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Week 13 Blog

Thinking about food and the way it is viewed in various ways by people has reminded me of being in elementary school.  Not so much remembering the food, but a specific woman who worked in the area of the cafeteria where we would dump our trays.  If there was food being dumped, she would remind us of "how much all those starving children in Africa" would have eaten all their lunch.  I can still hear her voice. 

My grandparents were children of the Great Depression which meant their cupboards were always full.  Even today my grandmother who has gone from having a full house of nine to being widowed and hardly cooking has full cupboards.  Her cupboards today are full of pre-packaged foods in cans and boxes which is much unlike her cupboards of my childhood memories. 

The elderly and poor are at a higher risk of hunger.  Like my grandmothers cupboards of today, the food shelves and homeless shelters rely on the same types of non-perishable foods that are unhealthy. 

blog 13 response


Anna brought up a really good point about food subsidies.  The government provides a lot of money, tax breaks, and incentives to various sectors of the economy, including food producers.  I'd be curious to see how much money is given out this way compared to how much is invested in food assistance for the poor.  I'm just throwing this out there - but what if everyone shopped locally only - what would be the economic impact of that?  Wouldn't it be negative (in economic terms only) - and how could we address that aspect also?

 



Blog Comment to Beverly's post #13 and Anna's comment

I hadn't heard of the "local food revolution" until mentioned now, but it's very interesting. I really like the idea of healthier foods, I think is would benefit people everywhere is we were all to start making healthier food choices, on top of the personal benefits it would add to the economy and environments. However as we discussed in class and Beverly mentions the idea of growing you own foods such as fruits and vegetables seems like a simple and easy adjustment, everyone doesn't have the resources to do this. I do think that if peoples eating habits were to change and consume more healthier foods this can change our food culture and the way we think of food. It hopefully would change the idea of food from a luxury to be full and pleased by what we eat to a necessity that ALL people need for survival. I think if we begin to think of food in this manner it will create a lesser demand for certain food that are more appealing and satisfying yet not a healthy. While increasing the opportunity and ability for people to receive the simple basic foods needed to maintain a healthy life style. 

Comment to Beverly's Blog Assignment 13

I read Animal Vegetable Miracle last year, and I agree that a local food revolution would be beneficial on so many levels. It's good for the local economy, the environment, the people who eat the healthier foods, etc. As for the issue of hunger, this is the sort of fundamental overhaul that would benefit the poorer population the most. One thing the government could do to support local food producers is buy from them for school cafeterias. The college I went to when I lived in the dorm and ate at the cafeteria had a local food table, and there were always good options there. Using local foods in schools would be one investment with (at least) two positive consequences, support for the local economy and healthier foods for kids.

Blog Post #13

I definitely think that in order to rectify hunger (and malnutrition) within America, we need to address the food culture of America. Tied into this is the overall consumption culture of America, or a more generalized effect of capitalism: the tiers of brands. Food, like any other priced object within a competitive market, is classed. Value is placed on owning the best brand, or shopping from the best store. Winne points out that smaller markets are getting overtaken by large supermarkets due to pricing and selection, but he leaves out something that I think plays a part in this; the classification of food markets. When I was young, I did not want to shop at the local small food market because I didn't know anyone else who did that. I was different, and in a culture that marginalizes the different, this was a bad thing. I was probably not alone in feeling this. Price and selection of course play a major role in the weeding out of small markets, but, like any other store (clothing, accessories, etc), where you shop has racial, class and gendered associations.

I didn't see a direct parallel to what Winne was saying about supermarkets in areas that don't need them to supermarket locations where I live, which I also thought was interesting. I currently live in St Paul and the supermarket locations (Rainbow and Cub) are in a lower class area. The ritzier supermarkets (Kowalskis and Whole Foods) are in the higher class areas. This makes sense to me, (why price out the people who have the best access to your store?) so Winne's article was particularly interesting. Another aspect of this is area pricing in general, if higher prices drove out the poorer before or after the establishment of those supermarkets. Within that is the issue of redlining and job availability, and the ability to form stores for a very specific (read: white and middle class) market of people within the area.

So how to address all these inter-related things? Branding and consumer tiers will always exist within a capitalist culture. So how to solve hunger within this? Raise awareness about welfare, food stamps and other government assisted food programs, so the dominant ideology about the social unacceptableness of each can be shifted. If more people can become aware of why these things are necessary and why people buy the way they do, this could in turn raise awareness about inequalities in race , class and gender, which lies at the heart of hunger in America. I think the first step to anything is social awareness, anything else is a band-aid.

Blog Comment to Mccar353 and Yangx467

Both of you bring up an interesting point about restaurants throwing out decent food that could be given to the hungry. Mccar353- it seems that you are blaming restaurants themselves for being so wasteful, but like Yangx467mentioned, there are legal liabilities that prevent restaurants from donating their leftovers.

I worked at Papa John's, and although there were not a ton of leftovers since everything was made-to-order, there were homeless people who would come in and ask if we had any leftover pizza. Management did not allow us to give anything out- not necessarily because they were worried that these people would get sick, but because they did not want the homeless to continue to come in, asking for pizza. Looking at it from a business perspective, I understand why businesses would want to avoid having homeless people loitering around. However, it does seem selfish to turn the hungry away.

But like you were saying, Yangx467, I think the law that prevents establishments from giving their food away should be changed so that restaurants can donate their "perfectly good" food to shelters. If people are only able to access the food through food shelves/shelters, the liability issue could be contained within the shelter; there could be a waiver that all individuals who enter the shelter's building would be required to sign before they enter. The waiver would protect businesses from being sued. Also, restaurants would not have to worry about anyone hanging around to see if they could snag some free food at the end of the night.

Mccar353, as for what you said about restaurants saving time by simply throwing out the leftovers, I think there should be a system in place where someone from the shelters comes and picks up the leftover items at the end of the night. That way, it would not be so much of a hassle for restaurants, and they would therefore be more likely to donate.

Week 13 Blog

In her article, Flitcher discusses the relationship between food culture in the United States and food welfare programs. As an insight into the limited and unhealthy eating habits of food stamp recipients, she observes that, "despite what they learn about nutritional needs and smart shopping, low income people will continue to purchase convenience foods, snack foods, holiday foods, and status goods because they continue to classify first of all as Americans and only second as poor Americans" (395). This trend exacerbates one of the main issues that food welfare programs face today: poor eating habits/nutrition of recipients and the related negative public image. The reality of the public opinion of these programs has led to pressure from outside groups that would like to conform recipients to a certain type of diet. These external stresses are inherently at odds with the cultural norm (Americans pride themselves on choice--and the choice to be bigger and better) that poor Americans are already trying to meet by purchasing name-brands and spending more on unhealthy foods. That is the paradox of the system, and one that needs to be considered as solutions are considered.

 

I believe that hunger in American must consist of a comprehensive set of top-down and bottom-up tactics. From the government, there needs to be an increased funding of school breakfast and lunch programs to ensure that children are receiving the nutrients they need to be healthy and alert while learning. From the community level, there should be standards set for school cafeterias, something that can be accomplished through cooking classes for school chefs and local food. Here is an article from last September about this type of initiative from the New York Times: http://bit.ly/7OUnSz

 

I also think that there should be monetary incentives for families receiving government food assistance to use the subsidies on nutritious food choices. That program would need to be supported by education initiatives so that people know what is healthy, and how to cook with those ingredients.

 

There should also be government support of media literacy. Flitcher discusses how pleas from children are often the driving factor in parents feeding them high fat, low sugar snacks, and a drive to buy name-brand products. I think that awareness of advertising, especially advertising to children, will help families understand that a recognizable name does not mean that it's the best option, and it will hopefully help in mediating demands from children.

 

From the bottom-up, I believe that co-operative community gardens and grocery stores could do a lot of good in promoting healthy food to struggling families, while minimizing the amount of "food deserts" in the country. I think that soup kitchens and food pantries play a large role in supporting nutrition and food aid in this country, and those efforts should continue to grow.

 

Finally, I think that more comprehensive community health education can bring a lot of people a long way in helping groups become healthy and stay healthy. Telling one family to do something different (like buy generic, low-sugar, low-fat) isn't going to get the effort anywhere, but telling an entire community and having them work together would work.

Blog 13 Assignment

Yes, I personally think that we do need to change our food culture in order to address hunger.  Making healthier options more accessible to the poor could do this.  For example, it is a widespread notion that healthy foods like fresh produce and meat are more expensive making it less likely that the poor will be able to afford it.  Instead they are going to look towards the very processed, unhealthy options.  However, if food stamps were accepted at more farmer markets then the poor could eat healthier.  As a society, we have it in our heads that name brand food is "better" then generic.  When in fact, it is pretty much the same exact thing.  If we could steer away form that stereotypical idea that only poor people eat generic it would make it less hard on less well off families, especially the children.  Because as a child they see all these brand name foods on the TV and they wonder why they don't have it and it makes them feel bad about themselves because of it.

I am currently working on a journalism project that has to do with food borne illnesses, and the angle that I am going with is to shop more local because it is healthier.   My point is that farmer markets should become more advertised and more popular because they have very good benefits.  These include supporting local farmers and of course eating things that are healthier.  I think shopping at the local farmer market should be encouraged to do in public schools.  This would provide information about farmer markets to kids.  This would hopefully then encourage them to shop healthier as they get older.  I think the organization "Feeding America" is a successful program, especially in the last few years.  For example there is a Flip camcorder out that has hearts designed all over it.  Every camcorder that is purchased ten dollars is donated to Feeding America.  Even though that may not seem like a lot, it is currently the top selling design on their website.  I think this says that people want to give back and with programs that have things like this or have celebrities endorse them helps out a lot in the long run. 

P.S. I'm sorry this was late.  I was under the impression that it was due Thursday.  It was my misunderstanding and I apologize. 

Blog 13

We need to fundamentally change our food culture. Eating more 'slow' foods and taking more time to cook our meals would benefit all Americans. Fitchen writes that "poor people cling to and may even exaggerate dominant American food preferences" (395). Unlike wealthier people, however, they don't have the money to eat fast food and fruit. So changing our overall attitudes toward food would have a greater impact on the diets of poor people. But that is, of course, much easier said than done. Fundamental changes are usually long term, and we clearly need some solutions now.

 

I don't really know much about the food programs in our country. Maybe there could be some food stamp incentives for buying healthier foods, to make food stamps go farther in the produce section than the cereal aisle. There should probably be a shift in food subsidies as well. I know the government promotes the production of corn, which often becomes high fructose corn syrup that makes us obese. Subsidies for domestic production of fruits and vegetables could help bring the cost of these items down. And local is cheaper and better for the environment, just because of the decrease in transportation. So some sort of local foods program would benefit all of us as well.

 

Winne brings up the issue of access. The ideal solution to this problem would be affordable, high quality groceries everywhere. Perhaps a short term solution is providing bus passes or a ride service to low income families. Then at least the trip out to the big chain store wouldn't cost money, although it still costs time. Free bus passes would probably help in other ways, too. For example it might open up job opportunities farther from home.

Blog 13

One area that has not been addressed in class is poverty/hunger as it pertains to older people. We often forget about the elderly altogether and how their lives are impacted because much of our attention focuses on young, [single] women, children, and consequently men. Why are the elderly ignored? Is it because they do not have young children to care for or jobs to obtain? Are the elderly simply not in poverty? That doesn't seem likely, especially now that people are living longer and therefore have more years of life to provide for. In addition, more and more children/grandchildren are living with the elderly to save their own money, but where does that leave the grandparents? There seems to be an assumption that older people can survive on their own/off social security. I think there needs to be more dialogue around the elderly and poverty.

One solution to hunger could be to simply bring more awareness to the fact that we have given ranks to certain types of food, and associated certain brand names and types of food with the rich (beef steak) and generic brand names and types of food (processed American cheese) with the poor. If food was seen as food and there were no cultural/class implications, I think there would be less poverty because children would not beg for brand names, and adults would not feel obligated to buy the more expensive items. I realize that it would take a very long time for any kind of impact to be seen, but we need to start somewhere.

I don't know enough about existing food-assistance programs to determine what is or is not working, but another way to fight hunger could be to hold more public food-drive events. Every so often there will be an event where you can either donate a canned food item or give a dollar or two. I think that is a great way to get people involved and obtain food items, but I think it would be even better if maybe once per year, communities would hold a larger food drive, where perhaps there would be games and such that would cost a donation of some sort. On the other hand, I don't know if that would be effective.

A third hunger solution is to have a group of families take turns cooking large meals that can be frozen for each family. Ideally, there would be enough people involved (thirty families) where each family would only have to cook dinner once per month. Even if only fifteen families participated, each family would only have to cook two meals per month. Not only would this save families time and money, it would help build relationships and bring nutritious food into these communities.

Blog 13

There have always been families that dealt with hunger, and it has only recently come to my attention the major discourse that is the American food culture. Winne talks about how supermarkets move to richer neighborhoods in order to make more money. This seems strange to me because food is an everyday commodity that people need to survive, and rich people are not the only ones who need supermarkets. There is a major discourse when talking about food prices; why are the most unhealthy foods also the cheapest ones? as Fitchen points out, there is not only a hunger problem, but a nutrition problem. As far as I know, there is no program implemented to make healthier foods more available to the poor, but there really should be. Fitchen also points out that food is an individual preference, but when money is taken into account, poorer families simply cannot afford the luxury of fruits and vegetables.
While foodstamps and other government programs like that to help the poor obtain food are a wonderful idea, why are people still going hungry? Mark Winne point about supermarket availability should be adressed. If there are no supermarkets to use the foodstamps in, then they were completely useless. Even though there are programs that try to eliminate hunger in the United States, there needs to be much more done to fix the root of the problem.

Blog 13-Food&Poverty

For as long as poverty, hunger and malnourishment have been problems attempts to fix these problems have been in effect. Food stamps, soup kitchens, and various other programs have been installed with hopes of helping and feeding these hungry people. Unfortunately, these programs are not fixing the hunger problem. According to Fitchen,

"the poor are less well fed now not only because of reduced purchasing power ... but also because fewer of them are currently receiving government food assistance and those who do get assistance are receiving less of it" (387, course pkt. 399).

This is a huge problem! More people are going hungry because of less purchasing power and government assistance is unable to satisfy their basic nutrient and caloric needs. Also, high in cost but low in nutritional value foods are being bought with these food stamps. This is leading to more hunger and malnutrition.

Although this may be obvious, I really think there needs to be a greater push for purchasing locally grown food. People are able to buy fresh food and produce, sometimes in bulk, at lower prices. Not only would this help poor people buy food and support local farmers/food producers, but their caloric/nutritious needs will be met as well. I definitely think the government needs to re-think their food-help programs. Obviously food stamps help, but I think a new assessment of what families REALLY need. If they need $10 extra dollars to afford the fruits and veggies needed for their family, this can really benefit. Not only will people be fed, and healthily, but problems like diabetes and obesity will decline if people are able to afford HEALTHY foods. I also think there is a huge problem with food waste... I believe people have a duty to think of others who are not as fortunate and either save food, or compost old food- maybe this will increase community gardens where local places can donate seeds for people to grow their own food.

Blog #13

People who are poor or are of lower-class have access to food that is not healthy for them because of the prices, limited resources, and location. They deal with a great amount of stress just trying to provide enough food for their family and more of those populations are minorities. They purchase foods that aren't healthy such as "frozen pizza, potato chips, soda pop, prepared desserts, and sometimes a beef stick." Another thing is that low-income people don't really have the money to afford expensive food that are healthy and they tend to buy food that are shown in commercials on T.V. Poverty also plays a role in what kind of foods that can be purchased by people because it "affects the amount of food that poor people can obtain for their money or their food stamp." If they are limited to a certain amount of money then they are also limited to a certain amount of food. People who live in a certain neighborhood will have access to different food than those of another and they might have to go miles to buy food that is not offered at their store. If parents are not able to give food to their children, their children can become malnourished, they starve or become unhealthy and other consequences of not eating healthy or having any food.

I think that our food culture does need to be changed, at least the price or types of food offered to anyone. Food should be equally distributed and be affordable for those who need it. There are programs and people who are helping eliminate hunger throughout the world and one of them is Feed My Starving Children that helps pack healthy food to ship out to over 60 countries. I helped volunteer once for this organization and there are also other organizations which I think has decreased starvation by a few percentages. It would eliminate problems of hunger for those who are starving, but also for them to be able to afford healthy food.

Blog 13

We do need to change our food culture in order to address hunger base upon Fiction's article because buying certain food that create obesity and health concerns to the children is not good for  their health. Just because the children want to eat certain food, it is unnecessary to buy food that does not nourish their body. I have younger siblings and my mom always buy snacks for them to eat. The outcome of continuously eating the snacks caused them to have cavity and being picky eaters. However, since my mom was using her money to feed 11 people, she usually bought cheap food and snacks. The grocery store that my mom buys food whenever she is low in money would be at Aldis and So Low. It is true that both store is very cheap regarding price, but the quality of the food is not good from what I've experience. Aldis have food that is similar to other brand food, such as having similar cheese cheetos chip, but different brand name and price. So Low have food that either are expire or comes from other grocery that care sold in lower price. I know that the cheaper the food price is, the better it is for low income families. However, I do not think that it is healthy for parents to buy food from those groceries with expire food and bad quality, rather buy food from other grocery store that has fresh and new food out in the floor.

To include food stamps and EBT card, parents can take advantage of buying any food they like, and it is most likely for them to buy unhealthy food.  I think the government should at least give parents a list of food that are acceptable to for them to buy, relatively letting them use the money to buy food that is not healthy. If parents are unable to provide food for their children, the food money given by the government to the parents should have a regulation of what food to purchase. It is of course money to help children receive nourishing food, not just unpleasant food.

Such programs that I think will help address hunger in a healthier way would be to have grocery stores that contain healthy food, but cheaper. Having fake and unhealthy food is not going to help children receive the right amount of nourishment to grow. Such grocery stores should me located in areas where there are families with low income because they are families who either use food stamps or EBT cards, and parents who do not make enough to feed their family. Affordable and healthy food is best for children to gain such sustenance, other than eating junk food from the corner store or unhealthy snacks.

Also, there should be something said about leftovers because it is one of the things that are being waste in America. I grew up in a family where we eat what is in our plate. No leftovers or any food being thrown in the garbage unless it is necessary. Whatever is in our plate, we have to eat it and not waste it. I sometimes go over to other people's place and they waste a lot of their food just because they couldn't finish it. I think it's a waste to waste food because money is spend to buy those food, and finding money to buy the food can to very difficult for other family. Me and my friend would joke about not wasting food and think about children in Africa because we are fortunate to have food to eat, but for them, they don't have access to good food. Although it is good to save food and put it away for the next day, however, it's not a good thing to waste such good food that could have been eaten by other people who really need to be feed.

Blog 13

From these articles on hunger and malnutrition and our previous articles on welfare, there seem to be a lot of self-sustaining cycles that occur within both paradigms. To me it seems that the only way to go about combating such cycles is to change them entirely. 

I had never thought about the lack of supermarkets within more poverty-stricken neighborhoods, especially within cities. It seemed to me that it was a symptom of city life, and not of poverty. However, it's clear that there are places such as Lund's available to the more affluent city-dwellers. 

While I think foodstuffs, food pantries and food stamps are admirable efforts to offer a solution to the hunger problem, I think Mark Winne's perspective on supermarkets is a different avenue that should be explored more. In my hometown, I worked as a supermarket cashier and would occasionally deal with food stamps. It never occurred to me that it was because we lived in an affluent town that these families had access to so many different grocery store chains. It would be an arduous project to implement supermarket-style grocery stores in densely populated urban neighborhoods, but well worth the effort.

Winne talks of supermarkets moving to rich, suburban areas, but I can't help but think that if they put themselves in a densely populated area, one that lacked a supermarket at all, the business would do well. It would attract the surrounding population as a place to get cheaper groceries and as a nearby place to use their food stamps. It would reduce the likelihood of poorer families turning to cheap fast food as a way to satiate their hunger.

However, within supermarkets themselves, there is always the issue of the price of food itself. While groceries are cheaper at big supermarket chains, the healthier foods, of which people need more, are oftentimes the most expensive items. Particularly fruits and vegetables. I don't know of any programs in place that deal with this problem, but I would support some sort of program that offers fruits and vegetables at seriously reduced costs for poorer families. This could come in the form of community gardens, or local farms donating more vegetables and fruits to inner-city supermarkets. But, as Fitchen points out, it's not just a hunger problem; there are also severe nutrition issues at stake.

Blog 13

After reading the articles many can see how we need a change in our food culture. We need to change the way we sell and market foods. The food market is mostly affecting class because of the prices and accessibility. Many of the less nutritious foods are a lot cheaper than the fresh fruits and vegetables. Also organic, healthy, and fresh choice foods are sometimes harder to get selling them at only some grocery stores and are found to be a lot more spendy. The location of where one lives could influence this on going problem that our culture faces. Sometimes the convince of fast food the only option because they do not have time or it is the only thing available hear there home. Also different races are custom to different types of food that can be less healthy.  We need to make healthier foods more affordable to everyone no matter of their race, class or location. 

week 13 blog

After reading today's article it became very apparent to me that we need to change the way we access food and the price of it in America.  We have large chain "super" grocery stores which provide people with vast aisles of cheap processed foods.  Theres also an abundance of fast food chains in America that have such things as "dollar and value" menus that provide people with extreamely cheap and easy food.  Since all this food is cheap it restricts poor people to only being able to afford the unhealthy, easy to prepare and store foods.  These people do not have access to the large markets of fresh organic produce and fresh meats that many afluent people enjoy.  They're stuck with what stores are nearby the poor neighborhoods and what they can afford.  These people who cannot afford the foods of higher nutritional value end up suffering the health consequences of unhealthy foods such as obesity, diabetes, and developmental issues in children.  "A child that grows up in a poor family that is exposed to this food is likely to grow up and repeat the cycle: hungry because poor, and poor because hungry" says Fitchen.  People that grow up poor with only access to cheap unhealthy foods suffer the consequences throughout their lives and pass it on to further generations. 

Fitchen later discusses that most people claim that food selections are "purely a matter of indvidual preference"  people essentially chose what they want to purchase and eat.  This treats empoverished people as if their purchase of unhealthy food is a choice they freely made, and the health consequences they suffer are reactions to that choice.  But how are these people supposed to chose to eat healthy foods when these exact foods cannot be afforded?  I think that American really needs to work on changing how healthy foods can be accessed and afforded by all of it's citizens.  We can only benefit as a society by having healthy people, so there is no reason to keep subjecting poor people to these unhealthy conditions.  I think that there should be incentives with food stamps for those people that choose to buy produce and meats.  I also think that we should support American farmer's and the government should provide more assistance to them and incentives to keep their prices low so that everyone can afford to eat their produce.  I also think that instead of having large chain grovery stores we need to have more markets where people can go and buy fresh food coming directly from farmers who are selling their products directly.  I think encouring these types of changes in the way Americans have access to food will help our society in general as everyone will benefit from being healthier.    

Week 13 blog

Hunger in America exists because Americans tolerate it and are misinformed about poverty and hunger.  It is a solvable solution.  We produce plenty of food, enough to feed everyone.  But where the problem lies is how it is distributed.  For example, just think of how expensive produce and meat are compared to food from McDonald's.  Healthy, necessary food is expensive, unhealthy food is cheap.  Therefore, unhealthy, inexpensive food is more accessible to people in poverty because they can afford it more than buying produce and meat from the supermarket.   To address this problem, healthy food needs to be less expensive and more accessible.   Yes, soup kitchen, food banks, some church programs, and other emergency food programs help with providing some aid, but there are not enough programs that help fight the distribution problem.  Therefore the problem will still exist if the whole country isn't aware of the problem.    

 

I believe Fitchen said it perfectly "...the focus of American public attention on "Third World Hunger" and the enthusiasm for mass media events to raise money for famine relief divert attention from hunger and malnutrition at home."  When I tried to research "hunger in America", all that came up for hits was "third world hunger".  It's like Americans don't want to believe people in this country are starving and malnourished because the lack of distribution of food. Also it's interesting to think about the people that are at the most risk for hunger and malnourishment.  "Within the national figures, those population groups, geographic regions, and age ranges most likely to fall below the poverty line (such as Blacks, Hispanics, Indians, members of household headed by women, and children) are also most at risk for being hungry and malnourished," said Fitchen.  If the majority of people living at or below the poverty line are minorities, couldn't it be said that food is "dysfunctional" across classes, races, gender, and age?

Week 13 Blog

Hunger is an enormous issue but I think that if every person made a bit of an effort to help, a huge impact would be made. Thanksgiving morning, my dad volunteered with a few of his colleagues and served food to the homeless. My dad explained that these people had absolutely nothing. No place to live, nothing to eat and stuck out in the cold of Minnesota. If everyone volunteered like this once a month or even once every couple months and made donations at the same time, a huge difference in hunger could be made.

 

This weekend I saw the movie Blind Side. The father in the movie owned almost 100 locations of Taco Bells and Kentucky Fried Chickens. The little boy in the movie asked his dad what happens to the food that is leftover at the end of the day in his restaurants and the father explained that is simply thrown out. Fitchen and Winne discuss the failure of current institutions to solve the problem of hunger in the U.S. Throwing all this food away seem so wasteful and it could be put to good use in helping solve the hunger problem. These institutions are turning their heads from the problem and taking the easy route by just dumping the food rather than finding a way to save it and make a difference. I hope that work will be done to make progress on this wasteful issue.

Blog #13

When I  read the prompt for this weeks blog post, I immediately thought of something I had read in a copy of National Geographic Magazine while sitting in a waiting room over Thanksgiving break. In the article, they were looking at Africa's hunger problem, but I think the statement they made is applicable to the United States as well. The article states that thirty-something percent of the world's grains go to feed livestock, not people. I found this very interesting. I'm not a vegetarian by any means, but it is interesting to me that so much of what is grown on our planet that could go to ending hunger is instead spent on feeding animals that are killed to feed the "rich" or "middle class".  Fitchen specifically mentions in her article that sometimes people on food stamps are seen buying beef steak in order to "convert their perceived hunger into a sense of well-being or to affirm that they can live like other Americans." How very interesting. Studies have shown that while humans do need amounts of protein, that protein does not have to come from meat to be healthy. http://willtaft.com/sustainability/how-much-meat-do-we-eat/ To me this seems to be a real shame that so many are going hungry when we have a fairly simple solution here. I'm not suggesting cutting meat out of the world's diet completely, but maybe we should cut back and focus on getting the grains to those who are desperate for a meal.

My second thought is to revamp the way the United States does it's food assistance programs. The "commodity distribution program" that Fitchen discusses in her article seems to me to be a more effective way of distributing food to those who need it.  The program still exists today (http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/programs/tefap/) although not in the same form as it did post WWII. What I found interesting about this was that when I went looking around the website, I found several references to the program being "emergency" meaning that only in emergency like cases of malnutrition would the program become available. We should be stopping the problem before it starts. My grandparents were on the program their entire lives. They were poor and I remember seeing government issued cheese and powdered milk for as long as I can remember. I don't think there is anything wrong with the government giving assistance by deciding what people should eat. Some might bring up the freedom of choice as a right we have as Americans, but I say that if you are so poor you have no food, it shouldn't matter what you receive. If the government made food stamps only apply to fruits, vegetables, and other basic staples and then made commodity food available to everyone, I think that malnutrition in the nation's poor would subside dramatically.

http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=4&tax_level=2&tax_subject=276&topic_id=1340

This document tells the history of the Commodity Assistance Program:

http://www.fns.usda.gov/FDD/aboutfd/fd_history.pdf

Week 13 Blog Assignment

I believe that, in a sense, we would have to fundamentally change our food culture to address hunger effectively.  Nutritious food is a luxury that belongs to those who can afford it.  There is always this talk about how poor people should just get the basics and that is it and anything else is being irresponsible, but one cannot maintain an adequate diet for themselves or their family with just bread, cheese, pasta, and condiments.  Like Fitchen said in her article, "For all poor people, the constraints of having to feed a family on an inadequate budget are exacerbated by the fact that hunger is cognitive as well as metabolic."  We aren't always just hungry for bread and potatoes and sometimes we want, and our minds NEED to eat something that we are actually hunger for, not just a necessity.

 

In regards to food distribution and food subsidies, I think that reform would be a good idea, but I don't think it would last long term.  It is sad reading about people who at the end of the month have to serve Boston fried potatoes to their children for dinner three nights in a row because they don't have enough money to serve something better and the kids need to eat, so potatoes suffice.  This is a system that needs to change, I just think that innovations to food distribution programs and food subsidies would just be a temporary fix to addressing hunger and, given the general population's view on food as well as what the poor should be eating, I do not think that it would last long because it would be seen as another "give away" to the poor, which just perpetuates our system of poverty and inequality in the first place. 

 

I think that having readily available supermarkets would be a much better way to address hunger.  Most super markets offer a wider variety of food (including various off brands of luxury food) as well as more nutritious options for a lower price.  The problem with this though it that, as covered in Winne's piece, the "retail food industry" goes where they can make the most money, which most certainly is not in poor inner-city communities.  Maybe if some sort of complimentary community transportation were available for low-income families who don't live near super markets.  This way, the supermarkets wouldn't have to relocate to locations that would not be best for their business interests and the low-income community members would have access to the supermarket a couple times a month.

Week 13

After reading the two articles, I think that it is really necessary to change the American food culture. The two article suggests the dysfunctional food culture. People purchase food to satisfy their want but not their real "need". Also, there is not enough access to food and the current institutions has failed to solve the problem of hunger in the U.S for a few decades already. Unhealthy food caused obesity. It is worth look at hunger and obesity in the American because these two extreme ideas are contradictory in one rich country (USA).

 

I think we would need to fundamentally change our food culture in order to address hunger. I remember that I had a volunteer to make food for the homeless people. The food that we made was fresh and healthy, but the person in charge told us that they rarely have a proper meal because they cannot afford it and the homeless people don't even care about the food quality at all. I don't think we can do anything to help the situation but to help to give them fresh food like fresh sandwich and fruit sometimes. However, it all need huge amount of government fund or charity donation.

 

Some people purchase instant low nutrient food because those foods are comparatively much cheaper and affordable for the low income people. The low income people do not concern about the quality but the quantity of food. I think government subsidy is a good way to lower the healthy food price for the low income people. Also, I think the middle and higher class people have enough education and awareness on healthy food, they pursue a healthy life style no matter how expensive the healthy food are because they understand the cost of having unhealthy food.

 

One alternative is education from young age. School should introduce a lunch system that consists of healthy food only and gradually when the kids grow up, hopefully they will take up the same eating habit in school. By indoctrinating the little one that healthy food brings good life would be better than just force them to purchase and consumer food that they don't like.

 

However, I think the best way is to change the "American food". The fast and low nutritious food, like McDonal, Burger King has been symbolized to be a kind of food that people normally have for meal. People think that it is fine to have a meal of "American food" because this is part of their culture. However, if we change the food culture, things might have a chance to lower the abusive intake of unhealthy food of the American because there will not be any social tolerance that eating unhealthy "American food" is fine.

blog 13

Because food is such an intense part of our culture--particularly social and status culture--food culture would probably have to significantly change in order to do anything substantial regarding American hunger.  If there was more of a national emphasis on simple, healthy food, then maybe lower-income parents wouldn't feel pressured to buy expensive, non-nutritious brand-name junk food, for example.  But that's exactly where the problem lies, the social pressure to have "good" food. 

 

I myself can remember being jealous of the kids at school who had the brand-name desserts during lunch, when I was left with apple slices. This pressure still continues to this day, as sometimes I will go have sushi with a friend when I really should be on a Ramen budget. 

 

But ultimately, something beyond just public policy or government intervention must be done, simply because the government only has so much money, and there will never be consensus on how to spend it--for preventing hunger or otherwise. Furthermore, how often do politicians say that they will do something about ending hunger for good and then nothing comes of it.  Does Nixon's quote of putting "an end to hunger in America for all time" ring a bell? (Fitchen 386).  That was thirty years ago...and hunger is still a pressing issue.

 

However, there are food distribution programs that do work.  But it is more niche-based.  For example, Meals on Wheels is a great program that helps many people everyday, but it primarily helps those who are sick and/or elderly.

 

Sometimes, I feel that the more informal food distribution groups are the most effective, because people feel more compelled to "donate" or "provide" when they have a personal connection to those in need.  I have a personal example that I think resonates quite well.  Five years ago, when my brother was diagnosed with cancer, friends, family, and people we didn't even know donated food to my family so that my brothers and sisters and I would be well-provided for as my parents were constantly at the hospital tending to my brother.  Additionally, my father was unemployed at this time, so this time which made this generosity even more useful and appreciated.  If people everywhere donated as much as these acquaintances and strangers did to my family, or at least donated some element be it time, resource, or talent towards ending hunger, I am convinced that things would be a lot different now.  But people don't usually feel motivated to contribute or change their ways unless it affects them personally (and also positively) in some shape or form. 

Blog Post 13

I personally think there needs to be a change in our food cultural We all know food is a necessity to live, but society and different cultures make food a fasciations and even obsession at times.   Foods and consuming food can also be seen as leisure activity or hobby which creates the idea of appealing or pleasing foods to be consumed more frequently than the actual necessary food to be healthy.  This creates a mindset as Fitchen "they choose what to eat, when and how often to eat, in what order and with whom"(394).  Our food culture really revolves around pleasing ourselves and looking right past the actual need we have for food as well as the need others have for food that sometimes can't be satisfied.

                Race and class play an intersecting role in the food we eat because a lot of races tend to have similar food patterns. Races also tend to live in similar areas subjecting them to using the same stores and restaurants, resulting in them consuming the same food.  Lower income families usually eat the easy accessible foods that are the cheapest and most pleasing a lot of the time. "Contemporary food preferences that lean towards finger foods, fun foods, snack foods, and convenient foods" (394). Its normal to consume the cheapest, fastest good tasting food in our American culture.

                If our food culture were to be changed to see food as a compliment to a healthy life I think this will help change the way address hunger.  Changing the foods that are advertised and how food is looked at will change how it's consumed. If food is consumed differently it can be distributed differently and then I think hunger can be taken on by a different approach.  Another aspect of this is to begin to look at people differently. We associate the types of food people eat with their social class. Lower class people eat the worse or cheapest food, while upper class people eat the best types of food. If the class distinction is eliminate it will create the opportunity for everyone to have the opportunity to all types of foods. This will then translate over into the prices of foods and having the food market make prices accessible to everyone no matter what the food is.

Blog 13

I think that America does not necessarily need to alter it's food culture. I think that innovations and specific programs would be enough to deal with hunger and malnutrition. Winne brings up the fact that poor people in the inner city pay more for their food and also pay for a product that is lower quality. The cheaper, healthier foods are located in the suburbs and if residents of the inner city want to shop there, they have to spend even more money for transportation. It was brought up in the article that supermarkets are located in places that retailers believe they can make the most money in. It was cited in the article, that "those are not the places that are heavily populated by low-income African American and Hispanic households." So in other words, hunger is specific to low income minority groups living in the inner city, according to Winne's article. Now, I do not believe that the whole food culture needs to change. I think that a simple suggestion to the problem of the discrepancies in food distribution would be to build stores similar to supermarkets in the inner city. There might not be a lot of room for a supermarket store in the inner city, but stores could be built in the inner city that have characteristics of supermarkets. Fresh produce and high quality foods could be brought into the store. Retailers could afford to provide this food with government tax cuts or assistance. If this were possible people of all classes and races could have the same access to food regardless of their location.

In Fitchen's article it is brought up that people in "specific groups who are at high risk for malnutrition now get less assistance than previously." One of the contributing factors to malnutrition is the choices in food that people eat. Low income people chose starchy, sugary foods because they are cheap and cannot afford to buy healthy foods with the right nutrients in them. If poor dietary choices are made, along with less assistance by the government, we should expect hunger and malnutrition to persist. A way to help this problem would be to give farmers benefits for producing produce at a lower price, making it more financially accessible to low income families. Since healthy foods are almost always more expensive than sugary snacks, the trend could be reversed by making healthy foods more affordable-- and thus giving people more nutrients.

One program that I believe addresses malnutrition is WIC. Even though it only allows assistance to children 5 and under, it has some good ideas. There is a list of WIC eligible foods that mothers can purchase and specific guidelines. For example, one of the food items that a mother can purchase is cereal. There are specific requirements as to what type of cereal one can buy. It has to have 51% whole grains, meet regulatory definitions for low saturated fat, and have 28 milligrams of Iron per 100 grams of dry cereal. I think that WIC is a step in the right direction because it monitors the foods that mothers are buying, and prohibits sugary foods that contribute to malnutrition. (http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/benefitsandservices/foodpkgregs.HTM)

Blog #13: Access to Food

I think many Americans, not just the poor, have an unhealthy relationship with food, and that in this sense we do need a fundamental change in our food culture. However, I believe changes in policy can address many problems of hunger and malnutrition in the United States.  One important point made by Fitchen is the periodicity in food consumption by low-income families. It seems a simple solution to this would be increasing the distribution frequency of food stamps. This would help eliminate the end of the month lull, and may reduce (or at least spread out) the number of days people are going with minimal amounts of food. Winne discusses physical access to food, rather than financial access. Policy may be able to provide a solution to these food deserts, and could include tax incentives in underserved areas, and/or urban and rural planning initiatives that require a food store within a certain distance from all residences based on population density. While these types of policy are not likely to eliminate the problem for all people, it would significantly reduce the number of people lacking access to supermarkets.

 

 

Both Winne and Fitchen discuss access to healthy foods and the price difference between these foods and less healthy, but more affordable unhealthy foods. The United States has a long history of farm subsidies; one way to make healthier foods more accessible to families could be through subsidies to organic farmers to keep their costs, and thus end prices, more comparable to non-organic foods. However, as Fitchen points out, many families living below the poverty line are likely to purchase snack foods for reasons other than costs (i.e.; wants versus needs). These issues are more difficult to address with policy and require a change in behaviors, beliefs, and consumption patterns. While not impossible, the results of initiatives aimed at changing human thoughts and behaviors are likely to have a less predictable result. However, Fitchen's wants versus need dilemma may be solved by the policy change suggested above of increasing the frequency of food stamp distribution, because if becomes less scarce, the need to make up for it with snacks and sweets may be diminished, at least to some degree. It seems to me that the bigger problem in addressing hunger and malnutrition in the United States is addressing the ways that people, especially those in power, view poverty and welfare programs. After all, these people have the ability to implement policies that could change food accessibility for poorer families.

Blog 13 Assignment

After the reading the articles for this week, I came to the conclusion that our country definitely needs to change the way we price, sell and market food.  Fitchen and Winne both described how hunger affects different classes and contributes to insufficient access of food.  Food culture is dysfunctional across classes because of the price of food.  Unfortunately, food that is less nutritious is priced much lower than food that is healthy.  I think if most people walked through a Whole Foods they would find organic food, that is less in sugar and starch, much more appealing than frozen junk food.  However, the problem is only a small percent of the population can afford to spend money on organic, fresh-grown foods.  A lot of unhealthy food, especially fast-food, is extremely cheap.  Low-income families do not really have a choice when choosing a restaurant.  They most likely will choose McDonalds, Burger Kind or Taco Bell because they can get full meals for only a few dollars.  This is definitely an epidemic and leads to obesity.  Obesity in America is a real problem.

Not only does class affect food culture, so does location, age, and race.  People choose to eat what is cheap and available and in many small towns there are only a few restaurants which are often fast food.  Age affects food culture because as most of us know the younger we are the less money we have, a.k.a. starving college students.  Personally, when I am shopping for food, I do not read the nutritional labels I look at the price.  Of course I am going to buy the cheaper items, which almost always tend to be less healthy, then the organic items.  Like the ideas from Tisdale and LeBesco's articles, different races and ethnicities view food differently.  Many cultural diets are less healthy than others.  For example, fried foods are obviously less healthy then fresh rice and vegetables.  There is definitely different health issues for different ethnicities that directly relate to what one consumes.  These issues include diabetes, heart problems and obesity.

The issue of hunger, the way we view food and obesity are all issues that will continue to hurt us until we solve them.  First, I think we need to have more access to healthy, organic foods and for that to happen they need to be more affordable.  We also need to support America's farmers and continue to buy fresh produce, especially fruits and vegetables.  We need to continue to teach our kids the importance of fruits and vegetables in our daily diets.  We also need to stop the fast-food epidemic and rally to make fast-food healthier.  We also need to encourage exercise and healthy lifestyles.  

blog 13

There is an obvious intersectional relationship between race, class, gender, age, and location when looking at hunger issues and food culture in America.  A term that Mark Winne used was food deserts, places that provide few healthy and affordable food choices, these places are often fast food joints that offer over-saturated and unhealthy food options. Mark Winne states that "People who live in or near food deserts tend to be poorer and have fewer healthy food options, which in turn contributes to their high overweight/obesity rates, and diet related illnesses such as diabetes"  this shows a direct correlation between class, location, and food culture.

To address the Issue of hunger I think there needs to be numerous changes made. In my opinion many Americans see food as a comfort and not a necessity.  I still remember coming home from school and telling my mom I was starving and when she  would offer to make me some soup or a sandwich, I would respond by getting upset and telling her that I didn't want that, she would tell me I wasn't starving then. I think we need to change the way we view food, as well as make some vital changes to our food assistance programs.

An article I found online from Hew Hampshire Public Radio talked about the USDA's dietary guidelines and how low income families are not capable of fallowing them, "Our data shows that it costs close to $8 a day to eat according to this menu and yet the food stamp average allotment for an individual is about $2.75 a day to eat so you could eat about two and a half days on this My Pyramid menu before you run out of food stamps if you followed the plan" (NHPR).

Another program that I think needs to be changes is the national school lunch program. It offers low priced or even free lunches to children in public schools and residential childcare institutions. Although there are guidelines that the food must fallow, the food being provided is often highly processed, pre-cooked, and frozen. Another issue with this program is that it is exclusively in public schools, which is also a direct example of how location, class, gender all have an impact on the foods you eat.

Something that has recently changes since food stamps have become paperless is the ability to use food stamps at farmers markets. I think that this is a very important advancement since this helps support local farmers while also providing healthy and affordable food options to low income families. Although this hasn't been incorporated into all farmer's markets across the U.S. I think that it is something USDA should strive to accomplish.  

I  think with numerous changes to the way society views food, and the way our government supplies food to low income families, we can change our food culture in America to make it a more positive aspect in our daily lives.

Blog 13

This week readings left an unsettling feeling in my stomach. The one that touched me the most was the article written by Fitchen in which it was discussed that throughout the American culture, people buy foods according to wants versus needs even when they are in a financial dilemma. The parents feel as though they need to pacify their children by making up for their financial issues, this leads to child obesity and malnutrition across the board and needs to be changed. Another issue that was brought up through the readings was that food that is good for people is a lot more expensive than food high in calories and preservatives.

This is something that I have looked at while going through the local grocery stores. I have noticed that things deemed as being "organic" are way more expensive than "regular" foods, but these organic foods are supposed to be a lot healthier for you. I see this as something that is a catch 22 because you pay less for things that have more things in them versus paying more for things that are supposed to be natural, without additives. I think that a way in which we can change our food culture in order to address hunger would be to reverse this price difference, by making the organic foods less expensive which would make them more readily available to the people with lower levels of income.

One more solution would be to push people to buy more local, fresh produce in order to stimulate the local farmers and local little economies. This would help the national problem by taking smaller, easier steps to work up to the larger bigger problems. I know that we have farmers markets and that sort of thing, but they are only available in certain areas and at certain times during the year. So, I think that we need to push to have this type of local market in more areas that have higher poverty levels, as to promote healthier-readily available produce and have them year round. I know that this would be hard, considering we have four seasons that limit that growing seasons, but there are alternative to such environmental issues. We have the technology and the means to make indoor greenhouses that could operate year round to support the local demands, we just need to push to establish one.  

Another solution that we have discussed briefly in class that would help out the malnutrition in our economy would be to give food stamps to college students. It is a system that I think helps people throughout America quite effectively, but in order for them to become more affective, I think that we need to make them more available to people that are pushing to benefit themselves but need the extra help to do so. I think that most college students are in a different class than the lower classes that were discussed in the article, but we face those same issues. I know that I would much rather go to Burger King and buy a dollar burger than go to the grocery store and spend more to make my own burger. This is due to the cost and availability of the food at the fast food restaurant versus the healthier alternative at the grocery store. I think that by making food stamps available, it would stimulate a better lifestyle and way of eating through the college years in order to carry them over to the parent and married years to follow.

Overall, I think that there are many issues with the American food culture and in order to change it as a whole, we have to start little. By doing this we would be able to stimulate the little, local, economies and better our everyday diets; therefore, lifestyles for us and for the generations to come.

Week 13 Blog

After reading this week's articles, Fitchen discussed how many people below the poverty line are malnourished and hungry. Families often can only afford the more inexpensive foods, such as the starches and sugars and not the healthier and nourishing foods such as fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, the foods that are nutritious and encourage a healthy lifestyle are more expensive and thus often considered by even families of higher class to be beyond one's budget.  As more and more families have to stretch their limited incomes to pay for rent, heating, electricity, transportation and other basic essentials for daily living, what remains in the paycheck to provide food for their families are increasingly shrinking.  More head-of-households, regardless of gender or race, are turning to government assistance to provide basic food items for their families. And yet, even with available assistance, the funds for food run short and many children go hungry.

In addition to this week's articles, I was reading an article in Saturday, November 28, 2009 Lincoln Journal Star about the Food Stamps program. The article references a recent USDA hunger report in which more than one in seven American households lack food security in 2008 or in other words, almost 15% of all households in the country struggle to get enough to eat. What is unfortunate, according to the article is that there are many families who need food stamps but do not get them. Similar to the Fitchen's article, the USDA report, which was referenced in the Lincoln Journal Star paper, stated that children in the US who face a substantial risk for poverty also face substantial risk to their health and well being since many do not get adequate nutrition.

This summer, I worked for an engineering firm in Lincoln, Nebraska. One of the community programs that employees willingly and unselfishly participated in was the Community Food Bank Food Drive. While the Food Bank Food Drive is a common program in many communities, providing food for families who are in need to provide for their families, what was unique about this particular food drive was that this food drive was focused on kids.  In cooperation with the Lincoln Public School system, the Community Food Bank had initiated a program called the "back-pack program." This program provides children whose households financially qualify (in other words are below the poverty line) with food for the two days they are home over the weekend. These children qualify for "free meals" at school, ensuring the child receives a healthy breakfast and lunch during the school week. However, many of the kids live in households where food is scarce so often go with minimal nourishment during the weekend.  Each Friday, qualifying children receive a backpack that is filled with food for the weekend.  The backpacks are filled with non-perishable foods such as cups of fruit cocktail, applesauce, fruit juice boxes, crackers and peanut butter, etc.  This program provides a much needed service to children regardless of race or gender.  People across the community, regardless of race, gender, or class participate in the program by providing the Food Bank with the necessary food or funds to fill the children's backpacks each weekend.

I find this program to be a very worthwhile program and one that I was glad I could participate in over the summer. This program should be considered and implemented in communities across the country. I found this program to be innovative and a program that has a direct impact on our country's children. I recognize that the food "back-pack" program will not solve this country's hunger crisis. However, acknowledgement that there are children going hungry in our country every day by promoting a program similar to this is a start in the right direction. This program allows people regardless of race, class, gender to participate in an effort for a worthwhile cause - the care of children across our country.

I believe that our culture needs to fundamentally change not only the way we address hunger in America but also how we view the problem. Reports produced by the USDA for example (according to the Lincoln Journal Star, November 28, 2009) reveal that almost half of all U.S. kids will be on food stamps sometime during their childhood.  That is so very sad given the United States is the "land of opportunity" and the "land of plenty."  In addition, it is hard to believe that so many children are in need of food stamp assistance especially when there is an obesity crisis among the youth of today. There is a great need to change the fundamentally thinking of hunger in America today and in particular what is truly needed for our youth today.  Education of proper nourishment of our youth is vital to the fundamental change in the thinking of the hunger crisis. Programs, such as the "back-pack" program is one example where so many people can be educated to the crisis at hand across the country.

Week 13 Blog

After doing the readings for this week I think that we definitely need to change our food culture. In the Fitchen article there is a lot of evidence that people who need help with food often buy foods that will satisfy wants instead of needs. For instance an adult will give into what a child wants to eat when they have the money to pay for it instead of purchasing foods with higher nutritional values. Also, produce is much more expensive than prepackaged food, therefore people with less money will not be able to purchase healthier produce. This will lead to a downward spiral of health issues for entire families. Another problem, discussed by Winne, is the availability of food. The best grocery stores are often located in wealthier neighborhoods and stores in the inner city are hard to get to.

I think that the first step is to promote healthier foods and create more federal regulation on what types of food is purchased with food stamps. Most of the food bought are items that are nonparishable and unhealthy. The government could give some sort of credit to stores to lower prices on fresh produce and purchase more of it. This would make it more affordable for people to purchase it. Another way to make it easier for people to get healthier food is to put more stores in the inner cities. This will also bring jobs to the cities.

Blog 13

A change in our food culture is definitely in need in order to address the issue of poverty in America and it is easier said than done. I remember just last semester in my biology class we had talked about our "ecological footprint" on the world.  With my test result, I found out that if everyone were to live my lifestyle, it would require 5 earths to support the human population alone. Contributing factors did include what kinds of food I ate. (You can all take this test at www.myfootprint.org, it's really interesting!). We then talked about food consumption in the United States and how Americans are very fond of their meats. The Gross Primary Production in science is widely accepted. In a nut shell we have the primary producers (autotrophs, plants) who capture energy for us, then there are the heterotrophs (herbivores, carnivores, omnivores) that consume the primary producers, and each other. So through the food chain energy is consumed. Primary producers have the most energy, as cow consumes the grass, only 10% of that energy is transferred to the cow and 90% of that energy from the plant is lost, once we humans consume the steak, we only get 10% of that 10% from the cow. It's a minimal amount of energy, and so some scientists have argued that if we all consume more plants rather than animals, and produce those in excess, we would be able to stop hunger for the world. But that would mean we as American would have to give up meat, and I really don't think that could be done as easily because of popular culture and its thoughts on consumption. But this is just one example that science has suggested in stopping hunger for the world.

Living in a capitalistic economy makes things more difficult. As Winne used in his article "chains usually build stores in places where the profit-making potential is the greatest" (87) and that would be in the suburbs. Building markets in inner-city areas does not allow for profit due to the fact that there is a rise in "rent, insurance, and security" (88). This allows for an excuse to have "higher food prices with less options", specifically targeting those who are poor (African American and Hispanics). Winne also suggests that prices in the suburbs are 6-21 percent lower than the inner cities (86). Now I'm not too familiar with food programs at all, but one way in which they could possibly work something out is to have a program in which a bus/car/van (volunteers) come out on Sunday's, pick up those in need, and drive them out to the suburbs to do their grocery shopping for the week. That would help reduce the prices they pay for groceries, and no expenses will be used by them to drive out to the suburbs. Perhaps a program similar to this is the Meals on Wheels in which volunteers drive to a senior citizens house and provides them with meals.

Nutrition among low-income families is also a common issue, food options available to them that they can afford comes with high "starches, fats, and sugars, while being deficient in all meats and other proteins, vegetables, and fruits" (Fitchen 390). It would be nice to have programs that donate whole grains to fresh foods on Mondays and have distribution sites the following day to increase the nutrition value among the poor (though it would be difficult to do since these things expire so easily).

Now I use to work Krispy Kreme, and I know it is not very nutritious, but if the donuts were more than 12 hours old, they were tossed. You will not believe the amount of waste our one little store had. We would have over 20 trash bags full of donuts, every night tossed away, when they were perfectly still good to eat. My point being here is that Kirspy Kreme is not the only franchise that does this. Left over's from Buffet's to Pizza Hut, all my friends have talked about how everything is wasted in the trash bin instead of being donated to a local food shelter to feed the poor. I remember asking my manager if we could just donate them, and he indicated to me that there are "legal issues at bay, and we could get sued if someone were to get sick". I understand that, but I suggest that there be a law in which people can't sue stores for donating left over food because they will understand the risk that they take. It is a complicating process and not perfect, but it's an idea that should be considered.

There are many complicating issues when it comes to poverty, and I think that greed and capitalism is just a reinforcing factor contributing to it. These are just some suggesting that I think would work, but it is perhaps only a step to stopping hunger, rather than a resolution. 

Supermarkets Could be the Answer- Blog 13

Based on the arguments of both authors, I think that we need to change our food culture, especially based on Fitchen's argument about food preferences leaning towards the fun foods and snack foods in American culture (394). According to Fitchen, many things in American culture lead to the hunger and malnutrition of impoverished America. Parents feel the need to treat their children to things they want such as candy and chips when they get their paychecks to make up for the poor quality of meals right before the paycheck came. Families below the poverty level do not have enough time to prepare adequate meals because parents often need to take on more than one job. An interesting thing noted by Fitchen is the use of highly desirable foods (such as frosting-covered cupcakes) by parents to pacify their hungry kids, even though this kind of eating leads to malnutrition and obesity (393).

            One looming problem remains in a desire to change American food culture, however. How can we even begin to change our food culture if it has been a problem for over five decades? While this might be the best answer, it is the most improbable solution. Winne study of the proximity of supermarkets to impoverished inner-city areas is intriguing. The co-op that he discussed that was established in 1985 was ultimately a failure, but we did not hear about its successes during its existence. If the government can work to make agreements with supermarkets to keep them in the areas that need them the most, this would be a step in the right direction. Providing tax breaks to supermarkets willing to sign contracts to keep businesses open for a certain amount of years at a time might help keep the companies in the city. Having supermarkets in the city provides more revenue for the city, as well as providing jobs for many of the families who were previously unable to make ends meet.

            With the improvement of supermarkets in the cities added to the current food stamp program and food subsidies program, a drop in hunger and malnourishment might be possible. At this point, it is all speculative and we would not know until someone tries. "Our Store" was established in 1985; nearly twenty-five years later we should be able to learn from mistakes and failed programs, and be able to try something new. I think Winne's idea of the necessity of supermarkets in inner-city is the answer to our next attempt at a solution. The government needs to come up with ways to entice supermarkets to want to come and stay in neighborhoods that need them the most.

Blog Assignment 13

As I mentioned in my Blog Post #12 Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life" is one of my favorites. She talks about the ethics of food and how we can change our relationship to it. She along with others like Peter Singer, Michael Pollan and the environmental feminist, Vandana Shiva are calling for a food revolution of sorts to save not only the planet but also us along with it.  Food directly correlates to how race, class and gender intersect with the food industry, production and land use. I believe that the economics of food is very political, especially in this country.  The food industry is less about nutrition, farming or sustainable agriculture.  It favors the wealthy, white (statistically), land owning male run corporations who dominate and profit through exploitation of labor and the land.  Those that "have" buy land to use for the production of food, which is not typically in the countries where they reside, in order to export food from third world countries (in some cases) that ironically can't afford to buy the food that they are producing.  The foodstuffs are then sold to wealthier nations at a profit.  For example The United Fruit Company has a long history of exploiting the land and the people who live and work for this North American Company. This is an excerpt of what has been going on most recently (2005) as more and more attention is given to the unethical business practices of the UFC.

 

"Jan.: Chiquita agrees to acquire Performance Food Group's Fresh Express division for $855 million and completed the deal in June 2005. Fresh Express controls 40% of the American packaged salads market. This operation increases the company's North American revenue base from 26% to 44%.

Jan: Chiquita announces that 100% of its Latin American plantations had been certified by independent auditors to International Labor Standards and the environmental standards of Rainforest Alliance.

June: Chiquita accuses itself of violations of the European quota regime. The company starts and investigation on the employees involved in the case, avoiding a sue from the Europeans due to its voluntary acknowledgement of the problem. Other companies involved included Del Monte and Dole.

Jun 10: Wal-Mart, Chiquita's biggest customer in the United States, announces a decrease in its banana purchases. This means a decrease of 33% of Chiquita banana sales in the U.S. Chiquita blames cheaper bananas from other competitors. June 16: Chiquita says that the problems with Wal-Mart were a result of the extremely low price demands from the retailer.

July: The presidents of the main Latin American banana producing countries meet in a summit in San Jose (Costa Rica) to condemn the existing European quota system as discriminatory and plea for a WTO intervention."

http://www.unitedfruit.org/chron.htm

 

Our food production practices are forcing the poor and marginalized into starvation.  This I would argue affects mostly poor women, children and people of color.  It has been said that there is plenty of food to go around.  That we could alleviate starvation in the world if we would change how we use, grow, and distribute food.  This effort should start at home.

Mark Winne admits that his experience establishing a co-op with others in a low income community through their hard work, blood, sweat and equity was problematic for various reasons not the least had to do with the belief that all people should have access to good, nutritious and inexpensive food in their own neighborhoods -- no matter where they live.

Instead, as both the Fitchen and Winne articles point out, people in poor communities spend more on food then do more affluent neighborhoods because of the lack of transportation and that stores simply will not invest in certain areas.  Without options what are disproportionately women and children to do?

 

http://www.emergencyfoodshelf.org/

According to the web site 85% of people that use food shelves fall below the federal guidelines for poverty.

 

http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/09poverty.shtml

This web site from the Federal Health and Human Services give statistics and guidelines for what qualifies as "living in poverty". A lot of the information comes from the US Census Bureau.

 

And one more thing on growing your own fruits and veggies. It would be presumptuous of me to assume that every one has access to a small plot of dirt to grow even a few tomatoes plants on.  Or that community gardening, which is making a come back, is an option or an interest for people.  However there are ways in which people can benefit from locally grown food through Community Supported Agriculture projects.

<http://www.landstewardshipproject.org/csa.html>

In many cases when you become a member the food is distributed to a local neighborhood school, church or even the Y for pick up.

blog 13

It's hard to imagine alternative solutions to the problems of hunger without a major change in our capitalist culture.  In my opinion, solving the problem of hunger would require a holistic approach to all poverty related issues. 

 

I think we would need to fundamentally change our food culture in order to address hunger.  We, as a culture, are far too busy.  Fast foods, crappy pre-packaged foods and other convenience foods are popular because people don't have time or energy to prepare food that takes a long time to cook - especially poor people. 

 

I grew up on microwave dinners and fast food.  I used to hate food and I still can't cook to save my life.  Starting children off with healthy foods is very important also.  I'm totally addicted to sugar, caffeine, and processed foods - and I think that has a lot to do with what I grew up eating.  It's hard to change habits when it takes more effort to do so. 

 

I can think of some innovations that are really simple, and could help.  In Minneapolis there is only one farmers market that accepts EBT (food stamps).  Requiring all farmers markets to take EBT could be a potential change that could help poor people get healthier food.  Also, I think it would be great to offer stores and EBT users incentives for buying healthy or organic foods.  An easy way to do this would be to offer coupons for EBT users who buy good food - so they save money/food stamps.

 

At this moment I can't think of any programs that successfully address the causes and repercussions of hunger. 

 

I work at a homeless shelter, and I think it's really interesting because we have groups come in and serve dinner every night.  They usually make a main dish, side and desert.  95% of the time it's not healthy food.  They try to cook decent food, but they're more concerned with price.  Also many of them don't understand the health problems a lot of poor people have.  There are a lot of diabetics that are homeless from my experience.  The food that are prepared are generally processed, carbohydrate heavy and desert is always sugary sweets like cake or ice cream.  We rarely get fresh fruits, vegetables or whole grain items. 

 

I'm not sure if anyone knows a lot about the "food desert" research that has been done.  I believe they started by looking at Chicago and figuring out where there were grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and poor people.  They also looked at prices of various items are compared them to suburban stores.  They found a total lack of healthy foods affordably priced in low income neighborhoods.  So, people who are poor can sometimes be stuck eating crappy foods because of access (economic and geographical).  The group that did the research is here:  http://marigallagher.com/projects/  ...and you can read all of the reports they've done about other cities. 

Week 13 Blog Assignment

This week's readings discuss what happens when people in America don't have access to food, due to economic and geographic factors. Lack of food security is not just a contemporary problem; Thanksgiving is, after all the story of Native Americans providing food to starving British colonists. Yet, as the articles demonstrate, lack of sufficient food is now seen as a personal failing rather than a systemic problem with how we produce, procure, and prepare food.

Tisdale and LeBesco focus on the cultural origins and meanings of the foods that we eat. Fitchen and Winne, in contrast, examine the cultural priorities that contribute to hunger and insufficient access to food and the failures of current institutions to solve the problem of hunger in the U.S.

In this week's blog post, consider alternative solutions to problems of hunger. Keep in mind the intersectionality of hunger (race, gender, class, age, location) and arguments that American food culture is, in a sense, dysfunctional across classes. Do we need to fundamentally change our food culture in order to address hunger? Or would innovations to food distribution programs and food subsidies suffice? What sorts of innovations do you suggest? Are there programs with which you are familiar that you see as successfully addressing the causes and repercussions of hunger?  Be specific in your post, both in your references to the readings and in your suggestions for addressing hunger.