The Hunger Games trio of books was my vacation reading this month. This riveting story illustrates the dynamics of control on people and food systems. I love the main characters, who choose an empowered and risky approach to feeding themselves and their family, they hunt, they trade and barter.
Food insecurity is when individuals and families do not have access to an adequate food supply. Food insecurity happens in cities and rural areas, in our country and abroad. Millions of people around the world, and in my community, do not have enough to eat.
As I get back home, I see that my neighbor and Mother Nature have watered my gardens in my absence. I harvested a delicious salad at my doorstep. I ate strawberries and raspberries and froze basil leaves for later use. I set out a few more fruit and vegetable seedlings in various places in my yard. I noticed that the deer and beetles are sharing my vegetation.
In the news, I see that hunger is the main character in our public policy arena. The governor vetoes support for the state food banks. At the federal level, legislators debate the new farm bill and agriculture budget funding SNAP, our federal food support program. In Spain, farmers are reporting thefts of farm produce and equipment.
The new vision for sustainable development will emerge this week from the Rio+20 Earth Summit. As a global community, we must recognize the significance of agriculture in economic growth, food security, poverty reduction and long-term environmental sustainability. In its report on Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change, the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change made a clear case for significantly increasing global investment in agriculture and food systems.
My Facebook friends shared a message that resonates with me: “I propose a garden law. That each community maintain and develop Community Gardens that can put folks to work, that can ensure a reliable and safe domestic food supply, and if gardens grow too much for their community, they can use the surplus for barter with other communities for other goods. That’s real Homeland Security.”
I am very aware of the balance of personal responsibility and providing for the common good. I believe the availability of food and sustenance is a human right. I am physically and mentally capable of growing some of my own food. My mother and other loved ones depend on others to do this for them.
As I pick up my order from the local food co-op this afternoon, I will offer gratitude to those who are working hard to produce my food. I will continue to support organic practices and research. I will continue to encourage my neighbors, co-workers, friends and strangers to find ways to grow their own food close to their front door. I will contact my local legislators and share my opinions.
ISU Extension Linn County Family Life Specialist