The Paw Print
Hunger can be a driving force that motivates us and regulates our daily schedules. We all know the feeling of a rumbling stomach that tells us it’s nearly time for the next meal. What happens though, when we have to ignore the signs our bodies give us when we are hungry, or when the food choices we make don’t really fill us with the nourishment we need?
This year’s annual Hunger Education Week held by La Puente, April 6th-12th, will focus on how the economics of food affect the choices we make and how, in turn, that relates to our well being. In the United States 49 million people live in food insecure households according to a report from the 2012 USDA Economic Research Service (ERS). While food insecurity and poverty are interrelated issues they are not quite the same thing. There are nearly 2.5 million more Americans experiencing food insecurity than there are Americans living in poverty, showing that while poverty is a factor, it is not the sole factor in determining food access.
Food insecurity, as defined by the USDA, is “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.” This definition covers a range of factors including disrupted eating patterns, reduced food intake, worrying about running out of food, or not being able to purchase enough food to last.
While food insecurity is visible across the United States, it is slightly more prevalent in rural areas than the national average, with 15.5% of rural households reporting food insecurity. Despite rural areas being major producers of agricultural products which feed people worldwide, many people in rural communities in particular struggle to put nutritious food on the table at home. There are several main factors that contribute to this ironic situation such as greater unemployment and underemployment, employment is concentrated in low wage industries, and child care and transportation are often less affordable, flexible, or available. Here in the San Luis Valley these issues ring true. A significant proportion of families in our community are affected by food insecurity with nearly 1 in 4 families utilizing the Food Bank Network of the SLV.
There are many programs throughout the valley which are working to support, aid, and combat issues surrounding hunger for people who live and work in the San Luis Valley. Throughout the next week there will be an article series highlighting just a few of these organizations. Be sure to check back daily for the entire series.
During Hunger Education Week, La Puente will be hosting a series of events geared towards food access, economics, and security. All events are free and open to the public. The 17th SLV CROP Walk will kick off the week’s events. Join the action on Sunday April 6th at 2pm on the north end of Cole Park and the Senior Center. You can find out about all the events by checking lapuente.net or visiting LaPuente Home Inc. on Facebook.
For more information please contact the La Puente Office of Volunteer Coordination and Community Education by calling 719.587.3499, stopping by the office at 317 State Avenue, or emailing email@example.com.