ChewsWise Blog

ChewsWise Blog

A Quiet Wave Building -- Food Insecurity

Poverty hardly ever makes the news, though it's getting harder to ignore these days, with the rise in unemployment and loss of 1.3 million jobs in the first 10 months of the year. The national unemployment rate is 6.5 percent, though for people 25 and older without a high school diploma -- a heavily low income group -- it is already about 10.3 percent and economists talk about the jobless rate peaking a full year from now.

All of which means "food insecurity" is growing. That bland term describes people who don't have enough to eat, never mind the good healthy food the readers of this blog aspire to. In a good summary, the Nation's editor, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, writes:

According to the USDA's annual report on food security, nearly one ineight Americans struggled with hunger in 2007 -- which means "36.2 million adults and children... didn't have the money or assistance to get enough food to maintain active, healthy lives." 691,000 children "suffered a substantial disruption in the amount of food they typically eat" -- a more than 50 percent increase from 2006 and the highest number since 1998.

Now, non-profits are running thin on donations and food banks are getting low -- precisely the scenario food activist Mark Winne presented in his recent interview with me. He elaborates his position in a recent blog post, saying the solution is not a dramatic increase in charity but rather a dramatic decrease in poverty at the root of food insecurity.

Hopefully the stimulus program under discussion by the Obama transition team and on Capitol Hill will do just that -- create jobs not just bailouts -- and not a moment too soon.

Meanwhile, if you want to see what's happening to the white collar workforce check out this chart of fourth quarter layoffs over at the WSJ blog Real Time Economics.

- Samuel Fromartz