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Facing Hunger

Two different photo exhibits in the US today chose to depict the painful truth about hunger in contemporary America.  One features 50 people across the country who recall or describe their experiences with the violent and unceasing pangs of starvation.  Hung at the Witte Museum in San Antonio, photographer Michael Nye’s penetrating photos are paired with audio tape recordings of the subject’s first hand suffering.

A different approach was taken by “Witness to Hunger” a website dedicated to ending childhood hunger.  Here 40 women were given 40 cameras to tell stores of their families struggles to meet basic needs while on welfare.

Two different approaches to facing the reality of hunger in our midst–getting us to understand, empathize and take action.

The question is: what is effective action to eradicate childhood hunger?  For the Board and Staff of Engaged Community Offshoots (ECO, Inc.), effective action begins with building a composting operation and starting a local urban farm.  It may not be THE answer, but is an important part of an answer, which we hope will lead to many more.

ECO, Inc. believes that overcoming hunger begins with rebuilding local economies and giving ordinary people greater access to locally grown nutritious food.  To us, a root cause of hunger is that urban poor people are very removed from the production, processing and distribution of food.  We do not advocate moving poor people back to rural areas and farms—instead we suggest that farms move to cities along with movement of people.

Starvation, and its ugly sister malnutrition, began to rear their ugly heads when we as a society moved away from growing and eating local food and instead put large corporate producers of processed foods– like bags of chips, hamburgers and fried chicken– in charge of our food production and distribution system.

Starvation need no longer occur if we can perfect and combine urban food growing with rural farming to provide abundant locally grown food for children in schools (via salad bars) and families in urban food deserts via famer’s markets and food coops.

We are beginning with baby steps, along with like-minded partners across the country and world, to re-examine how and where food gets grown, how much it gets processed, and how and where it gets distributed.

We are betting on the idea that a viable local food production system can produce more local jobs, feed more local people, keep more dollars circulating in the local economy, reduce food-related diseases, and yes, eventually, eliminate childhood hunger in our communities.

Margaret Morgan-Hubbard,

CEO, Engaged Community Offshoots, Inc.


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