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World Food Day

World Food Day is annually held on October 16 to commemorate the founding of the United Nations' (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Each year has a different theme.

World Food Day helps raise people's awareness of problems in food supply and distribution.
World Food Day helps raise people's awareness of problems in food supply and distribution.
©iStockphoto.com/ aluxum

What Do People Do?

Many events are organized on and around World Food Day. On and around October 16, a wide-ranging program is organized at the FAO's headquarters in Rome, Italy. The program is aimed at leaders of political and non-political organizations at all levels and at increasing press attention on topical issues around food supply. Other UN organizations and universities around the world organize symposia, conferences, workshops and presentations of particular issues around food production, distribution and security. In addition, special initiatives, such as the “International Year of Rice” in 2004 and the “International Year of the Potato” in 2008 were launched.

Across the globe, many different events are organized to raise awareness of problems in food supply and distribution and to raise money to support projects to aid in the cultivation of food plants and the distribution of food. An example of this is TeleFood, which funds micro projects to help small-scale farmers at the grassroots level. The projects aim to help farmers be more productive and improve both local communities' access to food and farmers' cash income. Fundraising events include sponsored sports events, charity auctions, concerts, and marches.

Public Life

World Food Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.


The FAO aims to raise levels of nutrition across the globe, improve agricultural productivity at all levels, enhance the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy. It also provides assistance to countries changing their agricultural policy, to aid regions out of famine situations, to help implement appropriate technology and facilitate a neutral environment to discuss issues around food production.

At the FAO's 20th session in Rome, Italy, in November 1979 the conference called for the observance of World Food Day on October 16, 1981, and on the same date each year. The UN General Assembly ratified this decision on December 5, 1980, and urged governments and international, national and local organizations to contribute to observing World Food Day. World Food Day has been held each year since 1981.


The FAO's symbol consists of a circle. Inside the circle is a graphical image of an ear of wheat and the letters F, A and O. The FAO's motto “fiat panis” (let there be bread) appears under the ear of wheat. The first version of this design was a badge distributed to delegates at an FAO conference in Copenhagen in 1946. The current version was registered with the United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property on July 1, 1964, and has been used widely since about 1977.

A World Food Day official symbol consists of three abstract human figures harvesting, distributing and sharing food. The figures are depicted in a bluish-grey color and the food in an orange shade. This draws attention to the food. The whole image aims to bring attention to the necessity and joy of growing, harvesting and distributing food.

World Food Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
SatOct 162010World Food DayUnited Nations observance 
SunOct 162011World Food DayUnited Nations observance 
TueOct 162012World Food DayUnited Nations observance 
WedOct 162013World Food DayUnited Nations observance 
ThuOct 162014World Food DayUnited Nations observance 
FriOct 162015World Food DayUnited Nations observance 
SunOct 162016World Food DayUnited Nations observance 
MonOct 162017World Food DayUnited Nations observance 
TueOct 162018World Food DayUnited Nations observance 
WedOct 162019World Food DayUnited Nations observance 
FriOct 162020World Food DayUnited Nations observance 

Quick Facts

World Food Day is celebrated on October 16 each year.

World Food Day 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016

World Food Day 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017


Name in other languages

World Food DayEnglish
Día Mundial de la AlimentaciónSpanish
יום המזון העולמיHebrew
اليوم العالمي للتغذيةArabic
세계 식량의 날Korean

List of dates for other years

Related holiday

Fun Holiday on October 16, 2016

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