The Hungriest States in America: The New Truth About Our Underfed Nation
Ahead of schedule, MSN Causes & TakePart launch a campaign to address hunger and poverty in the world’s wealthiest nation. Slated to go live today, the issue launched Friday, September 14. Editors announced that parent company Participant Media has set a date for the release of its documentary film that chronicles hunger in the US. “A Place At The Table” goes into wide release in March, 2013.
Also available on the site is an interview with Johnathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (And What You Can Do About It). When asked about the American mindset toward food waste, Bloom put the problem in perspective.
Our love of abundance, on the micro and macro scale, yields much waste. Farmers grow as much as they possibly can, then don’t harvest or sell a good amount of it. Supermarkets order and stock an unnecessary amount of food. And we buy so much fresh food that we couldn’t possibly eat all of it before it goes bad. This is linked to the human instinct to protect against starvation, but we put a real spin of “American excess” on it.
Another factor at play is the more recent phenomenon of demanding perfect, beautiful food. We’ve reached a point where appearance trumps taste. Anything that’s the wrong shape, size, color, or is slightly imperfect in any way will be cast aside. And given the national and international food chain, this means a dramatic amount of waste.
The American mindset is only half the problem. Poverty is a significant factor in food insecurity. In “Number Shock” the site offers the following:
Fact: Poverty is the primary cause of hunger in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census.
(Source: US Census)
What it means: It sounds simple, but the fact that it is poverty—not food scarcity or another obstacle—that keeps people from eating means that addressing the causes of poverty is the way to solve the hunger problem.
Fact: The number of states in which a person working full-time at minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom apartment: zero.
(Source: National Low Income Housing Commission)
What it means: It means that even hard-working people can’t afford to live in basic quarters and feed their families in America.
Fact: Sixty-seven percent of Americans support gradually raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to at least $10 an hour, including 52% of Republicans.
(Source: Public Religion Research Institute)
What it means: It’s time for our laws to catch up to today’s cost of living and what the people want.
What you can do: Tell Congress to raise the minimum wage.
- A Place at the Table (philanthropemag.wordpress.com)