FAO in North America

2019 World Food Day Poetry Competition – Call for Entries


Calling all Poets living in Washington, DC, and surrounding counties!

In recognition of the power of poetry to move hearts and minds, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) Liaison Office for North America announces the second annual, World Food Day (WFD) Poetry Competition in Partnership with the Poetry X Hunger initiative.

Held every year on October 16, this year’s World Food Day will focus on the theme: “Our actions are our future. Healthy diets for a #ZeroHunger world.”

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is not only about addressing hunger, but about also nourishing people, while nurturing the planet. Now over 670 million adults and 120 million girls and boys (5-19 years) are obese, and over 40 million children under five are overweight, while over 800 million people suffer from hunger.

As overweight and obesity rates soar worldwide, World Food Day will call for action to make healthy and sustainable diets affordable and accessible to everyone. At the same time, it calls on everyone to start thinking about what we eat.

Eligibility: Poets ages 18 and older who currently live in the Washington, DC, and in the nearby counties of Prince George’s, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Howard, Arlington, Fairfax and Loudon are invited to submit 1-2 published or unpublished poems that focus on this year’s theme of promoting healthy and sustainable diets. Employees of FAO and/or family members as well as cash winners from the 2018 competition are ineligible to enter this year’s competition.

Awards: First Prize for a single, winning poem is $500. In addition, the winner will be invited to read their poem at the WFD Celebration in Washington, DC on or about October 15, 2019. The winning poem will also be published on the Liaison Offices’ Newsletter and Website as well as on Poetry X Hunger website. Second Prize ($250) and Third Prize ($150) will also be publicized as mentioned for the First Prize.  Honorable mentioned will also be recognized.

Submission Guidance: There is no entry fee. Poems should be emailed as a pdf attachment to [email protected] by the firm deadline of midnight on Thursday, August 15, 2019.  Please include name, address with county noted, phone number and email address in the body of the submission email.

Submitted poems should be in English (no translations) and be family-friendly, 35 lines or less in length, single-spaced and in Times New Roman 12-point font. The poem can be in any form and tradition, with or without geographic focus. Poets are encouraged to avoid criticizing political leaders and countries. Poems will be judged anonymously; name or other identifiers should not appear on the poem.

Note that by submitting to the competition, poets acknowledge that they are the sole author of the poem(s) and agree to provide FAO and Poetry X Hunger the right to publish the poem(s) in print and/or electronic formats.  If previously published work is submitted, the submitting poet must hold rights to the work and should indicate in the cover note where the poem first appeared.

Judging: Two preliminary judges and one final judge will select the winning entries. Decisions of the judges will be final and will be announced in the lead up to World Food Day on October 16.  

Impact: By bringing poetry more fully to bear on urgent hunger issues, the Competition’s intent is to creatively reach and engage public stakeholders and decision-makers to eliminate hunger.

For more information, please email: [email protected]

Relevant Websites:

FAO's World Food Day site  

Poets Call for Zero Hunger in First of Its Kind World Food Day Contest

Poetry X Hunger website