Hunger closer than you think

November 26, 2012 • Farming Practices, United States, Daily Email Recap

Hunger closer than you think
Security of our food supply and our ability to access it face growing threats

As Thanksgiving approaches, the contradictions regarding food in Tennessee are unsettling.

Nearly 400,000 people in Middle Tennessee don’t know where their next meal is coming from; yet Tennessee ranks 15th among states in percentage of the population that is overweight or obese.

In Nashville/Davidson County, 17 percent of residents face the threat of hunger daily; yet about 25 percent of all food is thrown away and ends up in a landfill.

In a region that prides itself on being a great place to raise a family, one in four children goes hungry.

The coming holiday only emphasizes a year-round problem: Food security in Tennessee, the United States and around the world is getting more unstable. And there is no sense that any government or aid organization has a handle on the problem.

Much of that is because the factors that contribute to hunger and to overconsumption are variable. Climate change is certainly a major factor, whether through massive floods or droughts that destroy harvests; population growth is another, particularly in other countries; poverty, unemployment and a lack of adequate public education about nutrition are certainly matters for Tennesseans to confront.

Nonprofit and charitable organizations mobilize, especially around this time of year, to bring food to Tennessee families over the holidays and through the winter. Second Harvest, Food Project chapters in various cities and others do monumental work to go where the need is greatest.

But hunger – by its very nature the most urgent of human problems – lacks a groundswell of concern that will be needed if, as experts at last week’s Global South Summit in Nashville explained, our planet is going to figure out how to feed a population of 9 billion by the year 2050.

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