This is a guest blog post by Stephanie Chen, Policy Communications Manager at CARE.
Did you know that hunger and malnutrition remain the No. 1 risk to global health, killing more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined?
That’s why poverty-fighting organization CARE brought renowned chefs Spike Mendelsohn, Asha Gomez, Mike Isabella and Victor Albisu on a learning tour of Peru to see how many solutions to global hunger exist at the local level.
These chefs offered a deeply personal connection and fresh perspective on the hunger issue. For the four chefs, food is their passion; it’s their life. During the three-day, hands-on trip, the chefs visited several programs that showcased how CARE successfully worked to empower local farmers to fight hunger and malnutrition.
Former Bravo Top Chef contestant and restaurateur Spike Mendelsohn of Washington D.C., spent a day with a CARE beneficiary named Edilberto. Edilberto owns a native potato farm high in the Andes around the city of Ayacucho. In Peru, potatoes, the third most important food crop in the world, are a big deal – it’s home to more than 3,800 different kinds.
Edilberto told the chefs how CARE helped him form a partnership between native potato farmers and more than 80 restaurateurs in Lima. After receiving seeds and agricultural training from CARE, he and other farmers banded together to provide a steady supply of the long-ignored native potatoes to the Peru’s finest restaurants. The result: incomes have soared and malnutrition has waned in a region.