When you picture starving children, your mind is probably picturing an African child with a large belly from Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, America is not immune to starving children and food insecure households. It is happening in our backyards.
1 in 6 people in Stark County are hungry.
1 in 4 children in Stark County are hungry.
40% of food is tossed.
Quality food is wasted. In the dump. Food that can be eaten by those starving. Within Stark, food is the largest percentage of trash in the landfill. Do you see a problem here? That food can be used to feed the hungry. If the 30 to 40 percent of the food that is produced but never eaten ended up on plates rather than in landfills, we would recover more than 1.3 billion tons of food –enough to feed 3 billion people!
Food insecurity and food waste is a complex issue with no simple answers; therefore, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer weight of this issue as there are tremendous amounts of work to be done. However, everywhere people are coming up with new ideas and ways to solve the issue of food sustainability.
Apps are developing where volunteers receive a notification when a local restaurant or store is about to throw food out, and the volunteer then can pick it up and deliver it to a non-profit, government housing complex, or state daycare.
People are gleaning from farmers, taking their extra crops and using them for good.
Urban gardens are being built downtown in abandoned lots.
Livestock is being shared, so families can increase their income and have access to food.
Teenagers are developing programs that match surplus food to non-profits.
Fruit trees are planted on urban streets, so citizens have access to free fresh fruit.
Students are recovering surplus food from dining halls and using them to feed the hungry.
There is no one way to solve food insecurity and everyone from all backgrounds are needed. Solving this problem is not just an issue for government officials and social workers, but data analysts, farmers, university students, app developers, designers, accountants and all other types of people are needed and valuable in the fight against world hunger. You are needed.
Currently, more than enough food is produced to feed all the millions, even billions of hungry people worldwide. Yet, more food does not cure food insecurity: a change in systems and policy is needed. Food instead is a tool used to build relationships and connect the community.
Solving this problem is as simple as eating what you buy and not purchasing what you cannot eat. By sharing your food surplus with those who struggle with food insecurity. By supporting local farmers. By gleaning. By contacting local restaurants and picking up their food surplus. By composting. By volunteering with local hunger fighting organizations.
Get involved, the world needs you.