One in six Americans are food insecure.
Note: This article is the first in a series of articles addressing hunger and nutrition for Hunger Education Week
By LARES FELICIANO
VALLEY — Often when one thinks about hunger the images that most readily come to mind include bony bodies and empty bowls in far off lands. With the United States being the wealthiest country in the world (that also houses the largest rate of obesity) it is understandable that the common equation for hunger does not readily fit into the image of the U.S. The truth, however, is that 14.5 percent of U.S families struggle to put food on the table every day.
This struggle is the definition of food insecurity: the state of, or risk of, being unable to provide food for oneself or one’s family. One in six Americans are food insecure, meaning they are consistently unsure where their next meal will come from.
What studies are finding more and more is that this lack of food access is not so much about a lack of calories as it is a lack of nutrition. Folks who are living on a SNAP budget or living paycheck to paycheck are shopping for the most calories for the smallest dollar amount. Cheap calories come in the form of processed snacks, soda and fast food, all of which provide little to no nutritional value. This is where the idea that a nation with such high obesity could not possibly be hungry gets debunked.
Hunger is the source of obesity, diabetes and other dramatic health problems that have been increasingly plaguing our nation over the past few decades.
Every year La Puente hosts a week of events called Hunger Education Week. This year the focus is RETHINKING FOOD, with emphasis on Food Access, Food Waste and Nutrition. In order to address the larger issue of hunger in the United States it is important to collectively rethink society’s relationship with food. How do the cultural values around what we eat affect our communities and our health? How does food access affect nutrition? And what role does food waste play in our daily lives and the lives of those living with food insecurity?
La Puente has put together a week full of events addressing each of these issues to foster conversation and learn about hunger in the United States. For a list of events and up to date information check out the La Puente blog: lapuenteevents.wordpress.com.
HUNGER EDUCATION WEEK
Schedule of Events
Wednesday April 10th Container Gardening Workshop
Where: Milagros Coffeehouse 529 Main Street
When: 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Introductory workshop on how to grow food in easy to find containers.
Great for beginning gardeners with little to no yard space.
Friday April 12th Welcome to the Table
Where: SLV Water Conservancy District Conference Room 623 Fourth Street
When: 5:30-7 p.m.
An interactive meal addressing hunger in the U.S. and celebrating food.
Hunger & Nutrition Books on Display @ Alamosa Public Library
Food Waste Representation Installation @ ASU Student Union