Fisher 1 Maranda Fisher UVU Essay Contest Jan 2014 No Food The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed, and one-third is starving. “Food security is characterized as a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”(Chilton) Food plays an essential role in the everyday activities of human life. If we do not properly care for our food and the farmers that get it to us as well as protect those that are food insecure from starving we will be an extremely hungry society, one with everyone lacking enough food and proper nutrition. Having food is a basic human right. The right to food stems from Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which lays out the right to a minimum standard of living (Chilton). Each and every country is obligated to first respect their people’s right to access food, protect their people from infringement, and to help their people access food if ever and whenever they are unable to afford it or access it on their own (Gordillo De Anda). Almost every single country except Australia and the U.S agreed to this pact and promised to the best of their ability to provide these services to the people of their country (Gordillo De Anda) as well as to cut hunger in half by 2015 (Chilton). How is it then that 25,000 people including 10,000 children die each day due to hunger? (Holmes) How bad is food insecurity in our world today? In 2011, 14.9% of American households, more than 50.1 million people were food insecure according to a study done by USDA (Cortez). Think of the people in your neighborhood, your friends even. Are they in this number? Are they getting enough to eat? Where does our food come from? “A significant part of the pleasure of eating is one’s accurate consciousness of the lives and world from which food comes.” (Berry, Back Cover) In the beginning of this nation, our food was grown by the smallholder family farmer. During the Industrial Age everything switched over to factory farming and became more about making food faster, easier, and better for everyone. But was it? Family farming can create a wonderful environment. The work of a family farmer is not just to farm and to make a living but it embodies a whole lifestyle and culture which can knit the hearts of people together and make this world a society of friends. Farming has both a positive and negative effect in our society. On the positive end farming uses less of the world’s energy than manufacturing. Farming sits at 3% while manufacturing is nearly 5% (Berry, 60-61). If the energy used to manufacture a 4-ounce hamburger is equal to leaving your bathroom faucet on for 24 hours a day for a week, (Lunau) what is eating a manufactured frozen burrito like? On the negative end, farming is becoming less and less sustainable. 70% of the world’s water use is devoted to irrigation (Brown). Farming can be a risky venture. Never does a farmer know what kind of crop year they will have. Just a 1 degree rise in temperature above normal during the growing season could cause farmers to expect a 10% decline in wheat, rice, and corn (Brown). Because of these things manufacturing companies were invented and became a prominent part of American food. In an attempt to stop hunger our world moved to a cheaper, less natural food to feed everyone.
Fisher 2 What did this do to the farmers? Rapid urbanization has led to the conversion of farmland to nonagricultural uses, and low food prices have encouraged farmer to shift to alternative food and non food crops (Holmes). When the almost complete switch was made over to manufacturing, farmers were left in the dust. Smallholder farmers and their families represent 1/3 of the global population. In the U.S, the majority of people were farmers after the American Revolution. Today there are more people in prison than are farmers (Halweil). This is due to the fact that the present agricultural economy, as designed by the agribusiness corporations use farmers as expendable “resources” in the process of production, the same way it uses the topsoil, groundwater, and the ecological integrity of farm landscapes (Berry, 16-17). These agribusiness corporations are pushing farmers out. There aren’t very many governmental benefits going towards them. Government subsidies are given to the large landholder farmer and not to the family farmers. The money that goes to these large landholder farmers is only provided during the “good” growing years making it really difficult when crops are not as plentiful (“What are U.S farm subsidies?”). The government is making it very difficult for the smallholder family farm to succeed. We need to take a stand against the government. We need to get our farmers back! Why is farming such a big deal to the consumer? There are a lot of reasons, but the plainest is that conservationists eat. “To be interested in food but not in food production is absurd. Urban conservationists may feel entitled to be unconcerned about food production because they are not farmers, but they can’t be let off that easy, they are farming by proxy.” (Berry, xiv) The question is how do we do it? “Food is a powerful metaphor for a great many of the values to which people feel globalization poses a threat, including the distinctiveness of local cultures and identities, the survival of local landscapes, and biodiversity.” (Pollan) It starts with us. The most powerful protests against globalization have revolved around food. Jose Bove, a French Roquefort farmer and anti-globalization activist used a tractor to smash not a bank, but a McDonalds (Pollan). More protests have been against food than anything else. “We don’t have to beat them; I’m not sure we should even try. We don’t need a law against McDonalds or a law against slaughter abuse. All we need to do is empower individuals with the right philosophy and the right information to opt out en masse.”(Pollan) “We can still decide, every day, what we’re going to put into our bodies, what sort of food chain we want to participate in. We can, in other words reject the industrial omelet offer and decide to eat another.” (Pollan) Already the desire on the part of consumer to put something different in their bodies has created a $14 billion market in organic foods in the U.S (Pollan). According to the USDA, more than 46 million, (Seaman) 1 in 7 American are on food stamps, formally known SNAP (Borkowski) (Schulzke). Food stamps are a program to help the food insecure and hungry. A family with $0 family income receives $900 a month in food stamps. Buying fresh food and meats is what SNAP should be used for but in many cases it is not. Food stamps can be used to buy anything from gum to potato chips, candy, and cola (Schulzke).Without any restrictions our nation is not going to combat hunger but instead will raise up a generation of unhealthy Americans much like we have today. A strong statistical link between food stamps and obesity among women was uncovered in a 2010 study by Jay Zaogorsky at Ohio State University (Schulzke). It has
Fisher 3 been shown that people receiving SNAP increased their consumption of refined grains such as breads, pasta, and rice by about one serving a day (Seaman). There are too many people out there who are taking advantage of food stamps. People are finding it easier to stay home and not work because the government will pay for their food, housing, utilities, etc. Currently the U.S spends more than $50 billion on nutritional assistance programs (Chilton). But is it helping? The rates of food insecurity have not changed in the last 20 years (Chilton). To combat this, the House has passed a bill that will cut SNAP by $39 billion (Borkowski) and are hoping to require drug tests for applicants (Pugh). This will occur by making 3.8 million current SNAP recipients ineligible for benefits (Borkowski). Even if we eliminate food stamps we will still have hungry people. Hunger is something we can turn around. In a Congra Food campaign, vocalist Jewel shared her story. Growing up she never knew where her next meal was coming from. She is now working to help combat hunger. Each and every one of us can make a difference. There are plenty of wonderful programs out there designed to help those that are truly in need. As we become a self reliant world and work to find solution to our current problems we will be become a food secure world. As we work to get the smallholder family farm more prominent in America we will not only be able to dispense food throughout the country but we will also create a healthier and happier world.
Fisher 4 Works Cited Berry, Wendell. Bringing it to the table: on farming and food. Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2009. Print. This book is based off of a compilation of essays written by Wendell Berry. This particular book is all the problems with food, farming and farmers. Our nation and our world are going to such great lengths to eliminate the farming industry. Berry expresses the problem with this and how if we as a world continue this there will be much more problems than that our little paper economy. There are several different essays that make up this publication all of which give different angles. Being able to have all these different takes and opinions will give my paper depth. Borkowski, Liz. “Despite Poverty’s persistence, Food stamp Benefits Drop.” The Pump Handle, Science Blogs, 8 Nov. 2013. Web. 03 Dec 2013 <http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2013/11/08/despite-povertys-persistence-foodstamp-benefits-drop/> This article gives many facts and statistics on the hunger issue in America and argues that with the rates of hunger constantly increasing food stamp benefits should not be decreasing. This gives and opposing view and allows me to show different angles and opinions in my paper. Brown, Lester R. “How to feed 8 billion people.” Futurist. Jan/Feb 2010: 28 SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 25 Nov 2013 Chilton, MarianaRose, Donald. “A rights-based approach to food insecurity in the U.S.” American Journal of Public Health 99.7 (2009): 1203. Master FILE Premier, Web, 23 Nov. 2013 Cortez, Marjorie. “1 in 7 Utah Households struggle to afford food, USDA Reports.” DeseretNews.com n.p., 10 Sept 2012. Web 18 Nov. 2013. <http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865562123/1-in-7-Utah-households-struggle-toafford-food-USDA-reports.html> This article stems from the major problem that is occurring in the state of Utah. There is a growing number of food insecurity with one in seven people struggling to find food. There have been an even larger number of families showing up at food pantries and soup kitchens. As this paper deals with food security in Utah it will be a perfect addition to this research paper. Cribb, Julian. “Solutions to the Global Food Crisis.” Australasian Science. Apr. 2013 p.33 SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 25 Nov 2013 Gordillo De Anda, Gustavo. “Food security and family farming.” N.p.,n.d., Web. 23 Nov 2013. <http://www.eclac.org/publicaciones/xml/0/21970/lcg2231iGordillo.pdf> People have a right to eat and to have food. This article addresses the laws and rights that allow us not to go hungry. This article will create another angle to my paper and will give examples into how food is a basic human right. Halweil, Brian. “Where have all the farmers gone?” WorldWatch Sept/Oct 2000: 12-28 SIRS Issues Researcher Web 21 Nov 2013
Fisher 5 Halweil is great at stating facts based on cold hard evidence in his article. He brings up the facts that farmers are decreasing all around us. The farmers that are still in business are struggling barely to grow and raise enough food for themselves and their families. This article also goes into the problems that the world will be facing if and when farmers and farming are extinct. “Here’s hope.” JollyMom. N.p., 23 May 2012 Web. 22 Nov. 2013. <http://www.jollymom.com/download-your-free-copy-of-heres-hope-2/> This blog demonstrates a way that former food insecure music artists are now giving back to the community. Jewel once struggling to find food, is a very successful musical artist jewel now giving back to the community by helping to lead a campaign by Congra Foods. She is giving back by making food kits for under privileged children and by recording a new song: Here’s hope. As this discusses a real world application of hunger it will be used to show that there are other options that this world can go through in order to stop hunger. Holmes, John. “Losing 25,000 to hunger every day.” UN Chronicle (U.N Dept of Public Information) Vol. 45 No. 2/3 2009: 14-20. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 18 Nov. 2013 <http://sks.sirs.com.dbprox.slcc.edu/text-pdf/0000293982.pdf> This article deals with the rise in food prices, rapid urbanization, importation and other causes of food insecurity. I would like to take this paper to a whole new level by discussing the issues in our society dealing with hunger and bring up ways that this problem can be stopped and turned around. All of the different examples in this article will help me provide evidence to back up my claim. Lazarus, David. “Food security shows no sign of improvement.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 02 Dec. 2013<http://www.latimes.com/business/lafi-lazarus-20131126,0,1949780.column#axzz2mQvGfDof> This article deals with the spending cuts on food stamp benefits. It gives many examples on how this is affecting current food stamps holders and how it will impact the society in the next few years. This gives an opposing view and a different opinion than I had and will give angle to the research paper. Pollan, Michael. “No Bar Code.” Mother Jones Vol. 31, No.3 May/Jun 2006: 36. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 18 Nov 2013. <http://sks.sirs.com.dbprox.slcc.edu/textpdf/0000294286.pdf> This article has potential to bring something different to the research in this paper and it brings up a whole new angle. The article No bar code deals a lot with the nutritional value of food, how it is processed and where it comes from. As there is a decline of farmers there is also a decline in home grown organic foods. Many of the things we put in our mouth today have been processed or been given steroids to create the item that we chew and digest. This is unhealthy and is not only leading to obesity rates but also to malnutrition and hunger. The article gives examples of people taking a stand against
Fisher 6 these problems and putting a stop to buying all the processed garbage that fill our supermarkets and fast food restaurants. Schulzke, Eric. “Obese, Hungry, and undernourished: The new face of food security.” Deseret News 28 Apr 2012: A.1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. This publication deals greatly with the growing rate of food stamps and other governmental food benefits. Every year there are a growing number of people in need of these benefits. The biggest problem in the United States is that people are not starving but just undernourished. This publication puts a new light on what it is like to be hungry in a different way than you think. It also brings up problems and suggests solutions to those problems. Pugh, Tony. “Food insecurity strikes million US households.” McClatchy Washington DC News Bureaus. 04 Sept 2013: n,p. Sirs Issues Researcher. Web 20 Nov. 2013. This essay by Pugh discusses the problems that this nation is having with food stamps and the efforts that are being taken in order to limit these benefits, cut back the program, and only give help to those that really need and deserve it. Seaman, Andrew M. “Food Stamps May Not Improve Food Security, Diet Quality.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 25 Nov. 2013. Web 03 Dec. 2013 <http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/25/us-food-stampsidUSBRE9AO0Q220131125?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews> This article discussed a study that was performed to see if food stamps were really helping people. In this study it was proven that those who are on food stamp benefits were no better off than those in the same situation that were not on those benefits. This gives evidence to support my claim that food stamps is not helping or society and it is becoming just a waste of our money. "The World Hunger Problem: Facts, Figures and statistics." ThinkQuest. Oracle Foundation, n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2014. "What Are U.S. Farm Subsidies?" About.com US Liberal Politics. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.