Chris Uggen's Blog: obesity, hunger, and table for two

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

obesity, hunger, and table for two

ok, so here's a li'l social policy challenge: how would you devise a program to simultaneously address hunger in developing countries and obesity in developed countries?

table for two represents the creative response of a young global leaders group working with the world economic forum. they set up a program to donate a school meal in a developing country for every "healthy" meal purchased at participating company cafeterias, restaurants, or retailers. the global initiative, led by masaakira "james" kondo and moto furukawa, is rapidly gaining momentum in japan, with expansion to europe and north america planned within the next year.

here's the official description:

Step 1
Company cafeterias and restaurants (our “participants”) that participate in TABLE FOR TWO agree to serve healthy meal options that meet our healthy diet criteria.

Step 2
When the healthy meal is served, our supporters agree to donate 20 cents per meal to TABLE FOR TWO. The 20 cents may be incurred by the employer, food service provider, suppliers, or the employee. Employers may choose to match the donation made by their employees.

Step 3
Using the donation, school meals are provided at participating schools in developing countries at a cost of 20 cents per meal. Participating schools are accountable for monitoring and periodically reporting the delivery of school meals and the health of school children to whom the meals are provided.

cool idea, though the organizational challenges are daunting. i'm sure one could come up with dozens of reasons why this won't work in the states, though one could counter that the japan pilot has already served tens of thousands of meals. i caught wind of the program through a u.s.-japan leadership exchange listserv. if you like the idea and know of companies or restaurants that might like to participate, i know that mr. kondo, interviewed here by thomas crampton, would love to hear from you. his goal is to sign up 1,000 organizations around the world. and i wouldn't bet against him.

so, which college or university will be the first to pilot the program?


At 2:09 PM, Blogger Chika said...

This is an exciting idea and program! I wonder if this is related to Japan's SHOKUIKU ("eating/food" education) movement as well...

At 8:52 PM, Blogger christopher uggen said...

hey chika, you'd be a great person to spread the word beyond japan. plus, it might make an interesting (post-dissertation) research project ...


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