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Hunger in America: Who Decides What Poor People Eat

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message 1: by Crystal (last edited Nov 10, 2008 01:34PM) (new)

Crystal | 1 comments Mod
In his recent post to his Daily Kos Diary, author Joel Berg (ALL YOU CAN EAT: HOW HUNGRY IS AMERICA?) writes of Michael Pollan's recent claims that higher food prices are a good thing:

"Even though 35.5 million Americans live in households that can’t afford enough food and 25 million are forced to use food pantries and soup kitchens, Michael Pollan insists that food scarcity is no longer a problem in America and that rising food prices can be a positive development. He glosses over the reality that the nation’s rising obesity is directly tied to the inability of low-income Americans to physically obtain and economically afford less fattening, more nutritious foods.

Pollan’s suggestion that the federal government start preventing low-income families from using food-stamp benefits to purchase what he deems to be junk food is as class-biased as it is unworkable. In his book "The Omnivore’s Dilemma," he admits that he and his son occasionally enjoy junk food and supersize Cokes. Who is he to decide that low-income American families could never again enjoy that same guilty pleasure?

I, too, would like to live in a nation in which everyone is able to buy nourishing food year-round at "four-season farmers’ markets." But just as the reality is that most Americans don’t live in regions with year-round growing seasons, tens of millions of people on limited incomes simply can’t afford to buy the healthiest foods.

The answer is not, as Pollan suggests, to reduce their already meager choices but rather to ensure that they have wages high enough and a government safety net robust enough to give them the real-life ability to eat more nutritious foods."

You can read the full post here:

I hope the enthusiasm that elected Barack Obama will continue and take up issues (rather than just a candidate). Hunger is perhaps our most shameful domestic problem, and most easily and affordably treated. Publishing on Thanksgiving day, we hope this book will spotlight domestic hunger, and that in this new political climate, citizens demand change.

message 2: by Sheryl (new)

Sheryl | 1 comments Not only food kitchens/pantries determine what food the poor will eat. The amounts of their accounts are so small that they resort to cheap foods. Education on health and nutrition might help, but who can afford to buy fruits, veggies, etc. They are out-of-sight cost wise.

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