Comments to 'May All Be fed'

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We know that the economic downturn has affected many LocalHarvest farmers, their families, and visitors to the site. If you would like to tell us your experiences with hunger and food insecurity, or your thoughts about what we can do to make sure everyone in our communities has enough good food, please do so below. We'd love to hear from you.

By: susan marcero | Jan 12, 2011 03:45 PM | Permalink
Hunger in America stems from ignorance and abuse. The hungry families in my city are not really traditional families. They are usually single mothers who are neglected, abused, and stuck with unwanted children, They have been abandoned and left to their own devises to procure the necessary basics for their children. No one cares because " they themselves are to blame" so why not sweep them under the carpets. Ignore and curse them and maybe they will go away. Sometimes, they will turn to petty forms of prostitution.( I am talking; a BJ for a pack of cigarettes.) often they will sell their foodstamps for cigarette money. The sad thing is that in the winter when they can't get out because of the snow and ice; no agency will bring food to the house so the kids go hungry. I am aware of a case right now where the mother had to go to the hospital for 3 days to have a baby who's father was killed only a month ago over drugs . She had to leave her other two children, ages 2 and 4 with a women who has severe mental health issues. This kind woman was the only one who volunteered to stay with them in a house with only peanut butter for food. The family refused to help because "she did it to herself" and "she is no good so we dont have anything to do with her." I've said enough for now. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

By: Micki Migasi | Jan 10, 2011 01:14 PM | Permalink
Dear Erin, I was astounded by the statistics shared in your December newsletter. It is hard to imagine overweight children are in the same category as children that are going hungry. I am thankful for the food banks that are beginning to see the need for fresh produce in the diets of their clients. I will join with you in your pray for 2011! Thank you for sharing this newsletter!

By: kay Walter | Dec 30, 2010 08:25 PM | Permalink
I support this effort to feed those in need, and work toward restoring the small farmers and 'organic' farmers with enough 'safe' food for all the children. and adults. i presently struggle to get enough food myself...as I was unable to get to stores where I could purchase even with the food stamps. to be very, very creative...and ended up eating one small meal and one snack a day too long and lost body fat inches...and need to rebuild my health with enough 'safe' food...Dierbergs raised their prices and do not have enough safe for that works for me...and when i must depend on walking to get my needs met, I end up trying to live on only 2/3 of what i did before....and no pantry accomodate me, being highly allergic to presevatives and pesticides and need organic only food. ...the churches are not helping...since I have no income...the catholics have the country in st. charles making rules to not allow them to hellp you if you have no income at all..coming in....so as a missioinary for the Lord I wait upon him for everything..and seek and it is hard to focus to pray and write when you need enough safe food...and the craftiness of the enemy causes food spoilage,,,and not enough food, to you name it to interfere with the work the Lord has for me to do.

ify ou know of any farmers who would consider being my friend soon in the coming year of 2011, believe me the Lord Jesus will bless you...I am a strong advocate for organic farmers and God is good...

if you have an leads that could help me with enough food presently...please let me...know... and at Lady_kay104@hotmail.com..

I am studying to become a teacher., and the enemy of God has hindered thus far...I Have faith in the Lord I will help teach science and aprenticeship programs if the Lord still wants...to bring science into the community and have organic farming, recycling, and teaching middle school students how to work jobs...that would be right for them...in the process...

I hope this program or funding you hope to obtain is good for you.

in God's goodness for all of us.

ms Walter

By: Roy Dollar | Dec 26, 2010 03:42 AM | Permalink
This makes me think of my visits to the state farmers market. I'm a pig farmer and buying corn is expensive. So I try to supplement with all the free veggies I get that merchants at the farmers market throw away. They throw them away not because they're all bad, but because five or six tomatoes in a box are bad. So they throw away the whole box. I gladly pick the entire box out of the garbage bin and feed them to the piggies. And it's not only tomatoes. I've pulled out collards, cukes, oranges, etc. Also large farms will leave produce lying on the ground in their fields. I don't know if it's because it's misshapen or they dropped it so it'll get a bruise but in my beekeeping months when visiting the hives I always pick up dozens of pieces of leftover produce just lying on the ground after the fields have been picked. So much food is wasted in my opinion because it could go bad or it doesn't look exactly right. Whatever, my pigs don't mind.

By: Phyllis Poole | Dec 24, 2010 05:43 PM | Permalink
I feel as a few commented that it is the lack of education that people are obese and have little food (good or bad). There are so many parents on drugs that children are not taken care of. The other problem: the social services meant to help parents and watch over children aren't doing there job either. I believe these people want poverty or they would lose their jobs. But what about the new law passed in the senate? S510 that we may no longer give or sell food unless we sign up for some special gov. program. This will cost farmers much money in taxes etc.. I really don't think the gov. wants us to be well fed. If local farmers do sign up for this ability, it will make the cost of our food raise really high. Is this planned by the gov?? I think so and they also want control as to who eats and who doesn't. The program that Mrs. Obama is presenting, I do not trust. I think it is all a front. The way to get around this law, however, is to sell/rent a portion of your land to someone, help them grow food - which will be theirs. This is how getting raw milk is done. You buy a portion of a cow. There is a group called Heifers which gives animals to the poor so they can raise it, breed it, and they are supposed to give an offspring of that animal to another family etc.etc. so that many people will benefit from that one gift. These animals give milk, wool, eggs etc. and manure for raising vegs. This is being done all over the world to end hunger and we should get back to everyone farming. The city people should be able to raise chickens for meat and eggs, and I have heard some communities are making it legal. Rabbits are another animal that could be kept in city environments for meat and wool. We should be able to trade our commodities without gov. interference except they have just made it unlawful! Protest this bill and maybe our new congress people will repeal it. You may call 1800-422-0755 to contact Heifer international or go to one of their many email addresses heifereducation.org

By: Stella Jane | Dec 24, 2010 02:42 AM | Permalink
Opposition to any other programs does not produce food.

Every pound of beef COULD have produced SIX POUNDS of rabbit. There is a facts listing called "29 True Facts about Rabbits." If we ate up 1/3 of all cows and fed their same feed to rabbits, within two years we could feed the WORLD CHILDREN not just USA. Get wise to dairy and beef industry lies!

Rabbit manure needs NO COMPOSTING so even children and aged can tend soil and gardens. Fact: 63 days no pathogrens in California CCOF rulings. WAY LESS WORK!

Use SHEETMULCHING -- That means lay cardboard over land in winter, let all weeds die. NO DIGGING in spring, just mark areas and plant.... in some cases leave the cardboard there, open one inch hole w/pencil and plant your seed.

Peace and planting >>>~~~~>> see song on YouTube Stella Jane 13 Stellavision

By: Kerri Santoro | Dec 23, 2010 05:03 PM | Permalink
Definately, this is a huge problem that has really been around for many years now. Its just recently that the communities in this nation have finally recognized the situation. I own and operate the local certified farmers market in our tri-city community. And for the last 18 years have been trying to bring awareness of this dilema to the public. Its only been a very short time that the cities have come around. Thank God. Some of our High Desert Farmers Market solutions include, accepting SNAP, WIC and a new program FVC to the community to help those families that need healthier food choices. We also participate in outside programs to educate the public on the value of shopping at farmers markets. We go to school forums, hospital forums etc. that cover healthy food and nutrition. We also sit on all The Healthy Communities in our area to ensure we are involved in the awareness and develpment of projects to address all food and health realated solutions. However, the biggiest barrier is the cost of food. They are addicted to the $1 menus at fast food. Which in my opinion has NO value. Its dead food, ladened with pesticides, additives, hormones and anti-biotics. By the time the ingredients are broken down, the food to additive ratios show hardly very little REAL food. So, the cost to value ratio really is lower in fresh produce. Therefore, consuming food that has been thoroughly ripened has more nutritional value and therefore our bodies need less of the REAL food. However, my dilema is getting the public to wrap their heads around that concept. One of the other issues that we are addressing is introducing 'how to prepare and utilize' fresh food. In the near future we are somehow going to offer cooking classes at our High Desert Farmers Market locations. We are also working on produce delivery subscription service. We are also trying to get the local school districts to get on board. Their biggiest concern is the cost of food, rather than quality of food. And in the future we are looking for a community garden location in each surrounding community. However, this all takes money, time and man power, and we are working on applying for grants for all these and many other future projects We are in the process of forming our organization 'OurRootCellar.org to make all these plans possible. Wish us luck and blessings. And of course, if you can offer any suggestions please do so. Sincerely, Kerri Santoro

By: Phillip Wages | Dec 22, 2010 11:49 PM | Permalink
Obviously, very disturbing. I personally was part of the problem. For me, I grew up eating cheap food (fast food and starch), so when I moved out on my own, I immediately began eating out for every meal and drinking soda pop. From ages 18 to 24, I went from 180 pounds to 303! I then began having health issues and quit soda pop. That lost me 50 pounds in just 4 months. 4 more years into the future, more health problems, so I quit eating fast food immediately and began cooking all my own meals (or eating at local healthy restaurants). Now I'm down to 200 lbs. The point being, some percentage of people simply have bad habits that must be broken. They don't realize it OR they don't have the motivation to change it (luckily, the health issues weren't major enough to kill me but were enough to change me). What is the solution? I don't know on a large scale, but I use my experience as a springboard for conversation to help others whenever possible. Personally, I think we should tax fast food OR make it illegal. Well, at least the aspects that are the real killers: mass produced food that contains predominantly fat and chemicals.

By: Michael Scheidel | Dec 22, 2010 06:26 PM | Permalink
Erin, Before farming full time I worked with the urban poor and migrant community for 9 years. Many of the children of these families are truly malnourished if not just fed nutrient void food. I even saved a migrant kid's life once who was suffering from downs syndrome and severe malnourishment. This is the same family who had gallons of orange soda in their fridge at all times. Amazing. The best way I found to deal with my frustration about working with these families was to do what I had the capacity to do. So I founded a community garden (ghetto garden we liked to call it) in a crappy neighborhood. We (migrant children, neighborhood kids and families) grew tons of vegetables and did a number of things with the food; we ate it, gave it to all who volunteered, donated to the local food pantry, had veggie sales... Since leaving the jobs that allowed me to work with these kids, I struggled with the implications of my own work in my own rural community. Is my CSA exclusive only to those who can afford to eat what I grow? I quickly decided to offer what we call Good Steward Shares sponsored by our more well-off members and ourselves. I couldn't run a business that wasn't able to serve everyone in my community. If there is an answer out there for malnourished Americans it may lie in the hands of those who are able to do something about it within their own circle/community. Thanks for the opportunity to comment. Peace. MS Little Peace Farm Sch. Haven PA

By: Steve Romero | Dec 22, 2010 05:43 PM | Permalink
My wife and I have talked about supporting the rural poor once we get our farm up and running. We would do this through the provision of animal protein either to shelters, or direct to families at a low or no cost rate. I realize that this will severely degrade our profit margin, but I think it is an important ministry that any producer of food should at least consider if not contribute to in some fashion, no matter how small. Even supporting one family with animal protein will mean a lot for the future of the children in that family.

By: Jewel Hatcher | Dec 22, 2010 04:11 PM | Permalink
We established community gardens in Morgan County (city of Madison), Georgia. The "all" volunteer non-profit organization, Harvest of the Heart Garden, grows, harvest & distribute year round fresh vegetables "free", due to rotating of crops. We also teach youth groups "Sustainable Food Source of the Future".and "Healthy Eating Habits".

There is nothing so gratifying than knowing you are feeding hungry people, especially when you are growing organically/preservative free vegetables for their growing children and other members with health problems. Approximately75% of our recipients are disabled from diabetes, hypertension, digestive problems and an assortment of illnesses that are dependant on eating fresh vegetabes and fruit.

We "Challenge" others to form or join a community garden effort today that feeds the hungry. There are so many families that one or more members have lost their jobs. We try to provide the fresh produce to those peope/families that do "not" receive food stamps (or very little). Most of our recipients have worked at some time, but are now unhealthy, lost a job, or elderly (all being financially disadvantaged).

For more information on starting such a program, or helping with our effort, you may phone 706-557-7602 or e-mail: lazyhframs@yahoo.com. Our website is: harvestoftheheartgarden.org (please put in left to search window).

By: Ron Pulley | Dec 22, 2010 04:04 PM | Permalink
Our food "problems" can be solved, but it will depend upon everyone wanting to solve them. Our schools have to throw out the junk food providers and hire cooks to prepare nutritious meals. We have to sit down at the family table at least once a day for a shared meal of prepared rather than processed foods. Have a small, backyard garden or a planter box on the patio. We as a nation need to be able to grow much of what we need to survive. It may not always be just what we want, but it can be nutritious. The bottom line is we have to decide what is the most important in our lives. If we insist that cell phones, Ipods, expensive clothes and "starter castle" homes are more important than good food on the table, there is very little that can be done to help that person. Once we realize that good, nutritious food will benefit our health and our lives and it is the first and most important decision to make, we are on the road to solving our food problem. We need to return to the basics. Either grow or know a farmer that will grow for you the necessary food. We are all "solar engineers", converting sunshine into vegetables, fruits and meat.

By: | Dec 22, 2010 03:41 PM | Permalink
Can we work on linking probationers (especially youth) with community-service assignments that require caring for and harvesting produce for food banks and even school kitchens... or anyone who could benefit from it? Our experience in working with troubled kids in the CPS system, who are getting into trouble, is that they could benefit tremendously from the insights they would receive from this type of work (as opposed to picking up trash along the highways). Another plus of this type of work is that younger kids assigned community service could actually do it. Most non-profits don't have the type work available that a younger person could do. An additional perk could be allowing the kids to take some of what they harvest home to their families, who are very often very needy. Think of the positive impact on all of them! Bonnie A Strub CASA of Walker County, TX

By: Norman Kump | Dec 22, 2010 03:47 PM | Permalink
I knew without knowing all the facts about our eating habits or the lack thereof, but what I didn't know was that it was this high and out of control. We have been fed (no pun intended) a number of lines of deception and several are based only on economics; not good health. This is why I am pleased to be associated with Local Harvest. I sell rabbit meat which by USDA's own comment; "Domestic rabbit meat is the most nutritional meat known to man." Most of the world understands the value of rabbit meat in their diet; but for some very obvious reasons we in America don't. It is unfortunate that we don't take a more active role in what we put into our bodies. Good nutrition may cost a little more but you will save $$$$ in hospital illness visits and still always remaining just at the edge of being ill or not feeling good health. This is why I am involved with Idaho's plan to educate Idahoans about the benefits of proper nutrition. Thank you Erin for your diligence Sincerely, Norm Kump Merry Christmas Everyone!!

By: | Dec 22, 2010 11:25 AM | Permalink
This story is so heart breaking. I forwarded this article to a coworker of mine at KHOU channel 11 (Vicente Arenas). If he doesn't get in touch with you, let me know. I know reporters Brad Woodard or Kevin Reece would be interested in this story as well. Jessica

By: Margaret Paskert | Dec 22, 2010 11:25 AM | Permalink
Food stamps should change to more closely resemble WIC, which only allows very specific and reasonably healthy foods to be purchased. I see people buying all sorts of junk with food stamps. It makes them sick and then they use Medicare more.

We hired a young teenager to work on our farm so he could earn money to go to Boy Scout summer camp (i don't believe in hand outs because it creates dependency.) We fed him a healthy breakfast every morning because all he had to eat in his house was potato chips. I saw his mother at the store later that week buying cigaretes and beer. She gets food stamps, medicare, and lots of food from our local food pantry. She has a boyfriend living with her, and neither one work. Why should they?

As the old timers around here in rural Missouri tell me, they used to raise huge gardens and put up as much food as they could. "We had to or we wouldn't eat." Now their kids sit around watching TV all day and get hand outs. When the recesion started many people started gardening for the first time. But, I noticed around here that it wasn't the folks who get food stamps. Why should they? It was the lower middle class folks who either don't qualify for food stamps or won't take hand outs that started gardening.

I would like to help low income folks learn to garden and give them the seeds and tools. But they need to be motivated. I have talked with quite a few locally, and they are not interested. They don't see the point. How can I motivate them?

By: | Dec 22, 2010 09:21 AM | Permalink
This was SO heart-breaking to read! But I know there are Good People and Organizations out there trying to help.

For example: when I was looking into joining my local co-op, I asked if I could pay the membership fee with my food stamps. They said they had several memberships that had been set aside to cover that and it would not cost me ANYTHING!! I was so grateful and it was totally unexpected!

Keep up the Good Work, folks!

By: Peter Sherinian | Dec 22, 2010 05:22 AM | Permalink
In the Des Moines, Iowa area we formed a group of varied individuals and groups to study and look at ways we can eliminate childhood hunger by the UN goal year of 2015. We also have in Des Moines the world food prize and the Iowa Hunger summit. these orginazations are loking at systems to help the hungery on a local, state wide, national, and world level. Although we have just gotten started the work is difficult and complex as well as very satisying. From community and faith based gardens in the Des Moines area to farmers markets and buy local. as well as other projects like the churches that give weekend backpacks to kids to take home to there families to provide food for the weekend. These projects and more are helping, but it is never enough. One of the real problems is local and state governments that are not interested in helping because of budget constrants or administrators and mayors that dont or wont admit to having a problem in there community that they want to help with. Interestingly most of these people are men, I dont know why? It is a very sad comment on our society unfortunatly

By: cheryl David | Dec 22, 2010 05:18 AM | Permalink
It saddens me greatly how far off we have become as humans...we used to grow everything we ate, now machines process what we eat in our dominant food system we have.

Yet there are still hungry children and adults! Not only hungry, but sick and obese as well, and the quality of food plays a big part of the problem. Our entire lifestyle has become microwavable.

As a nation we would be happier and healthier if we got back to basics and educated the government, the schools, parents, adults, children. How I have no idea, but we need to save ourselves from a certain chemical death.

The article was eye opening and heart wrenching, and it made me look around our kitchen at the cans and bottles and pretty packages of food, yet there are three browning bananas on the counter top.

By: FJM Produce | Dec 22, 2010 02:50 AM | Permalink
I readed your write up and yes we have all different and still we have food and money still in this country and it's sad we can't supplies our self and we ever having problem also with our health and over all different thing in our food here in the USA . We give thank's each year and what about the farmer's are lost farm land and the corp's to grow and the Vegetables and the fruit's that is grow local and we have health with store broth food that is fix to be long shelf life and we change bodies so much that I think we die form what so to help us to keep food . I ben grow pretty much all my life on what is grow and raise meat also and I was told you lucky to have all this food yes . I'm lucky when you lived 9 to 10 miles form the nearest city to drive to . Yes I do know that I'm know how to do alot with all and still learning on it . It's just like you have all this food yes I do and I store for the winter month's ahead and I sell some of it and this I return on what is cost raise the food . The cost that you need to put in it to gain on any thing is high when the cost of lost is high if you don't take care of is well . When you put in alot to try sell it is not met it hard to stay in business and just raise for your self the other way of doing it and stay healthy still . It's like they say you put in it what you get out of it . We need enjoy our Farmer and what is put in it for cost and work and money to pay the feed to raise livestock to keep them in business for local grower . We need to give thank's for what is here .

By: | Dec 22, 2010 02:39 AM | Permalink
What great information! I have bookmarked and saved a lot of it for use with information for parents and teachers as I work at a school that have most children in poverty. Thank you!

By: | Dec 22, 2010 02:02 AM | Permalink
I've read through many of the comments and what great ideas! If CSAs and family run farms that sell to the general public would accept "food stamps" or "wic coupons" for fresh produce, dairy, bread and meats - I think there would definitely be a section of the inadequately fed population that would shop the local farmers markets, CSAs and family farms versus the grocery store. Offering prepared dishes packaged and made from the local ingredients being sold (at a higher price with attached recipe) helps entice people to eat better foods.

The other idea I feel very strongly about is school lunches - removing the Cola and Vending machines, and serving only locally grown menu options using some sort of contract between the school system and the local CSAs. In the schools, offer a breakfast, lunch, and dinner program, with sliding-scale pricing based on household income.

Educating parents seems to be the next priority. The benefits of eating better, cooking more efficiently for the entire week, and learning how to store fresh ingredients in bulk (freezing, cannning, etc) makes a big impact on your household budget for food. Buy your ingredients one day of the week, prepare most of it "ahead" and store in fridge for easy access throughout the week. Time should not be a deciding factor between eating well and eating junk.

By: | Dec 22, 2010 01:28 AM | Permalink
Actually, I think that the "one in six" number is vastly over-inflated, or maybe just a number picked out of thin air by the activists. Don't believe everything you see in the news - the media have a way to get you to believe almost anything they say!

I don't doubt for a minute that there are some hungry children in the US, or that "junk food" accounts for a lot of problems - nutrition is something that is not taught very well in our world today. Add to that selfish and over-worked parents, who are more interested in themselves than they are the welfare of their children, and you have the seeds of a horrible situation. To most parents today, children are the unwanted by-product of the fun they have in the bedroom, not a gift from God, or the heritage of the future. The "what's in it for me" generation will pay a heavy price for that attitude - but the children of that generation will pay the ultimate price!

By: Westerly Donohue | Dec 22, 2010 12:37 AM | Permalink
Dear Erin: What a wonderful idea--to create an online dialogue--about the poverty and hunger discussion. Could you possibly create opportunities for readers to respond to comments made? I know this is a challenging request, but it would be great to be able to do this.

Best wishes,

Westerly A. Donohue (Ms.) Adjunct Professor, Sociology

Doctoral Student The New School for Social Research Department of Sociology and Historical Studies Committee 16 East 16th Street New York, NY 10003

By: Candi Rousseau | Dec 22, 2010 12:37 AM | Permalink
Your article is very true! We take helping people very seriously! Our CSA sponsors 2 familys in need of food every year! Our CSA family are very proud! We deliver a basket of vegetables and eggs, this includes recipes and classes on how to preserve your food. It might not seem like much but each year we help 2 familys! It has made a deference! We also connect them with other farmers that may offer a discount on over production of crops! Knoweldge is important. YOU MAY FEED A MAN FOR A DAY BUT TEACH HIM TO FISH AND HE EATS FOR A LIFETIME! Maybe this could be a trend to start amoung other CSA producers! The Kidd's Hill Billy Farm

By: | Dec 22, 2010 12:05 AM | Permalink
First of all, I want to say how much I appreciate your newsletters and all of the information that you share with your readers.

I too share concerns about our nation and the food that we are consuming. I didn't always feel this way. In fact, I didn't really even give it much thought. At first it was "McDonald's was a treat" for the kids but as the kids got older, involved in more activities, and I was working more hours, it just made sense to pick up dinner. It was easy, it was fast and it was cheap. That is what the mantra had become for our nation "fast, easy, cheap" and add to that, "super-sized". The more you bought, the cheaper it was. As the kids grew up and I found more time on my hands, I found I was cooking more, enjoying it and also enjoying my meals more, as well. It tasted better and I was able to maintain my weight. Imagine that!

Today I see so much farmland giving way to developments, housing and shopping. A very sad situation but I also see a movement under way to turn that around. People growing their own food, encouraging home gardens, community gardens, etc. It is all so promising. In fact, I started a garden several years ago, which I'm sure totally astonished my husband. I never showed any interest in this previously. My thought is, If I failed my children in this regard, I promise I will not fail my grandchildren. I will be a better example and hopefully they too will grow to love "homegrown and natural".

By: | Dec 21, 2010 10:23 PM | Permalink
I work at the local hospital. I have known about this travesty for many years. I was amazed two years ago when I found out that the hospital foundation was also aware and have spent many donated dollars to an after school dinner program where children that are unable to have food at home , can stay after school and have dinner. These are the children that are able to have free breakfast as well. I am not sure which schools they donate to but I have given my dollars for the last 2 years for this program. I am very proud of where I work and this just made me all the more proud to work there.

By: | Dec 21, 2010 10:07 PM | Permalink
Living in rural Missouri, I have contact with low income families and find that the problem is not the low income. Missouri hands out excessive amounts of financial assistance to the low income single mothers. I know a single mother of 3 who gets so much in EBT that she buys crab legs for her boyfriend and sells part of what is on her card to buy cigarettes etc. Another young mother was given a fresh strawberry at my house ( her first ever strawberry ) and thought it tasted like lip gloss. We have a food pantry in our small town and when I passed on Thanksgiving I saw crates of frozen fresh corn on the cob out front that had not been taken by the participents the day before. I guess none of these people ever thought about freezing it for the future. Obviously it had to be thrown out. Another time I passed as kids were smashing potatoes by riding their bicycles over them. We are in a sad state that will take much education to change.

By: Ingrid Nicholson | Dec 21, 2010 10:02 PM | Permalink
Hello, Thank you for this article and the ideas from many who have commented. When my mom was raising my sister and I alone, she was concerned one year that she would not be able to provide anything for Christmas. She shared her concerns with her manager of a large department store. He asked her to stay after the store closed and allowed her to choose gifts for us and helped her provide a Christmas meal. My mom is a hard worker and never asked the government for a penny. She promised herself and God that when she found herself financially stable she would give back to others who were struggling like she was. Now, as a grandmother of many children - her best gift to us is that she is now in her 2nd year as the founder of an organization called "Christmas Come True". She will be providing Christmas to over 150 children in the Flagler Beach, FL area. Many people who were helped last year have volunteered this year. The ultimate "pay it forward"! Blessing to All this Christmas and New Year, Ingrid

By: | Dec 21, 2010 09:30 PM | Permalink
I help with event planning in a small town resturant in Western Pa. and we would be very interested in having a Farmers Market at our place of business at this location near Warren, Pa. If anyone could help me reach out to anyone who might be interested in taking part in something like this please let me know.

By: | Dec 21, 2010 09:19 PM | Permalink
I very much enjoyed your article. I can and have related personally to this article. I was raised by young parents who could barley afford for my brother and I to wear nice clothes. If it weren't for my family actually owning farms or gardens I would not have been raised on organically grown in season veggies and fruits. I have taken my family roots and have started myself as an adult to eat locally when possible within 25 miles of my home. I have recently moved from Delaware to Pennsylvania. Over a year ago I had written to the first lady Mrs. Obama and the president as well as Delaware's governor the start using local CSA's to provide the food source for the school systems in every state. Not only would this benefit the children it would also help local farmers. To no avail my letters were never answered and probably never read by the person it was intended for. I hope that we all start pitching in and helping to be role models to young children to eat right, grow organic and live healthy. Happy holidays to all...

By: | Dec 21, 2010 09:00 PM | Permalink
Neither a victim mentality nor a holier-than-thou attitude is going to shift anything!

As long as we continue as a culture to treat food as a commodity, i.e. a product to be produced, bought and sold for profit, there is going to be a hunger problem AND a problem with adequate food quality. This is above and beyond any scarcity or malnutrition related to drought, war, political aggression, greed, lack of education, cultural preferences, etc..

Awareness and education are key. Charity is fine, but can create dependencies (as well as those moralistic class airs). People must work in their communities to teach one another how to take back responsibility for securing safe, adequate, local food supplies!

This is a lot more than patting ourselves on the back for shopping at the farmers' market or being a CSA shareholder. Let's not be complacent or pray without acting. Each one teach one...

Nancy Maurelli

By: Betsy Harvin | Dec 21, 2010 08:52 PM | Permalink
It's not about the economics, it's about choices that parents make. 1 in 6 children in this country go hungry? That's not distressing economics, that's distressing choices parents make. Food is comparatively cheap in this country, and our nature is to open arms wide to feed the hungry. I used to go into the homes of poor people all the time, and was amazed at the bling and junk food I saw. I used to volunteer with various "help the poor" agencies, until I saw that on some level, enabling poor clients kept people employed and was easier than the real work of teaching poor clients to take responsiblity for themselves. It's hard to change behavior, and there's sure not much of a constituency in it: asking people, rich or poor, to truly take responsibility for themselves - or their kids. What works, I think, is to deploy money and time on opportunities that pop up: pulling out 2 precious sleeves of those perfect Florida oranges from Local Harvest and sharing them with poor kids and their families in hour 5 of a 6 hour karate tournament, for one. It's a small gesture, I know, but not a token one. By hour 5? those oranges tasted like nectar of the gods to those 50 people. It's a start, and I've still got a good 50 of those perfect oranges at home.

By: Michael Thompson | Dec 21, 2010 08:49 PM | Permalink
Thank you LocalHarvest.org, for all the wonderful resources you provide. I love how easy it is to find local food growers in detail, on a national map!

Regarding the issues of underfed and obese children, you are correct to assert that we can all do something. Here are a few ideas we're working on in my region:

1 - Build and plant organic gardens (and greenhouses in cold country) at high schools, in partnerships with school districts and local nurseries / farmers / teachers, and develop school year and community ag-ed programs, for year-round education. Here's more on our example: http://rfhs-greenhouse.blogspot.com/

2 - This provides some fresh food for the cafeteria, and allows us to add school and community classes on cooking and food preservation, as in this example: http://canningworkshops.blogspot.com/

3 - Make partnerships and create business opportunities (micro loans and contract farming) among local investors and local farmers, to grow organic produce year-round (seasonal greenhouses required) for hospitals, schools, and other institutions and businesses with cafeterias.

- My personal philosophy is that no matter what you like to complain about in the global food industry, you can create your own local alternatives that are healthier, easier on the environment, and keep your money circulating in your community, instead of on Wall Street. Just get started, and it will all make $ense. Or you can just keep complaining, if you think it feels better than the satisfaction of growing something worthwhile.

MT

By: | Dec 21, 2010 08:22 PM | Permalink
Well haven't you been living quite the charmed life that you are unaware of people going to bed hungry. Not only do we go to bed hungry we go about our day that way as well. I work a 9-5 job and my children go to school with all the other children, we do not qualify for foodstamps and even if we did it would not amount to much so it is not worth going through the hassle involved. My children DO rec've the reduced price lunch and breakfast at school. I insist they eat it since breakfast is only 30 cents and lunch is only 40 cents per day for each. I work in a doctors office and rely on the food the drug reps bring for me to eat for lunch or breakfast. Dinner is whatever we can scrape together. The rest of my salary pays for gas to get to work and rent for my apartment and utilites. This leaves very little left for food. So, you see we all aren't living great and wonderful lives like you with an overabundance of fabulous fastfood and whatever we want from the grocery store.

By: Sheila McDevitt | Dec 21, 2010 08:08 PM | Permalink
In NYC we just started accepting Food Stamps at the Farmers Markets and the city council is looking into getting that program into the CSA's as well. The Farmers say that the majority of food stamps are being spent on fruits, veggies, cheeses and breads with very little going to candy and pastry type options. So if people have a healthy choice with people willing to talk to them about those choices, they choose well.

Joan from Elmore County - get your master gardeners to sell directly from the gardens (you might need a permit), I'm originally from Boise and live in Brooklyn now, but a lot of gardens in Brooklyn sold directly out of their gardens and farmer's markets have grown up around them.

By: Suzanne Frisse | Dec 21, 2010 07:38 PM | Permalink
Erin, I just lost my seventh grade science teacher husband, Dan, on November 22nd after 26 years together. During the last twelve days he was alive, we were trying to decide on a way to "pay it forward" to our community. I bake breads and cakes in addition to all the jellies and mustard I make, and after he passed away, I decided my gift is to do a "drive-by" breading at least once it not twice a week to well deserving and needy folks. Tomorrow's group will be 80 disadvantaged children in the KC area - featuring a roasted red grape focaccia that tastes like a cherry pie but with none of the icky sticky sugar - it's all fruit! We can all do little things to help these kids enjoy even one meal, especially during the holidays. Suzanne from Meadowlark Acres, Stilwell, Kansas

By: Dennis Norton | Dec 21, 2010 07:33 PM | Permalink
Over the past several years here at Royal Oak Farm Orchard, we have worked with Gleaners for the Lord. We have them come in and pick up the good drops from a busy Saturday of U-Pick. Since we are closed on Sundays, Sunday afternoon is a great time for them to glean the orchard.

This past season they removed 78,875 pounds of apples from our orchard. This includes both what was gleaned and the bins that were donated athte end of the season. For more information on this organization in northern Illinois, visit their web site at http://www.gleanersforthelord.org/home.html

By: massey lambard | Dec 21, 2010 07:29 PM | Permalink
My wife and I are retired and volunteer as teachers' aides/tutors at our local public school's kindergarten classes. Many of our kids get free breakfasts and lunches at school. Your concern is the very one voiced by several of our teachers. We're looking at a way we might be able to keep school open for meals during the holidays.

I'm afraid that we live in a land of plenty for some, but not plenty for all. That's not right.

By: Marvin Zinn | Dec 21, 2010 07:21 PM | Permalink
Parents seldom know the real cost of cheap food.

What made me most angry was in a Walgreens' store where I worked. Customers come in for a doctor's prescription; my taxes pay for the doctor and the drug. Then they come to the register with a cart full of candy and other junk food, and use their EBT (food stamps) card, which means my taxes pay for the junk that make them more sick.

During three years of this, my pay after taxes was so little that I had to limit my food cost to one dollar per meal. But I did not buy cheap food that would make me sick. I bought from local farms, or something organic. I never needed a doctor or drug.

By: MONA VAN VOOREN | Dec 21, 2010 07:25 PM | Permalink
OK, so I presume this article is supposed to make me feel guilty, more or less.... well, it won't. The only unfortunate reality about this article is what is hidden between the lines: A) this country really doesn't have a clue about healthy food as far as say, (and this is my guess) about 75 % of its population are concerned B) this country doesn't care to set up proper education channels in school, and early on, to educate its citizens (when one can hardly expect this education to come from the side of equally uneducated parents) C) even the school system won't fix their deplorable food supplies in students' cafeterias. They keep feeding the kids junkfood, when all it takes to change this is to switch to a 'frozen food' tray system, which would be healthier, more cost-effiicient and definitely more varied. But my finding is that "we" prefer to keep the situation as is, so we can go on complaining about how bad everything is! I have suggested my solution to a few principals, and they clearly showed that they don't care to fix this issue. D) Sadly, and why don't we have statistics on that when we can find statistics on everything??? the folks that I see in supermarkets spending lots of money on cigarettes, booze, and lottery tickets, are often the very parents of the kids who don't get fed enough. So, how is all of that supposed to make me feel bad? Just wondering! Happy Holidays!

By: Lizzy Poole | Dec 21, 2010 07:17 PM | Permalink
If the students are doing any statistical research, I'd like to see them research how many nutritional breakfasts could be bought if the parents of troubled families gave up smoking!

By: Bruce Magnuson | Dec 21, 2010 06:50 PM | Permalink
Since your Husban has access to that many kids. He could have them do a science project and check those stats?

By: Margaret Paskert | Dec 21, 2010 06:48 PM | Permalink
It's a huge problem. The food that most kids get fed in school is extremely unhealthy. At least they do eat, but in the school I substitute teach at this is a typical menu: Breakfast - frosted pop-tart and chocolate milk. Lunch - corn dog, fries, cookies, canned fruit, and chocolate milk. Kindergarten afternoon snack - cookies and chocolate milk or sugar loaded "juice". Where do you start to improve such a situation? The schools say they can't afford better food. Our society is increasingly divided with only the well off being able to afford to eat healthy. It's ironic that the wealthy pay most of the taxes that pay for the health care system to take care of the unhealthy poor who can't afford to eat healthy. There is also a lack of education in the schools on what healthy eating is. Poor folks in the country, like where I live in rural Missouri, used to grow their own food. Now they get the government hand outs, which are mostly not healthy. It's a huge, broken system.

By: Tom Rubino | Dec 21, 2010 06:47 PM | Permalink
we have been struggling with this as well. we have a great network with our customers to collect canned foods for the local food pantry but we still have problems with distribution of "farm-fresh" items. There has to be a better storage/distribution at their end as well since fresh produce is so perishable. In the city they have a wonderful program called Food Harvest where the restaurants contribute all kinds of foods for daily distribution to churches and shelters who prepare meals for their needy. During the Holidays there are some "one time" events/dinners etc, when we can deliver fresh dairy products for immediate distribution, but year-round is another story because most of the food banks only have the means to store non-perishable foods.

By: | Dec 21, 2010 06:20 PM | Permalink
As someone from Boise Idaho, and the Mountain Home Idaho area, I'd love to know if there is anyone out there currently needing help with their projects. I belong to the Master Gardeners of Elmore County, and some of our members got a community garden off the ground this summer. In this time of the year, I don't know of any active projects, but I'd like to hear about them, and hear about what others are doing, specifically, to get their projects off the ground. Joan Blurton

By: | Dec 21, 2010 06:19 PM | Permalink
We have so much to be greatful for and appl;aud your efforts with localfood banks in regard to fresh, unpolluted food we all need so desperately and the poor do not have access to. Fine poem of John Robbins, a true hero- to which I would add

and live in peace for evermore.! Peace to all this Holiday season and for the New Year. Gracia Bittner, Batavia, IL

By: Dave Petrich | Dec 21, 2010 06:07 PM | Permalink
I am working on building a unique local food distribution and education system utilizing the sea as it was done a century ago. I am hoping to educate patrons about healthy lifestyle choices and the benefits of eating local, seasonally available foods. I believe that the mainstream food system in the US has largely failed and that lower income families are first to see the results of poor education and "junk-food profiteering without consciousness".

Farmboat.org is helping to connect rural food producers with inner-city residents in coastal and riverside communities. Our goal is to develop a floating market program that can cost effectively serve communities that do not have reliable access to quality local foods. At the same time, we are demonstrating the values ingrained in century-old maritime traditions to inspire a "getting back to basics" mindset about food.

Please visit our web site and blog at www.FarmBoat.org for more information about this unique project.

By: | Dec 21, 2010 05:31 PM | Permalink
Another very sad item I saw on the news recently was that in Detroit's inner city area, there are no stores that sell fresh fruit or vegetables! How can that be, in this country? It is truely shameful.

By: | Dec 21, 2010 05:18 PM | Permalink
Thank you for bringing what I consider tragic statistics to everyone's attention.

The Lord has been putting this on my heart for a while now and this comming season I've seriously been considering a Feed the Hungry type program rather than our CSA's, working through our local churches, word of mouth and Community Food Shelf. We don't have it all figured out yet, but this is definitely the direction we are being led. Fortunately we are able to do this as we currently both work full-time outside of the farm.


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