Fighting food insecurity: Examples of action

We’ve looked at the health and economical costs of hunger and we’ve looked at the numbers that tell us just how big the problem of food insecurity is. Now, let’s start looking at examples of efforts to solve the problem.

Canned vegetables line the shelves of food pantry at San Antonio Community College. KENS 5 Eyewitness News

In south Texas,  students and staff at San Antonio College have launched a food pantry that’s part of their new  Student Advocacy Center (SAC). The food pantry came to fruition after staff members learned about a similar project in Amarillo at Amarillo College. Students can fill two bags with food, toiletries and many other things they’d find at a grocery store.

“Let us try and see if there’s not something we can bring to bear to keep you here,” said Lisa Black, SAC Co-creator and associate professor of social work at San Antonio College. “That gives people encouragement. It gives them hope that we can hang on to our students.”

Ron Finley: Guerrilla Gardener

Ron Finley is a co-founder of Los Angeles Green Grounds, a group that plants gardens in South Central Los Angeles, which he refers to as the home of the drive-by and the home of the drive-thru. The initiative is a way to provide nourishing food to those who may not have access to healthy, nutritious food.

Death by drive-thru is a common thing in South Central Los Angeles, according to Finley. / Photo courtesy of Jim B. on yelp.com.

“I got tired of driving 45 minutes to get an apple that wasn’t injected with insecticide,” Finley says in his 2013 TED talk. “Growing your own food is like printing your own money.”

The talk is a look inside the efforts of the self-described “guerilla gardener” to transform his community and keep his neighbors from death by drive-thru (food).

Racism and Hunger

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a discussion panel on campus hosted by the Texas Tech Political Science Department. During the discussion, several on- and 0ff-campus experts talked about the reasons behind food insecurity and the tools needed to combat this issue.

Income disparity is one of the leading causes of lack of access to food choices. / Photo by me

One of the things mentioned was how income inequality (and really, inequality in all aspects of life) can impact not just a person’s own ability to afford food, but also, how it can impact their ability to actually access affordable, nutritious food. Businesses like grocery stores don’t build in low-income areas because they make more money in high-income areas. Instead, many rely on fast food that contributes to the health issues faced by those in poverty.

For a nation to effectively fight hunger, it must first focus on the issues that form the foundation of this issues. This article by Everyday Feminism expands on the idea that hunger is just one facet in the fight against inequality.