We’re developing a Hunger Guild along with our Sustainability Center.  It just seems necessary, as the number of hungry people grows and our obesity epidemic continues.  It’s not that we don’t have enough food in this country. It’s that the food that is available is not the healthiest, and we market high calorie, empty food with lower price tags than we do healthy, heartier fare.
 
We only need to look at the school lunches to see the power of corporations in shaping our nation’s diets.  Fried food, processed food, brightly colored, artificially flavored foods replace healthy, natural foods because they are offered at bargain rates and children are exposed to them more easily than to fresh food.

Part of the problem we face in helping people eat more healthily and affordable is basic education. People are conditioned to read the directions on the package, but zucchini doesn’t have a printed label. Processed foods are cut into little pieces so it’s easy to judge how much is needed, but whole vegetables and healthy meat comes in un-counted portions. It takes knowledge and experience to know how many people can be fed by a whole chicken. And then there’s the problem of how do you use all the bird?  How do you clean the bones? What do you do with the skeleton? If you’re homeless where do cook it? If you don’t have a kitchen, where do you store the roasting pan?

Creating a sustainable food supply is more than just making food available. It’s about helping people afford high quality food, cook it wisely, and use all of it, in one form or another. Our Hunger Guild has a food pantry, but it will also work on reaching out to families to teach them basic cooking skills,making  it possible to stretch the food farther and making it taste good in all its forms. To me, that’s the best way to get a “handle” on food issues for the long run, though it’s also important to meet the immediate needs as well.

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