Asking for a friend: can we get a do over on the new year?
We’ve been battling freezing temps and this brutal cold and flu season, while cranking out some exciting projects we’re eager to launch (stay tuned!). It’s been a whirlwind so far… and we’re just coming up for air to send you our first Real Food Scoop of 2018.
We’ve also been thinking a lot about the role of poverty in hunger and health with the recent Trump administration’s proposed changes to the federal food assistance program SNAP. Currently, a staggering 41.2 million Americans experience food insecurity. The proposed boxes of pre-selected packaged foods have been widely criticized. For one thing, they take away people’s autonomy to make decisions about what they are eating—based on their family’s needs, cultural preferences, and things like food allergies. Not to mention the fact that experts predict they will be stigmatizing, inefficient, and most likely a nutritional downgrade.
People often think about food access as a purely economic or geographic issue—having enough income and living near a grocery store, for instance—but it is so much more than that. This recent article in the Los Angeles Times raised an often-ignored factor in unhealthy eating in low-income communities: the difficulty of indulging your kids when you are poor. With other consumer items like the new iphone or brand name clothing well out of reach, junk food is one of the few treats kids ask for that parents in poverty are able to provide. Coupled with the junk food industry marketing to children, especially in communities of color, resistance can sometimes be futile.
Hunger and ill health have complex causes. The main cause is certainly not people wanting to eat poorly or cause harm to their children. We have to address poverty—and the massive power of corporations to influence policies that promote cheap industrial food and keep wages low.
Imagine what it would be like if millions of people around the world were able to make choices that are nourishing to their bodies and souls. We’re imagining and working towards it, too.
Anna, Christina, Tanya, and Tiffani