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Star Chefs Making a Difference: Giada De Laurentiis on Chronic Hunger

Giada De Laurentiis in Peru

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The Chef: Giada De Laurentiis

The Cause: Oxfam International

To a billion people around the world surviving on just a dollar a day, the question of what to eat tonight is more about life and death than about recipes. The struggle of poor people around the globe weighs heavily on me, especially now that I am a mother, which is why I work with Oxfam.

Oxfam suggested I travel to visit farmers in the Cusco region of Peru (that's me with Peruvian chef Gonzalo Angosto in the photo at left). I was very nervous; I had never done a nitty-gritty sort of docu-style trip like this before. But the experience really opened my eyes to the impact of global climate change on people's lives. Instead of working on flat land, farmers in Peru have been pushed into the mountains, because that is where the fertile areas are. Oxfam aims to teach these farmers different ways to work the land, to be sure they don't deplete all its nutrients.

When we had lunch with the farmers, they brought all different kinds of potatoes—some starchy, others sweet. Hearing that they barely make enough money to put food on the table for their own children was heartbreaking. Still, watching the kids help their parents farm was incredible. It was amazing to see their passion and how much fun they have.

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Published July 2010
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