Thoughts on politics, religion, violence, inequality, social control, change, and random other things from an autonomous, analytical, adopted, abolitionist, anarchist who likes the letter A

Hunger Chalenge Thoughts

September 25, 2009 By: Mel Category: Stratification

I’ve been on the Hunger Challenge this week.  It’s been forcing me to think a lot more about my food.  That’s a good thing.  Even someone like me, who used to work at a center for agroecology, tends to forget about where my food is coming from and who is involved in bringing it to me.

I have new found sympathy and respect for the people who make a $4 per day food stamp budget work.  It takes careful planning and a lot of time cooking and shopping to eat on that.  There are single parents out there trying to work two jobs and still plan meals on that tight a budget.  They are amazing.

It’s infuriating that anyone would have to do that though.  Food is a human right.  And yet, according to the World Food Program

There are 1.02 billion undernourished people in the world today. That means one in nearly six people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life. Hunger and malnutrition are in fact the number one risk to the health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

That’s criminal.

Meanwhile, while people starve or scrape by as underpaid food system workers, agribusinesses and the food industry rake in monstrous profits.  Even in bad times, Archer Daniels Midland is making profits of $64 million a quarter.

ConAgra brought in $165.9 million in profit last quarter.  Monsato is cutting back now but looking to “more than double gross profit to as much as $8.8 billion in fiscal 2012 from $4.2 billion in 2007.”  That’s right.  That was billion with a b.

Food should not be a commodity that Wall Street speculates over and buys yachts with while millions are malnourished.  It’s disgusting.

Poor People Can’t Eat Healthy

September 22, 2009 By: Mel Category: Stratification

I mentioned at the end of yesterday’s post that I am participating in the Hunger Challenge.  It means I am trying to eat on $4 per day.  That’s how much someone gets if they are on food stamps.

How am I doing?  Not so good.

Yesterday I was hungry and cranky.  I skipped working out because I would have been famished after.  I usually eat every few hours to keep my metabolism up (and my crankiness down), but that was impossible.  My daily apple was skipped.  Fruit is just too expensive.  My lunch salad consisted of three ingredients.

With all that I still went over my $4.  Pathetic no?

Research shows that obesity and poverty are linked in this country.  Just one day on the Hunger Challenge showed me why.  I knew I was going to have to give up the farmers market and the organic food.  I knew I was going to have to give up pricey fish and cheese.  I didn’t think I was going to have such a hard time including even a couple fruits and vegetables.

The cost of fruits and vegetables isn’t just a matter of chance, it is a matter of policy.  Our government subsidises farmers, but not the farmers who grow most fruits and vegetables.  In fact, government policies actually prevent farmers from growing fruits and vegetables.

That’s just crazy.