Food For Thought The number food insecure people in America exceeds the populations of Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia - added together.
Hunger In America
Hunger has occurred throughout history because of failed crops, war, extreme poverty, drought, etc. Often, it was a case of the population outstripping the available food supply.
Although approximately one out of six Americans experiences food insecurity today, there is a more than adequate supply of food potentially available. However, according to both the National Resource Defence Council and the US Department of Agriculture, we throw away a pound of food per person per day in this country, or well over 100 billion pounds of food per year. Some estimate this to be more than enough to totally eliminate hunger in America. You can view a thought provoking photograph from the New York Times of what a the family of four's monthly share of lost food is.
Some of the food is not harvestable (severe weather, disease, pests, etc), some is lost in storage (insects, mold, etc) or processing, some due to packaging/transportation problems, some becomes spoiled beyond use, etc. Additionally, some of the lost food comes from leftovers in restaurants and homes and some is blemished food that is safe to eat but possibly no longer visually appealing, such as an overripe banana.
Not included in these statistics is the volume of produce discarded by many millions of backyard gardeners (estimated to be more than 40 million by the National Gardening Association in 2009) because their plants produced far more fruits and vegetables than they could possibly use, preserve or give away. It is not uncommon for tomato plants to bear 20 to 40 or more fruit each, and the typical gardener often grows numerous plants. Many other crops such as peppers, cucumbers, squash, citrus, apples, and peaches etc. also produce abundant harvest.
Many gardeners reluctantly leave their excess crop to rot in the garden, some compost it and some simply throw it in the garbage (do not do this as this increases global warming by producing methane while decomposing). Vist the EPA's Food Waste site to learn more.
The AmpleHarvest.org Campaign was created to enable backyard gardeners throughout America to share some of their bounty with neighbors who do not have access to fresh produce at their food pantry. Indeed, a gardeners produce is often delivered to the pantry within hours of harvesting, and may well be eaten by pantry clients soon thereafter. As such, many pantry clients find the AmpleHarvest.org produce is fresher than what they could have bought a the local supermarket.
Hunger in America may never be fully eliminated, but it can be diminished, and you can helpl
WhyHunger.org has a assembled a wealth of information about hunger and poverty in America. Find it here.
The ongoing success of the AmpleHarvest.org Campaign remains dependent on people spreading the word via email, word of mouth, or talking about it at meetings they attend. AmpleHarvest.org is on both Twitter and Facebook.