Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Food insecurity" strikes the nation

“Food insecurity” has rocketed to the highest level since the government began tracking it 14 years ago, according to a Department of Agriculture report. 13 million Americans were added to the hunger roster, nationwide.

The government’s definition of “food insecurity" is a lack of money that forces members to skip meals, cut portions or otherwise forgo food at some point in the year. Nationally, about a third of struggling households fell into this category, while the other two-thirds were eating cheaper or less varied foods.

In Bayview Hunters Point, food security has been a challenge for decades. As with unemployment statistics, the national report issued Monday is a pale reflection of how hard hit the area has been by the economic downturn.

The San Francisco Food Bank has been reporting a dramatic increase in the demand for food, at its network of pantries serving Bayview Hunters Point, since the recession began. Community and backyard gardens were already becoming more popular in this neighborhood where so many on a tight budget, if any budget at all, make their homes.

The Southeast Sector Food Access working group is a collaboration of government, community and business representatives focused on bringing more and healthier food options to the southeast part of the City. A study the group administered two years ago showed that 94 percent of residents would actively support most any new food option in their neighborhood.

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