Urban Farming News

What is Food Security?

Posted in child nutrition, community development, global hunger, hunger, local food, urban farming, USDA by Urban Farming News on February 3, 2010

We all know how it feels to be hungry, however what does it mean to be food secure?

This is a popular catch phrase across the globe. I am working with community developers who are implementing food security programs in San Francisco. We have all donated something to the Haiti cause by now. Everyone participates in the local food drive. Urban Farming plants gardens. What are you doing?

All facts are referenced from:

Measuring Food Insecurity and Hunger: Phase 1 Report (2005)

Published by the Committee on National Statistics

The Breakdown:


Food Secure

· Food for all household members to lead a healthy, active life

· Food is acquired in socially acceptable ways

· So, farming, gardening, shopping at the market, and trading your neighbor radishes for a cup of sugar are ok!


Food Insecure Without Hunger

· Availability of nutritionally safe and adequate foods and the ability to obtain such foods in uncertain or limited

· Stealing broccoli from the community garden in not socially acceptable, this behavior indicates food insecurity


Food Insecure With Hunger

· Uncertain access to food combined with Hunger

· Hunger is  the painful sensation caused by a chronic lack of food and the recurrent, involuntary loss of food

· Times are tough, the pantry is empty, can’t afford the market, and there is no garden


How is it Tested?

By the Census of course!


The Food Security Supplement includes:

· More than 50 questions about food behavior and experiences

· Set of 10 questions for households with no children

· 18 questions for households with children


So, what’s the point of measuring food insecurity?

· To determine the socio-economic conditions that creates a lack of food

· Behavior patterns that lead to food insecurity

· Resulting emotional and social impact of long term food insecurity and hunger

· Resulting medical conditions

· How people feed their families

· Cross-cultural patterns of food security

· National trends


To figure out how to end hunger!

Again, I reiterate the goal of Urban Farming and the efforts of all gardeners, farmers and free-farm stands working to end hunger. We know how to study the problem, now let’s work towards the solution.

-Karleen

Will Elisabeth Hagen Make Food Safer?

Posted in food security, global hunger, hunger, local food, Uncategorized, USDA by Urban Farming News on February 3, 2010


We are all aware of the prominence of adulterated food. Black pepper and salami are the current culprits. Spinach, peanuts, tomatoes, ground beef…. all harbors for food borne illnesses. Enough is enough.

We need a strict and efficient person to lead the attack. A “Food Czar,” as coined in USA Today.

Elisabeth Hagen, current food safety secretary nominee has an outstanding track record. In four years time, she has risen from assistant deputy of public health, through Food Safety Inspection Service chief medial officer and into the current nomination.

Can she do it? Can the USDA actually improve procedure and food safety?

Proposals include tightening E.coli 0157:H7 adulteration standards (currently, steaks and chops are considered safe if this bacteria is present)

What level do we have to reach before change happens?

My first realization of unsafe food was several years ago during the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. I remember watching the news with my parents. As a child, I was aghast and terrified. Since then my younger sister has served as a quality control specialist for a large meat producing company. As a result, I grow continuously skeptical of commercial meat products.

I enjoy few things more then a fabulous summer cook out and a delicious, grilled, fresh hunk of meat. (Deepest apologies to my Veg buddies, I love you guys and veggies!). However, in the past few years I only indulge when I am aware of the exact source of the product. Preferably, the steer’s name…perhaps that’s saying too much, perhaps we all need to reach this level of caution.

Perhaps the USDA should step up and ensure that food is safe. Enough said.

– Karleen