How often can you run down to the grocery store for last-minute items? What about hopping over to the farmers market for a bunch of strawberries? Well nearly 50 million people in the U.S. cannot — they’re worried about where their next meal is coming from. And worldwide the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reports numbers more staggering still, at over 1 billion – so nearly 1 in 7 people don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
They are food insecure.
What is the difference between “food security” and “food insecurity?” The USDA says having food readily available with no limitations is food secure, but having reduced quality, less variety or a disruption in food access is food insecurity. At home&community inc we accept the general concept of food security that focuses on individuals, families and households in a community. But, we believe more change can be achieved by concentrating on the concept of Community Food Security. As a result, our work in low-income communities addresses the full food system – it includes access to grocery stores and farmers markets and education about nutritional food choices, as they affect individual food insecurity. We’re asking about the institutions that impact our ability to get food, while we improve access and self-reliance.
In the coming weeks we’ll discuss food deserts (where options for healthy food are few and far between and access is limited) and consider the many innovative ways to bring healthy food options to low-income communities. Meanwhile, see how Bread for the World is talking about the “systems” approach to Community Food Security.
As we always say, there are some astoundingly simple actions that can be taken to help us reach our goals. Let’s work together to get everyone food secure.