Post #638 Food Insecurity

April 26, 2019 at 2:47 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I just learned this term yesterday, and it tied right in with regular post leading into summer.  As you know from my earlier posts, summer time for many kids is hunger time.  Many families rely on the school systems for one or two meals a day for their children.  Since kids don’t go to school in summer, and if they do, many schools don’t have meal programs during the holidays.  It’s a rough situation.

We now live in Vermont.  It’s a very progressive and liberal state.  They are focused on providing a government whose focus is on providing for the citizens.  It was the first state in the union to ban slavery – in 1777.  Vermont subsidizes a youth conservation corps that works to help eliminate some of that childhood hunger.

I learned that our new home is also home to about 626,000 people.  There are about 64,000 people, about ten per cent, who are what is known as “food insecure.”  It means they lack regular access to nutritious food.  It’s a term I find to be eloquent in that it perfectly describes all facets of the hunger crisis.  Vermont is helping the people who are facing this to help themselves.

A lot of people don’t know this, but New England was primarily farmland when it was being settled and there are still many farms in operation.  When I was very young, we lived in this area for a few years, about four hours to the west in upstate New York.  One of our close friends had a farm where we spent a lot of time in the summer.  It was my first exposure to where food came from.

So what the state and the youth conservation corps are doing is using some of the state property to run working farms.  They hire a few adults to manage the farms, then hire kids to work the farms.  The kids get paid and learn to work a farm.  They also get learn nutrition, how to eat, what to eat, how to cook, what to cook.  It’s a true farm to table experience, but it also helps feed the kids and their families.

But it doesn’t stop there.

A well-run farm can produce literally tons of food, far more than can be eaten by the farmers.  So local businesses and farmers, and most importantly, hospitals and doctors help out.  The extra produce is harvested and given to the 10% who are food insecure.  It’s all fresh; it’s all nutritious; it’s all free.  Usually about 15 pounds of food per week is given to each family.

But it doesn’t stop there.

To be part of the program to receive the food, the people also learn the same kinds of things the kids working the farms do.  They learn where the food comes from, how to cook it, and how not to waste it.  They learn recipes for making the food tasty and to last.  The food is distributed not through a warehouse, but through volunteers at doctors offices, hospitals, and the like so the food can be distributed as needed.  For instance, if someone in a family has a food allergy, that food is not given to the recipients.  So they’re bringing together the health experts with the people who need the expertise.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Whenever machines are used to harvest a field, there are inevitably left over viable foodstuffs left behind.  The volunteers and farm workers will go out and glean the fields so very little is left on the ground.  The stuff that’s gleaned will either go to seed stock, or be given to the those who gleaned it, or be put back into the program to be distributed.

And it still doesn’t stop.

The community donates through volunteer efforts.  Fund raisers are held during the winter, and selected times during the spring and summer.  Donations are given from other groups, and from individuals, and from civic groups, and private groups, and individual donors.

And it still doesn’t stop, at least for us.  Partner/Spouse works for one of the hospitals involved in this effort, which is why we know so much about it.  And starting middle of next month, I will be working at the hospital too.  And through the hospital, we will be able to volunteer for this effort.  I want to pull together a bunch of their recipes into book form, if they haven’t already thought about it, though I’m sure they have.  But whatever they need, we’ll be up for.

I feel good about living in a place where the community really watches out for their neighbors, and a little humbled to be taken in to the neighborhood.

So, has anyone ever heard of a sales site called Wish?  It offers lots of products for really low prices.  The few things we’ve bought from it were worth every penny we spent – not a lot.  We were quickly disillusioned and stopped buying from them almost immediately.  They like plastic.  However, we recently found another site called Brandless.  So far, their selection is limited, but decent.  I suggest you check it out.  We bought a couple of knives and a cutting board.  So far, the knife cuts through everything like butter.  The cutting board is a work of art, it’s so beautiful.  Let me know what you think if you buy anything.

As always,

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