Monday, July 9, 2012


          I am hungry today. Every few years I have a medical procedure that means clear liquids for a couple of days in preparation, and today is one of those days. I am so aware of how rarely I am truly hungry - the cupboard and the fridge are filled with things I like to eat. Since it is summer there are bowls of plums and cherries and peaches and apricots. A small watermelon sits on the counter, and its rippled rind reminds me of fabrics I’ve seen in Africa. If I leave the house I have a protein bar or two in my purse, and unless we are hiking The Mountain or the paths of Pt. Reyes there is always food nearby - or a couple of backpacks filled with trail faves. 

       Michelle Obama has rightly focused on child obesity, with its attendant danger of type 2 diabetes, plus heart disease likely in the future. When Bill & I travel through the West we leave the farm-to-kitchen food culture of the Bay Area, and we have to rely on what we bring and whatever restaurants we find - and we are always astonished by the proportions people are served.

      But is anyone besides a few large organizations still concerned about hunger in America? The War on Poverty is simply a lost phrase from the Sixties. What summer means in some communities in this country is not bowls of ripe fruit and fresh vegetables from farmer’s markets, but no school lunches. 22 million children are estimated to be in “food insecure” households in the United States. 
       When climate change results in freakish weather in many parts of the country - abnormally high winds, flooding, hurricanes, wildfire - there is a sudden desperate need for food and shelter, and Food Banks provide it.  There is no problem obtaining it - there’s 200 billion pounds of food that go to waste every year in America! We have all the food necessary to feed our hungry, it is just a matter of access, equity, and distribution.  Equity? Ha! A House Agricultural Committee just came up with a Farm Bill that would cut 16 billion dollars from Food Stamp allocations over the next decade, which impacts 43 million people. 
This is a recent photo though it looks like a Dorothea Lange portrait from the 1930s

 Just think. We’ve gone from a War on Poverty to a war on the poor - and I thought it was just women who were being targeted! 


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