A couple of new reports highlight the challenges of addressing food insecurity.
As gentrification accelerates in US cities, Brian Massey points out that attempts to increase food access through initiatives such as urban farms and gardens can actually have the adverse affect of pushing poor and low-income people out of neighbourhoods. Social media hypes up the initiative and, as Josh Singer of the Wangari Gardens project says, “all of a sudden that garden is just full of people who recently moved to the neighborhood, who are all good people, but who aren’t really food insecure.”
A new UK Food Research Collaboration report by Martin Caraher and Sinéad Furey also highlights the challenges of food insecurity. The authors say that increasing the distribution of food waste through food banks and the like can actually make food insecurity worse. They point out that although these initiatives feed the food-insecure in the short-term (which is becoming more and more essential), in the long-term, governments are able to ignore the root causes of poverty that lead to food insecurity in the first place and avoid their welfare responsibilities towards their citizens.
The rise of food bank use in the UK has been a major national issue, featuring prominently during the general election campaign. But a closer look at the relationship between food and poverty shows that charitable food use is just the tip of the iceberg of a much wider set of issues.
In the autumn of 2014, the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty began an investigation to find out how the food system could work better for everybody, especially those on low incomes. This work has culminated in the final report ‘Hungry for Change’ which was launched on 28 October.
The report sets out principles for a fairer food system and short, medium and long-term actions to ensure that everybody has secure access to nutritious, sustainable, affordable food.
You can read more and download the report here