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What's Cooking at the UN? Cookbooks, Food Programs and Policies of the United Nations

Last Updated: 24-Oct-2013

This topic guide supplements the UN Day 2013 Exhibit and Program at the Green Library.

On exhibit are materials from the Library's special and general collections highlight each of the major food programs of the United Nations: the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP), and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); as well as items from these programs' precursor, the International Institute of Agriculture, founded by David Lubin.

The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, and by a majority of other signatories. United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year.

World Food Day was established by the Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) at the Organization's Twentieth General Conference in November 1979. The date chosen - 16 October - is the anniversary of FAO's founding in 1945.

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UN Day

Bibliography and Overviews

Elga Zalite, Bibliographic Assistant for Government Information, researched and compiled the two overviews of the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program. They provide a history, a list of significant accomplishments, as well as some of the criticisms of the programs. 

The Bibliography contains citations to the materials in the Green Library Lobby cases; and were also consulted for the overviews.

UN Day 2013 Exhibit Bibliography
FAO Overview
WFP Overview

Four Freedoms

President Franklin Roosevelt introduced the world to the Four Freedoms  in his 6 January 1941 State of the Union Address -- Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear.  These freedoms became the foundation for the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with Article 25 specifically stating, "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control."

The titles listed below provide a sample of the titles in the Library's collections dealing with the Freedom from Want.

  1. Edward Gresser. 2007

  2. George Kent ; foreword by Jean Ziegler. 2005

  3. Kathleen G. Donohue. 2003

  4. Ian Smillie. 2009

  5. Editors: Sar A. Levitan, Wilbur J. Cohen [and] Robert J. Lampman. 1968

IIA and David Lubin

The International Institute of Agriculture (IIA) was founded in Rome in 1905 by the King of Italy with the intent of creating a clearinghouse for collection of agricultural statistics.  It was created primarily due to the efforts of David Lubin. In 1930, the IIA published the first world agricultural census. After World War II, both its assets and mandate were handed over to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. (Source:

David Lubin, considered the founder of the IIA, was a merchant and agriculturist who settled in the Sacramento area.  The Hoover Library and Archives has a collection of his papers, and the FAO Library in Rome is named the David Lubin Memorial Library in honor of him.

  1. by Olivia Rossetti Agresti. 1941

  2. by Olivia Rossetti Agresti. 1941

  3. by Olivia Rossetti Agresti. 1922

  4. by Olivia Rossetti Agresti. 1922

  5. Resolutions passed by the Congress of the United States, presented to the International Institute of Agriculture (February 27th, 1915). 1915


The FAO was founded 16 October 1945 in Quebec City, Canada. The FAO motto is fiat panis or "let there be bread". 

Their mandate "is to improve nutrition, increase agricultural productivity, raise the standard of living in rural populations and contribute to global economic growth." They accomplish this through a variety of programs, working relationships with other IGOs and NGOs, and through research and analysis to set policies and standards.

  1. Basic Foodstuff Service, Commodities and Trade Division. 20th century


The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food assistance branch of the UN, delivering food releif packages to areas struck by famine, drought, or other events that prevent people from producing or obtaining enought food for themselves and their families. WFP was established in 1961 as a three year experiment to "find a way to deliver food surpluses to food-deficient peoples of the United Nations system." UN Resolution A/RES/1714(XVI)  In 1965 the WFP was extended on a continuuing basis and is considered one of the world's largest humanitarian organizations addressing hunger.

  1. World Food Programme. 1993

  2. WFP Afghanistan. 2000s

  3. Programa Mundial de Alimentos, Bolivia. 2000s

  4. World Food Programme. 1998

UN Cookbooks

Cookbooks from the United Nations, part of the Dawn Nicolosi Powell Collection of Regional and Ethnic American Cookbooks.

Kansas City, Mo. : Circulation Service ; [New York : distributed by United Nations Women's Guild], c1977.
SAL3 (off-campus storage) » Use restricted to Special Collections » TX725 .A1 U558 1977
[New York] : United Nations Association of the United States of America, [1965]
SAL3 (off-campus storage) » Use restricted to Special Collections » TX725 .A1 K7383 1965
Rev. and updated ed. New York : Simon and Schuster, [1970]
SAL3 (off-campus storage) » Use restricted to Special Collections » TX725 .A1 K7383 1970
Rev. ed. Memphis, Tenn. : Wimmer Brothers ; New York : distributed by United Nations Women's Guild], c1992.
SAL3 (off-campus storage) » Use restricted to Special Collections » TX725 .A1 U545 1992
New York : United Nations International School, c1975.
SAL3 (off-campus storage) » Use restricted to Special Collections » TX725 .A1 G6644 1975
New York : United Nations, 2008.
SAL1&2 (on-campus shelving) » Stacks » TX803 .P8 P68 2008

UN Resources