The United States Department of Agriculture defines food security as access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. In 2019, 1 in 8 Americans were food insecure, that’s over 40 million people. Let’s dissect that a little, of the 40 million, 12 million are children, 8 million are people with disabilities, and 13 million are obese. The effects on a person that lives in a food insecure environment for even a short period of time can lead to chronic poor eating habits for the rest of their life and will be passed on to the next generation.
The inconsistent access to adequate healthy foods causes people to eat unhealthy addictive foods that are high in sugar and fat. Overeating these foods will cause diseases like diabetes and obesity. Once a person’s health is compromised they have difficulty find a job that will accommodate their needs, which leads to lower household income. Which leads to trade-offs between food and other expenses. Frequently healthy food is the loser.
Our country produces enough food to keep us food secure, however poor distribution and waste prevent access to healthy foods for 40 million of our neighbors. Farmers are forced to throw away an average of 30% of the amount they sell because we want beautiful produce at the store. That means a farmer that sells 20 million pounds of produce, throws away approximately 6 million pounds of perfectly good food. Most of which could be distributed to those in need end up in an open field left to rot.
We can do better. Connecting people who have food with people who need food needs to be a concern of us all. I challenge you to be aware of ways you can help distribute food to your neighbor. Did your garden produce more than your family needs? Do you have food in your pantry that you know your family will never eat? Donate to your food bank or local farmers market.
Find your local food bank at the link below:
Find your local farmers market at the link below: