouse, "Float On"       

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