Food insecurity

tilathehunn Posts: 168 ✭✭✭

I do not understand how we can have "food insecurity". It drives me crazy! How is this possible when healthy food is so easy to grow. Why are the schools not teaching gardening? Ever hear of Victory Gardens? Only recently have i. However i have memories of my father talking about gardening and his food harvest when he was a boy. My father was born in 1920 and gardening was part of his cirriculum. He did not grow up wealthy. His parents immigrated thru Ellis Island from Finland. He was born here and grew up in the foster system. He often referred to his garden and hunting rabbits for food. My mother spent the first 7 years of her life living on a farm before her grandmother died. She never talked about hunger or food shortages...just sounding off. Hope i did not offend anyone, i just do not understand.


  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It is because too many people are relying on "the system" if you will. I live in the city and I see it everyday. People are so trained trade time for money and money for what they need. It is a completely foreign concept to step out of that box. People around me think that I'm crazy for growing food and eating it. I have had people ask me how I can know my food is safe if I didn't get it from a grocery store.

    My mother grew up on a farm. They grew/raised most of there food. She really struggled when she married my dad and moved to the city. She would go to the grocery store and come back with no food because she couldn't bring herself to spend money on it. It's crazy how in just 45 years mindsets can change so much!

  • Ferg
    Ferg Posts: 285 ✭✭✭

    I'm going to have to dissent. Food Security is a real thing, and is not easily solved by "just grow your own". I've been working in this field for decades, and while the POTENTIAL for people to grow their own food everywhere is there, there are so many circumstances where it is extremely difficult. I'd love to have a conversation about this, and I'l probably come back to this thread, but at the moment I don't have the time to do the topic justice. As in.. food justice.

  • andrea745
    andrea745 Posts: 89 ✭✭✭

    Very interesting discussion. And way to complicated for me to express myself clearly in writing. I know there are many complicating factors-- greed, politics, agribusiness, subsidies, marketing and claims made that GMOs were designed to help feed everyone. There has been so much confusing information that it truly is a web to untangle. While I do believe that small scale farming and growing our own does have a place in this discussion. But the real solution is going to be on the big scale-- in other words, having people in high positions both in government and in the food industry who are really looking after the poor and equitably distributing food.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Ferg I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. My statement were not to say that food insecurity is not a valid thing. I apologize if anyone took it that way. My statements were speaking from experience. 20 years ago when my oldest children were young we were in a position of food insecurity. There were plenty of days where I was not able to feed my children. Even having grown up with stories of my mom growing all of her food it never occurred to me that I could grow my own. Unfortunately, it is the mindset that we are taught to have. At least those of us here in the city are raised that it is the old way and we don't do that anymore. My comments were just to say that if we as a group had a change of perspective we would make a substantial difference in our own situations. Having been in that place is part of what pointed me in the direction of self sufficiency.

  • twinspringsnc
    twinspringsnc Posts: 21 ✭✭✭

    I do have to agree it is how we are raised and the mindset. It seems like a simple thing but most people are raised that stores are where you get everything. It still amazes me that the majority of kids these days honestly have no idea where food really comes from.

    What can we do to educate the majority? I think starting in schools with each school having a garden. That actually could help subsidize the food programs in the schools if done right. Any other suggestions?

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Marjory Wildcraft I think we are all glad to have this platform. Thank you for that.

    I do agree that it is a part of the answer. We need to spread the word.

    I'm sure that we have all heard that we need to be the change we want to see in the world. I'm sure that will look different for each of us.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,353 admin
    edited September 2020

    That is the main problem in the US, too. 2/3rds of food cost is regulation and taxes. It does very little to ensure health and safety. A few years ago, I wanted to open an ice cream store, just for the seasonal tourists... maybe expand into barbecue eventually. I called up the county health inspector....$10,000 up front expense to get the building up to health code... then, ice cream, being dairy is "considered a hazardous substance"... so more for freezers... then, and this was the kicker... "You also need to budget at least $7,000 for Tommy... or he'll find a thousand ways from Sunday to shut you down." Tommy was the county "codes inspector". He was known to take a level over every square inch of your parking lot to "make sure you are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities act", etc, etc, etc... if he didn't get paid upfront to "process the paperwork". Beyond that, I needed pubic restrooms. And if I had employees, there was OSHA, Payroll taxes, insurance, etc.... and insurance in case someone "Slipped and fell". So, now you know why half the county is on Unemployment or Disability... Meanwhile, some Mexican folks I knew, who had been illegal immigrants for over 30 years!!!! Had a "Tienda" (store) and a restaurant with NO inspection or oversight. I asked the health inspector, who was an honest, affable guy. He said, "OH we gave up on them. They don't speak English. They just move and change their name. nd most of the folks who eat there are illegals." This, in a nation founded on the principle that all are equal under the law! Please tell me things are better in Canada and I'll move!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think I'd like Newfoundland!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin
    edited September 2020

    @judsoncarroll4 What didn't literally kill you certainly made you stronger. Wow.

    I think being hit with reality head on can build resilience.

    As for the double income folks being hungry? You nailed it on the head and pounded it in firmly. I heartily agree.

  • Ferg
    Ferg Posts: 285 ✭✭✭

    hmmmm, well yes and no. Food security is a socioeconomic problem. It's not as simple as being able to grow your own food, or having access to good food, or being 'brought up right'. There are food insecure people who would grow their own food, if certain conditions were met. As I mentioned before, I don't know if I could actually discuss this on a forum like this; it's more of a 'people in a room face-to-face' type discussion, and the discussions themselves are oftentimes irrelevant to the people needing change since they tend not to be invited to the discussion. We can't even look at a person and know if they need help, because many are eating the cheapest things they can get their hands on just to fill their bellies, and have already made a mess of their metabolisms and are not starving-skinny. It's not a simple problem, with simple solutions, because the US is a complex country with complex issues, and the people in the US are complex people trying to live. To be honest, most of us on this board are extraordinarily fortunate and have resources that food insecure people can only dream of - if they had the time or the energy. As I said, it's a complex issue. Otherwise I'd have waved my magic wand and fixed it.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin

    @judsoncarroll4 I will have to pm you, I think.

  • Christine
    Christine Posts: 3 ✭✭✭

    Great "food for thought". I feel so lucky to have grown up in a time and place where family and friends farmed. We were low-income but never lacked for food. As food prices grew and we were not able to buy the "cuts" of meat we would have liked, we fished, hunted, and grew various birds and rabbits. We traded with friends and family for variety of garden grown produce. However, we had family in the larger cities and I saw no food grown at their homes. As I started living on my own, I lived in places that had no place to grow an herb pot, let alone any "food". Oh, I did grow a crawdad in my aquarium until it got big enough to eat. But I had the know-how and the equipment to hunt and fish and gather wild food outside of my living area. I had the 'tools' which I thought everyone had and was shocked to find out that I/we are not in the majority of society. I see how food insecurity is so real for so many and how it only gets worse for each generation. There are so many stuck inside of cities who never travel outside of a five mile radius of their home.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 994 ✭✭✭✭

    Interesting topic. I agree people have become reliant on the system instead of working towards self sufficiency. On my own property I aim to plant edibles instead of ornamentals. I plant them in beds like landscaping instead of traditional garden rows and people can't even tell. I use sweet potato ( leaves are also edible), longevity spinach and the like as ground cover. It's amazing how much food I am able to grow this way.

  • Angel
    Angel Posts: 61 ✭✭✭

    I do think mindset and education are really key to helping with food insecurity. Obviously, people need access to some sort of land or growing area to be able to grow food, but they often also don't know how. Also, many people have no idea how to cook when given real foods. I briefly taught high school 20 years ago, and I had students who had never cracked an egg or washed a dish. Several families ate out or got take-out for every meal, in a mostly middle-class, small city setting. When schools talk about nutrition, they often teach how to read food labels rather than how to fix something from raw veggies or flour or whatever.

    and @Ferg , I completely agree with you about it being a complex problem, and a socioeconomic issue. Certainly, it is a big problem that we as a society need to take seriously.

  • karenjanicki
    karenjanicki Posts: 947 ✭✭✭✭

    There are alot of factors at play. I myself believe in being as self sufficient as possible but I recognize I cannot do everything I wish I could. We live in the suburbs on a very tiny strip of leased land with alot of rules. We aren't able to put in in ground beds, raise chickens or have outdoor rabbit hutches. For me there aren't a whole lot of options. This isn't my first choice. I want to move back to the country and grow and raise food but It's not possible at this time. Sadly it isn't for a lot of people. Even though I grew up a country girl we were in no way raised as homesteaders. My family has always relied on the store to provide food, clothing and basic necessities. I wasn't taught to grow a garden, raise chickens, can, sew or anything else. Next door was a sheep farm. I would spend many happy days with them wandering the barn and finding warm eggs in the hay. That's where I fell in love with that lifestyle. 4 years ago I lost my job after a car accident and that's when I began to understand just how fragile the system is that we rely on. I homestead here in place how I can. I have a rather large patio garden though it would never produce enough to offer food security. I'm learning foraging and herbal medicine making. I learned to basic crochet. I know how to capture wild yeast to make sourdough bread and how to make my own sourkraut. I got a pressure canner for my birthday and I'm going to take the canning course here at TGN. I read books on prepping, homesteading and foraging. I try to learn all I can about the subject and do my best where I am. But I'm still contrained by finances and our living situation. So it's not always cut and dry.

  • SandyMcWhoo?
    SandyMcWhoo? Posts: 15 ✭✭✭

    Yes... I agree. There are a lot of factors at play. I also have many "wants" for how to be comfortably self sufficient. I often think about what if "SHTF" and we need to rely upon ourselves. I also have a belief in a higher power who guides me. I am currently thinking that all this learning IS what we should be doing in this day and time to fortify ourselves and build the generations to come!