Declaring that "food insecurity is the result of public policy" and "the good news is that public policy can be changed," Prof. Molly Anderson highlighted the close connections between food insecurity, housing insecurity, energy insecurity and medical insecurity on June 30th at the Lyceum. Anderson, a professor at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, has worked extensively on the issues of food insecurity, food politics, food rights, food sovereignty and sustainability metrics.
Anderson's talk focused on the need to change the food system in the U.S., pointing out that over 50 million people in the nation experienced some form of food insecurity in 2009, 17.2 million of which were children. Populations most at risk were single women with children, as well as Hispanics and blacks.
Noting that the current food system "extracts wealth from our communities and extracts health from our communities," Anderson's message was focused on work being done to change the way the food system in the U.S. currently operates. She identified three general strategies for achieving that goal on the local level and offered examples of those strategies in practice. The strategies include:
- Bring people to good food;
- Bring good food and food-growing opportunities to people; and
- Design affordable housing with access to good food and food growing opportunities.
In introductory remarks, David Fink of the Partnership for Strong Communities commented that a vibrant and healthy community includes not only a safe, secure and affordable home, but also access to safe schools, community services and healthy food. He also noted that affordability is vital, because the lack of access to affordable housing leaves low and middle income households with little money left over for other necessities, including healthy food.
Anderson's lecture was followed by a response panel of experts, moderated by Cary Wheaton, executive director of Billings Forge Community Works. The panel included Julia Pon, Connecticut Program Manager of Wholesome Wave; Margaret Williams, executive director of The Food Project of Lincoln, MA; and Martha Page, executive director of Hartford Food Systems. Each provided local examples of how their communities are working to better connect people to quality, sustainable food choices in their own communities.
Check out pictures from the event: