Food security means that one has constant access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Nearly 49 million people in America are struggling to put food on the table. That’s close to 1 out of every 6 Americans. Since the downturn of our economy, this number has only rising, and keeps on rising every year. This is a problem in America, and there are great programs intended to help people in need, but more must be done.
This is not an issue to turn your head at. People are starving in this country, the most “powerful” country in the world. The US is the biggest food exporter in the world. It’s difficult to think, as I go through college and learn about the food system, and these flaws that seem to slip by with no repercussion or change. The three main crops grown in America for food are corn, soybean and wheat. We produce ALOT of corn, and we use a lot of corn in our country. About 15% of the corn produce in this country is exported, which I do not think is a bad thing, (Free Market) but when you look at the numbers, that 15% of corn equals 50,000,000 tons of corn, meaning we are keeping 85%. That 85% is being used for thousands of different things, some not food related. But most of it is being used for animal feed (58% in 2005), 17% goes into ethanol, and the rest is either processed into corn syrup, kept for seed the following season, or sold at the grocery store. Back to soybeans and wheat, America exports 45% of the wheat grown, and 34% of the soybeans grown. The fact is that we are shipping food away to other countries when people are starving in ours.
Now, I’m not saying people need to be eating more corn, soy and wheat. The majority of the average American’s calorie intake is from these three foods, up to 67%. This is shocking as you look at the history of the humans diet, based on the 10’s of thousands of years we have existed that percentage has risen from 1-5% to 67%. This is why there has been a spike in obesity, and health related problems caused by diet. Humans are not supposed to eat high amounts of corn, soy and wheat (neither are animals but that’s a whole different topic).
So how can food insecurity be fixed, well it’s a very complicated issue. The government could fund more money to the Food and Nutrition budget, raising it from its 2% of total federal budget expenditures, and maybe dropping some funds to, well I don’t know, the National Defense (World Defense) which compromises over 20% of the federal budget. This money could be used to subsidize farmers who grow healthier food, and allow them to sell it at a lower cost. Or the money could be used to reform SNAP, the biggest program used to feed low-income families. More fruits and vegetables could be added to the list. Free transportation of food could be applied to low-income families living in food deserts with no source of transportation.
50 million people should not be worrying how to feed themselves in the richest country in the world. If you choose to be a bum, and go living the free rider mentality, go ahead, but don’t ask for help. The fact is that most food insecure people are honest hard working individuals; the elderly, the working poor, children, and even farmers. Yes, even the farmers are going hungry. As the cost of farming rises due to rising costs of oil, fertilizers, pesticides and new genetically modified seed, crop prices have dropped leaving the people growing Americas food FOOD INSECURE! Is it me, or does something need to change.