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  • Chloe-Rose Crabtree

Interview: Kirsty McFadden

Kirsty McFadden started her role Head of Creative at the UN World Food Programme (WFP) just ahead of Europe’s pandemic lockdowns.Our conversation was focused on the topic of ‘culinary systems’ which Anna and I discussed in an Instagram Live to close out Season 1.1 of Sourced.

As a global entity, WFP organises its efforts with hundreds of different groups across the world. In collaboration with locally-based organisations, WFP helps determine how best to provide aid in a way that addresses specific issues that contribute to food insecurity while also ensuring people have access to relief. They function as the organisational arm of the UN and coordinate air fleets, ground transport, and suppliers with government agencies and charities around the world. It is essentially a global culinary system within itself.

Some of our conversation focused on the physical systems at play in food relief efforts but we also discussed how the narrative of global hunger put out by organisations like WFP can shape our understanding of global culinary systems.

WFP started in 1951 and in 2020 it won the Nobel Peace Prize. The spotlight gives the organisation a huge opportunity to expand their outreach. But most importantly, it gives the organisation a platform to shape the global conversation on food systems.

McFadden’s goal when she started at WFP a year ago was to ensure the organisation had messaging that developed a narrative of global hunger that didn’t rely on drop-in reportage done by Europeans. McFadden and many of her colleagues felt that this developed a narrative that obscured the causes of global hunger and wasn’t representative of the lived experience.

Instead she has developed a storyteller’s team “which is a group of trained beneficiaries, predominantly refugees” who have experienced knowledge of food insecurity and work with WFP to create content for the organisation that is representative of the various communities affected by limited food access. Listen to our conversation to hear more about what McFadden has to say about the importance of where narratives are sourced in our full conversation.

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