Posts Tagged ‘hunger’

Will Urban Food Forests Like Seattle’s Solve Hunger Issues?

applesSM

There’s a great initiative cropping up in some progressive cities, and the word “cropping” is no mistake. Urban Food Forests, like the Beacon Food Forest Permaculture Project in Seattle, are making food foraging cool. On land owned by the city, they are planting lush edible landscapes with fruit trees, a berry patch, a nut grove, community gardens, a gathering plaza for education and events, and a kid’s area to get the whole family involved. The idea is that anyone can come pick fresh food for their own consumption.

All told, the project is seven acres of healthy habitat renewal that also commits urban energy toward community well-being. Local volunteers and some like-minded businesses and organizations do most of the boots on the ground, gloves in the soil dirty work, and all interested parties reap the benefits. They even provide some family plots if you want to do some gardening of your own within the “forest.”

Got an unsightly vacant lot in your neighborhood?  What if it was growing apples and almonds instead of broken glass and plastic bags? The passions of a community coming together can make miracles happen just about anywhere.

What Will You Bring to the Table?

logo web whiteMore than 1 in 5 kids in America don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Hunger and food insecurity is a huge issue worldwide, but many of us don’t know how rampant it is here at home. Act before April 30, with the What Will You Bring to the Table website, and you can help bring one million meals to hungry kids…and bring along your own ideas and solutions as well. This site is a destination for kids and teens, to get them involved and activated around hunger issues. Every action you take and record, from planting a community garden, hosting a can drive or other food event, blogging and spreading awareness through social media…each action is met with a free meal being provided for a young person in need. There are more hungry kids in the U.S. than the entire populations of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago combined–nearly 17 million!

The website has great toolkits for raising the visibility of your project–kits for teens, kids, schools, families, and organizations. Volunteer, get involved–this provides a tangible result for your action–you will literally be responsible for feeding a hungry young person. That’s pretty amazing when you can empower elementary school kids with that kind of impact that is so accessible to them…or middle school, high school, spiritual youth group, entire class, etc. Steer yourself and the young people you know to the site, and get into action against hunger.

Be a Chef Volunteer for Julia Child’s 100th Birthday

Today would have been the centenary birthday of Julia Child, so be sure to cook up something great for dinner, and pop a cork on a good bottle (if you are the cork-popping type). To truly celebrate and honor the queen of the kitchen, consider becoming a kitchen volunteer with nationwide hunger-fighting organization, Share Our Strength. Their “Cooking Matters” No Kid Hungry program has been helping hungry families learn about and prepare healthy and nutritious food since 1993. A limited budget needn’t mean crummy food choices for families, and chef volunteers (as well as other program support volunteers) lead hands-on cooking courses for low-income children, teens, adults, and caregivers, as well as supermarket shopping tours, nutritional counseling, educational outreach, and deciphering ingredient labels. It seems, at first glance, that junk food is more affordable than a healthy diet, which explains a great deal of the perniciousness of poor health, diet, diabetes, and other nutritional issues in economically challenged communities…BUT…Cooking Matters teaches participants that the concept is false, and eating well, in a way that supports health and livelihood, can be easy and inexpensive.

So raise a rolling pin to Julia Child today, and find out more about how to help keep kids healthy (and keep them from being hungry).

Hungry Day, Sweepin’ the Clouds Away…

Photo: Sesame Workshop

I’m embarrassed that I missed the broadcast on Sunday, but I think this is a fascinating development in family television. Sesame Street introduced Lily, a seven-year-old muppet that doesn’t always know where she’ll get her next meal. Lily is “food insecure” as are too, too many kids today. I’ve worked in schools where the hot lunch in the cafeteria is likely the only solid meal a student will eat in a day…they come to school hungry, they go to bed hungry. The Sesame Street character, with her family, relies on the neighborhood food pantry and community gardens when they can’t make ends meet. For kids to see a storyline like hers and the sensitive and appropriate way the cast deals with it, can go miles toward understanding. It is not your fault if you are hungry, and you are not alone. Huge messages. Lily was introduced on a special evening broadcast called “Growing Hope Against Hunger” and is not currently slated to be a regular on “the Street.” I have a dear friend who is in the cast of Sesame Street, and it would be such a great storyline to see how his (human/non-muppet) character approached her situation. I hope Lily might come back around–I think she can add a lot to the neighborhood. Like Kami, an HIV-positive muppet character that was only on the South African Sesame Street broadcasts, the folks at the Sesame Workshop, having done this for over four decades, truly know how to broach difficult subjects from a young person’s point of view, and stimulate respectful, healthy conversations at home and in the classroom.

As for me, I’ll never forget when the cast had to explain to Big Bird how Mister Hooper had died and wasn’t coming back to Sesame Street. I was home from college…and riveted. The good work of these folks continues…Bravo!

Hungry

I’m a little peckish today. No big deal, I just skipped lunch. I’ve never truly known hunger, never had a legitimately empty belly. Sure, I groused as a teenager in the summertime, moaning “I’m hunnnnngggggrrrryyyyyyyy” as if I was the most put-upon soul in the world…but so many are truly hungry. Starving. Malnourished. Dying of hunger.

There are so many ways of addressing hunger, and so many efforts we can support. It can get overwhelming. It ought to be overwhelming–the problem is like that. A thing I love is when organizations and corporations make everyday habits into opportunities for us to give. Something you might do anyway that will, with very little extra effort from you, make a difference. In light of global hunger, this may seem paltry, but it truly isn’t. Mother Teresa said if you can’t feed 100 people, feed one…

Snickers has one of those no skin off my nose programs where we can help, almost effortlessly. Their new “BAR HUNGER: It Tastes Good to Do Good” program has newly printed candy bar wrappers. Inside the wrapper is a code. Once you’ve eaten your sweet snack, you enter that code on their website, and they donate a meal to someone in need. Up to 3.5 million meals are going to be donated while the program lasts (through the end of November). Their partner is Feeding America (they used to be known as “America’s Second Harvest”) and their efforts already make a huge difference in this nation’s childhood nutrition and hungry populations.

SO a candy bar may not be the best thing for you, but it can do something extra for someone who genuinely needs help. Then pop over to the Feeding America Hunger Action Center to find more ways to help.

Feed Your Spirit

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the release of Gone With the Wind. One of Scarlett O’Hara’s more famous quotes, among many, is “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

So what the hell is up with us that we can’t manage to make a proclamation like that for the world? How can we be rounding out the first decade of the 21st century, and people are dying every day from hunger and malnutrition? It isn’t because of actual lack of food—there is enough nutritious food on this planet for every mouth. Some of it may not be conveniently located, but for as much as UPS, FedEx, and the postal service are logging road and air miles and shipping knots, we could  get massive amounts of food to the hungry as easily as we get Wii to the nephews and smelly Yankee Candles to Grandma.

Think about showing some generosity to these or any of the many other charities committed to feeding the hungry. Your support is needed year ’round, but this time of year, especially, it is an awfully good fit to reach out and share the generosity of spirit that is filling the air.

Action Against Hunger-USA (http://www.actionagainsthunger.org/)

Bread for the World (http://www.bread.org/)

Child Fund International (http://www.childfund.org/)

Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest. http://feedingamerica.org/default.aspx?show_shov=1/)

Food for the Hungry (http://www.fh.org/)

Freedom from Hunger (http://www.freedomfromhunger.org/)

The Hunger Project (http://www.thp.org/)

The Hunger Site (http://www.thehungersite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=1)

UNICEF: Fight Hunger (http://www.unicefusa.org/work/nutrition/?gclid=CLLKuNaS254CFaM45Qod5m49Jw)

World Vision End Hunger (http://www.worldvision.org)

This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of possibilities to give. Find one near or far from your home or wherever you’ll spend the holidays. It’s hard, at this time of year, to think of anyone going to bed hungry, sick, and possibly not making it to morning due to lack of food. It should be hard to think about—it is unacceptable.

Hunger and Waste–Why Both?

New York is only one city…and so much food is wasted every day while 1.5 million New Yorkers live in poverty and many go to bed hungry. I’m no math whiz, but that equation just doesn’t make sense.

cityharvest.org, rescuing food for New York’s hungry.
The Simple Facts: This year, City Harvest will rescue over 25 million pounds
of excess food from food establishments throughout the
city and across the country.
**More than 90 staff members and 1,800 volunteers.
** A fleet of 17 trucks and 3 bikes.
** Food delivered nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Once rescued, food is delivered to soup kitchens, food
pantries, homeless shelters, AIDS care providers, senior
centers, and children’s day care centers that serve hungry
New Yorkers in all five boroughs.

Find out how to volunteer here