Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Food Deserts in Chicago

What is a "food desert"?

A blog entry in yesterday's Huffington Post by Mari Gallagher addresses this urban phenomenon..."A food desert is a geographic area with no, or distant, grocery stores often served by plenty of fast food restaurants." The conversation here is all about access to healthy foods. According to her group's study, a 1/2 million Chicagoans live in a food desert and are more likely to die and suffer prematurely from diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

This post obviously has much to do with poverty, hunger and health yet it also hits on points about public land use and betterment of communities. It also points out that not everyone in a food desert is poor, so it's not just a poverty issue, but as usual it would have a more negative impact on low income families without good health insurance.

Read about Food Deserts here

Monday, September 8, 2008

Chicago Hunger Quiz

Do you know how many more people visited a Greater Chicago Food Depository member pantry this year versus last year? Learn more about Hunger in the Chicago area by taking this quiz from the Greater Chicago Food Depository!

Take the quiz

Sunday, September 7, 2008

American soy beans, staple of Indonesian poor, priced out of reach

This is a story I saw in the Chicago trib from the AP that makes me want to just throw up my hands not knowing even exactly what to ask for or lobby for.

American soy beans, staple of Indonesian poor, priced out of reach

If anyone has opinions for solutions, I'd like to hear them. This story is another case of an impoverished nation with people suffering because of prices of American commodities. Usually, I'm advocating against American subsidies making cheap products that underprice local foods so that poor countries can't even sell their own goods in their own country. In this case, we have gone corn crazy...planting so much corn that we've created a shortage of soy beans...making soy beans too expensive for Indonesians to buy.

A quote from the article:
"A number of years ago, the farmer got blamed because corn and bean prices were too cheap and farmers overseas were going broke," said Henning, 50. "Now, they are saying the prices are too high and people can't afford to buy the food. So, we kind of feel we are in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation."

I feel like I just don't know enough about economics to know how in the world you regulate this stuff so people aren't starving!