Friday, May 9, 2014

What exactly does the face of food insecurity look like?

This week, we watched a movie called A Place at the Table and it was about the American society and how capitalism has dominated the products that are being produced. They brought to my attention the inequality of healthy food distribution and it showed me that hunger is a problem, but from this, we have the increasing risk of obesity. The foods that are donated to food banks are not the healthiest. Today we visited the Calf Project at Southwestern High School and we learned that healthy foods are difficult to come by. This project was implemented to supplement the needs of the food banks by having a class of high school students raise 2-3 calves every 9 weeks. Once these calves were raised, they went to a farm to finish out their noble purpose of becoming food for the local food pantries. In 14 months, the calves that are slaughtered will create about 300 pounds of hamburger to feed around 35-40 local families. This enthralled the education major inside myself to see these high school students not only learning a professional job, but also incorporating a humanitarian aspect into it. The teacher created this project to fix an inequality in food distribution and to help solve a social problem. The foods that are being donated to local food banks are not fresh meat and vegetables, but rather canned goods that have signs of imperfections that won't be able to be sold in the stores. So what exactly is comprising these foods banks and why are people considered hungry?

When you think about hungry people, you probably picture a starving individual that looks as though they are deteriorating, but that isn't so much the case now. People are suffering from food insecurity which means they are not able to get the proper nutritious foods on a regular basis. The food pantries serve as a way to address the problem of hunger. When someone is hungry, you feed them. That individual only needs food to survive, however, for quality life, individuals need nutritious foods to sustain a quality life. This is where poverty and obesity collide. When many people see obese individuals, they tend to blame the individual for getting that way. But in some cases, the problem is that economic hardships make it difficult for individuals to provide healthy and balanced diets for their families because healthy food is so expensive to make! Why go to a grocery store to purchase hamburger meat when you can have 5 hamburgers from McDonalds for the same price as 3 burgers??? This is why obesity and food insecurity are becoming a growing, correlated epidemic.  

Obesity in our country is a rising problem, so is it tied to an economic factor? 1 in 5 children are hungry at school. If we start with education to fix the problem of obesity, will it? I believe that we have some major factors in the government to fix before the problem of obesity can be fixed. We are allocating certain funds to products such as corn to create corn based products. These products are neither healthy nor nutritious. Their basis to serve a need; it is cheap, multi-purpose and feeds people. It gets the jobs done, but at what cost?

Has anyone ever stopped to think about the repercussions of unhealthy foods? More money going to healthcare, more sick leave for jobs, less attentiveness in schools. When one factor causes these, the repercussions can leave tax payers in a more financially burdened place. Where do we go from here? What are the next steps? What exactly is the face of food insecurity and how can we help solve it?


  1. Good post. I have more thoughts about the stigma associated with hunger and poverty. If 1 in 4 children in Jefferson County are food insecure, but that statistic is still surprising to many people. Poverty stricken families are afraid of being judged or teased by their peers, so they remain quiet about their struggles, which makes the fight against poverty and hunger that much more challenging. How would the fight to end hunger be different if people were more vocal about their struggles? How would it be different if we stopped blaming the poor for their poverty / hunger and looked to society for answers?

  2. I agree, Jordan. I think accountability needs to be addressed at the governmental level because they are who control the education and money allocation for welfare programs. Most of taxpayer's money funds our outrageous military expenses instead of food stamps and welfare programs for the needy. My dad was always against such welfare programs because many of his tenants abused the system by living off the government's money and never finding a job for themselves even when they were capable. I think this is very controversial because the welfare system is beneficial to those who cannot help themselves, yet the system gets a bad reputation because it gives "hand outs" to "lazy" people. And even then, the programs may be somewhat helpful, but they are minimally helpful. MINIMALLY. It is sad to think that our government is more concerned with our military (which is already very well armed) than with the children who are the future of our nation. It seems like some grand scheme to keep people of lower socioeconomic status in subordinate positions.