Monthly Archives: October 2012
A Marketplace Wealth and Poverty series takes a look at the politics of food stamps (i.e. the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP). The reports highlight perceptions about the program and the way in which some politicians are framing the debate about hunger and poverty in America. The series features two reports on food stamps – Binders, Big Bird — and food stamps? and Food stamps and the politics of poverty, both by Shereen Marisol Meraji.
The fourth annual Food Sovereignty Prize, awarded in New York City on October 10 by WhyHunger, honored the work of four grassroots organizations working for a more democratic food system. This year, prizes went to the Korean Women’s Peasant Association, the United Peasant Movement of Aguan Region, National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Honorees were recognized for promoting food sovereignty by raising public awareness, organizing communities, implementing programs and policies, building global linkages, demonstrating the importance of collective action, and prioritizing the leadership of women, people of color, indigenous peoples, and migrant workers.
October 16 was World Food Day, sponsored by a host of government agencies and non-governmental organizations to raise awareness about hunger and malnutrition around the world. According to a recent report jointly published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP), approximately 870 million people, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010 through 2012. The report notes that while the number of hungry people declined between 1990 and 2007, efforts to reduce hunger have slowed since 2007.
The theme for World Food Day 2012 is “Agriculture Cooperatives – Key to Feeding the World,” to highlight the role of cooperatives in improving food security and farmers’ incomes. This year’s World Food Prize went to Dr. Daniel Hillel, known for his work to maximize efficient water use in agriculture, increase crop yields, and minimize environmental degradation.
Minnesotans have something new to watch on TV: Commercials encouraging them to reduce their weight. They are a part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota’s latest campaign to reduce obesity rates.
These ads haven’t been universally loved, drawing criticism from those who argue that people respond better to positive message about health and healthy eating rather than negative ones. The insurance company is defending the ads.
The ads can be viewed in Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog post at the Washington Post.
The Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, a non-profit organization in Columbia, Missouri, has been working to expand fresh food options in central Columbia since 2008. The group began with a small demonstration garden and has grown to include a 1.3 acre urban farm, an on-site farm stand that accepts SNAP benefits, an Opportunity Gardens program (helping people install and maintain vegetable gardens at their homes), youth gardening education, a landscaping division, and more.
The Columbia Daily Tribune recently caught up with the group just before their 3rd Annual Harvest Hootenanny Fundraiser. Read the rest of the story.
A recent post on NPR’s food blog, The Salt, reported that “the number of U.S. families struggling to put enough food on the table remains at record-high levels.” This comes from new data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The department estimates that approximately 14.9 percent of American households were food insecure in 2011. Of those 5.7 percent had very low food security, meaning that food intake by some household members was reduced or disrupted at times during the year. Food insecurity levels are nearly the same as in 2010 and have remained at this level since the start of the recession in 2007.