YES, it Matters
WOW! The Food It Yourself garden of 2020 is producing better than I hoped! With our late frosts and snow in central New England I was convinced cherries and raspberries were a lost cause. I was wrong, and now have a large cache of jam in my cellar. I had to turn a substantial amount of our spring bok choy into kimchi to preserve it. The snow peas produced well into July. There are at least five pumpkins developing on the vine. We are truly blessed.
We cannot ignore the reality of inequality in the USofA, however. We all see the headlines. There is a loud call going out to pay attention to the persistent inequalities in our nation. One of these is food insecurity.
Food insecurity is more than just not having the money to buy food. A family that cannot get to a store that sells fresh produce, dairy items, and meat will likely have an inadequate diet. A family that does not have access to a working refrigerator or oven will not be able to safely store fresh foods or prepare them easily.
African-American households are disproportionately affected by food insecurity. This is not an opinion or a misrepresentation of ambiguous statistics. This is a fact and a daily reality for our fellow Americans. Check these out…
- Angela M. Odoms-Young, PhD, MS and Marino A. Bruce, PhD, MSRC, MDiv published this peer-reviewed paper (that means other people fact checked the manuscript) in the Journal Family and Community Health in 2019. (The full manuscript is available HERE, you should read it.)
- The Alliance to End Hunger (a non-profit group with many participating organizations) published this well-cited PDF in 2017.
The takeaway is this: food insecurity is an example of structural racism in the United States. Non-white families are more likely to go hungry.
So, what can we do?
- Donating to a local food bank is a no-brainer. Click here to find one near you! Don’t forget to call ahead of time and ask what they need the most.
- If your DIYet includes growing some of your own food, consider growing extra to donate to a local food pantry. The PennState Agricultural Extension has some guidelines for donating your home grown bounty.
- Support legislation that funds hunger relief programs like SNAP, WIC, school nutrition programs, and elder nutrition programs. Call those legislators! Vote for less hunger.
- Support organizations that fight racism. Food insecurity and structural racism are entwined in the USofA. We need to fight both to end both. Here is a list of organizations working for equity and justice along racial lines.
There is plenty of room in today’s society for opinions. However, some things are simply facts. Racial inequality is a fact. Hunger is a fact. Hunger affects non-white families disproportionately. This is an injustice. We are all responsible to help end that injustice. We are all ABLE to help end that injustice. Let’s talk about this like civilized people in the comments section, okay?