A recent impactful article in Organic Gardening made a rather interesting parallel that we’ve been hearing about quite a bit lately.
It isn’t enough to say that yes, our economy is in a recession right now, this is something that all of us can understand and has impacted us in one way or another, from underemployment and unemployment to home foreclosures and the cost of living still increasing. Not all of us can fathom the impact of this recession on how it effects our dinner tables.
Food pantries are finding it harder and harder to keep food stocked; Nancy Rutman of the Organic Gardener notes that there has been a 46% rise in the Feeding America clients from 2005-2009, and the numbers continue to increase. Nancy shares that as we get right down to it, we can see a correlation between the number of people utilizing the former Food Stamp program, now called SNAPS, and the number of people who are not only are malnourished. Her eerily composed statement takes a strong stance: “Hunger and overconsumption are simply two faces of malnutrition. We may recognize the first, but fail to recognize the second, since it sometimes take son the paradoxical disguise of obesity.” This is a frightening thought, but with some creativity, there must be away around this double edged sword.
There are potential solutions to the problem of malnutrition within our communities, and they may be much more simple that we expected. She lines out several great ideas about how we as community members can give back to those in need who may very well be our neighbors included in that 46% increase in food assistance clients:
- Plant a row of produce to harvest yourself and donate to your local food pantry.If you don’t have your own personal garden space, see about getting a plot in a local community garden.
- Work with your local scouting troups when they are “scouting for food.” Even your local faith based groups may be working on special food drives throughout the year.
- Work with groups such as Food Forward and Village Harvest to take produce that may be thrown away because it doesn’t meet typical grocery store aesthetic standards to the food pantries.
Founders of the GreenDrinks Arlington eco-professional group have taken charge within their community to host a food drive benefit this season to raise awareness and hopefully some donations for the local Arlington Food Assistance Center, AFAC. The event will bring together local and free-trade artists with unique art gifts for sale. The entry is a suggested donation of a canned good to benefit AFAC. Little things like this can make all of the difference in our community. Have more ideas about what can be done to bring healthy foods to our local community members in need of food assistance? Tell us your thoughts, and come out to see us at the GreenDrinks Arlington Art + Wine Bazaar to give back to Arlington!