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Food Hardship – Is the Solution Food Gardening?

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The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) recently published its 2014 National, State and Local Index of Food Hardship. Food hardship is a state of being in which there is struggle to put food on the table.  According to the report, food hardship afflicted between 17.2 and 18.6 percent of Americans at various times over the last seven years – that’s between 55 and 61 million people. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Mississippi has the highest food hardship rate of any state at 24.7 percent. About one out of every 4 people in Mississippi is food challenged.
  2. North Dakota has the lowest food hardship rate of any state at 9.3 percent. About one out of every of 11 people in North Dakota is food challenged.
  3. Greensboro-High Point, North Carolina has the highest food hardship rate of any major U.S. urban area at 27.9 percent. About one out of every 3.5 people in Greensboro-High Point is food challenged.
  4. Madison, Wisconsin has the lowest food hardship rate of any major U.S. urban area at 11.2 percent. About one out of every nine people in Madison is food challenged.

Perhaps the most impacting revelation of the FRAC report is that there is no state or major urban area in the U.S. that is not afflicted with unacceptable levels of food hardship. Nationally, one in six people experiences food hardship.

FRAC, a non-profit organized back in 1970s, claims to be the leading national nonprofit working to eradicate hunger and under-nutrition in the U.S. FRAC believes that hunger can and will be solved by government. While government help makes a dramatic positive difference, the trends over the last 40 years suggest government is not able (or have the will) to essentially end hunger.

One way or another, when a problem gets large enough, there emerges a mandate to focus on the cause. The food chain today is a reflection of the underlying flow of money. If money flows through paychecks, there is great opportunity to avert hunger. The trick is, however, how do you mandate the flow of money?

If the flow of money cannot be redirected to alleviate hunger, then working for food and gardening seems more logical. AmpleHarvest.org  – a non-profit – suggests that the 42 million Americans that grow food at home donate their excess harvest to one of thousands of registered local food pantries.

The idea of Ample Harvest is no food left behind. There are now over 7,000 food pantries registered with Ample Harvest that can take your donation. We did a search of Ample Harvest’s food pantry registry and found over five potential donation sites within a few miles of our office.

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