Obesity and hunger might be siblings

I grew up part of my life in college park. Most of my friends lived in Langley Park. I know what it is to wake up in the morning and not having anything to eat or going to bed not sure of what your kids are going to eat. At one point in my life, my family had to worry about where our next meal will come from. This is something that I will not find pleasure watching someone else go throw. It is a disgrace that our country is seen to have lots and lots of food, (we do), but nearly two thirds of our population is hungry. (Evan Lutz).
Obesity is a major problem in America and social class has a huge impact on this fact. Based on Mark Bittman, “Don’t ask how to feed the 9 Billion,” Obesity is a sign of hunger. He calls it “hidden hunger” or a “lack of nutrients.” Jennifer B. Marks states in her journal (Obesity in America: it’s getting worse) that two thirds of Adults in America are obese and a majority of this population are low income, immigrants or minorities. This means that almost half of our population is hungry yet we still throw 40% of our produce away. (This angers me). He goes on to say that we have the highest number of hungry people than any developed nation.

It is quite funny, yet sad at the same time, that we eat but we are still hungry people. We are not giving the body what it needs to function. Exercise levels have gone down while fast food restaurants and fast meals have taken charge. We lack the macro nutrients that keep us going on a day to day bases. Low income families will usually depend on fast food eating because the parents have little to no time to cook healthy meals for their kids. They find it easier and cheaper to pick up fast food than to go grocery shopping and spend a lot of money on fresh groceries. Hungry harvest makes sure that such families have access to healthy foods that are being thrown away but are still edible.
Mat says that it is not impossible to feed the world based on how much food we throw away daily. Evan’s hunger harvest is an example. Though we are not feeding other countries but focusing on our communities, on those neighborhoods that do not have access to healthy foods I believe is a great way to reduce obesity in America.

Sources from
http://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/22/1/1.full
How to feed the world by Mark Bittman

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Hunger and poverty contribute to Obesity

I grew up most of my life in college park. Most of my friends lived in Langley Park. I know what it is to wake up in the morning and not having anything to eat or going to bed not sure of what your kids are going to eat. At one point in my life, my family had to worry about where our next meal will come from. This is something that I will not find pleasure watching someone else go throw. It is a disgrace that our country is seen to have lots and lots of food, (we do), but nearly two thirds of our population is hungry. (Evan Lutz).
Obesity is a major problem in America and social class has a huge impact on this fact. Based on Mark Bittman, “Don’t ask how to feed the 9 Billion,” Obesity is a sign of hunger. He calls it “hidden hunger” or a “lack of nutrients.” Jennifer B. Marks states in her journal (Obesity in America: it’s getting worse) that two thirds of Adults in America are obese and a majority of this population are low income, immigrants or minorities. This means that almost half of our population is hungry yet we still throw 40% of our produce away. (This angers me). He goes on to say that we have the highest number of hungry people than any developed nation.

It is quite funny, yet sad at the same time, that we eat but we are still hungry people. We are not giving the body what it needs to function. Exercise levels have gone down while fast food restaurants and fast meals have taken charge. We lack the macro nutrients that keep us going on a day to day bases. Low income families will usually depend on fast food eating because the parents have little to no time to cook healthy meals for their kids. They find it easier and cheaper to pick up fast food than to go grocery shopping and spend a lot of money on fresh groceries. Hungry harvest makes sure that such families have access to healthy foods that are being thrown away but are still edible.
Mat says that it is not impossible to feed the world based on how much food we throw away daily. Evan’s hunger harvest is an example. Though we are not feeding other countries but focusing on our communities, on those neighborhoods that do not have access to healthy foods I believe is a great way to reduce obesity in America.

Little Steps Count Towards The Bigger Picture

Wow! I am so impressed and feel empowered by everything that has happened thus far in just the first 2 weeks of our INDS 430 class! This makes me ecstatic and hopeful about all that is to come this semester and in the future! The direction the World’s food systems are going frightens me! To think that fresh water is soon to become a scarce resource on Earth is terrifying! After hearing all of the projects for this semester it is so hard for me to pick just one! I intend on gaining insight from a couple of projects since they all are great and very fascinating. After much thought I narrowed it down to my top 3 projects. I decided to breakdown some background to why I would like to be affiliated with the projects I chose.

FOOD FOREST & CLIMATE GARDEN:

I recently had a conversation with one of my cousins from New York City, who is an activist on food justice and conducts workshops around the City about building/maintaining community gardens, policies, and much more (which I won’t get into right now); but, something in particular that he said which I found interesting was, “it trips me out how folks in the suburbs have all this lawn space and all they grow is grass. grass! people are using a scarce resource – water – to grow grass. imagine how much food could be grown instead!” My 2 eldest cousins (the one I just spoke of and his brother) have been in the Humanities field and beyond passionate about food justice (overall justice) since I was a baby. They would always try to educate my family on what is becoming of Mother Nature, which at times only sounded like horror stories. Now as a young adult it is time for me to contribute in positive efforts to help our food system and educating others. I hope to learn many new techniques and knowledge on permaculture lifestyle.

NEW ROOTS GARDEN:

I’ve always had a strong connection with food, open to trying new foods from different cultures. Food is very significant in my culture and upbringing. My mother is big on gardening, most of our backyard is filled with all of her vegetables, from tomatoes, peppers, spinach, squash, zucchini, eggplant, pumpkin, (just to name some on the top of my head) but there are more. I remember when my grandfather was on this Earth, he would send seeds of certain vegetables that my mother loved and couldn’t find in the States (or maybe she just liked the ones from back Home). Overall she loved gardening and felt such an accomplishment from it. She would always share stories and updates about her garden to her 4 sisters, who also love gardening! They proudly share and exchange the crops they grow all. Having witnessed the joy and fulfillment in my Bangladeshi mother and aunts, I would want the same for other foreigners in this country.

TRUE GREENS:

As I’m getting older and becoming more educated I value eating healthy and organic produce much more, although at times its not as easy to practice. I find myself having to settle for Chick-fil-a on campus or not having sufficient funds to shop for organic produce. I would be honored to help in the foundation of a healthy movement for UMBC. Not only would it benefit UMBC right now, it will help its future as well. Having experience to what this campus has to offer as far as healthy choices and cost efficient foods, I understand the need/importance of this project.

Musings on Baltimore, Jackson, and food.

Once upon a time, as a child of eight, my mom shared with me the truth about the veal she’d order so often when we went out to eat: that it comes from a baby cow, kept immobile in its excrement before it ends up on her plate. As a child who greatly preferred animals to most people, I was horrified, and began an initiative to end the plights of all veal calves. I created all sorts of art to distribute, and brought the issue up with every person I came across. I like to think I was fairly convincing; just about everyone I came in contact with promised not to partake in veal again (although they may have just said that because I likely would have burst into tears if they refused, again, I was eight). This was the first time I grasped the notion that an individual’s choice in their diet effects more than just themselves, and that change is only possible if we try.

Fast forward to about a year ago. I have lived in many neighborhoods within Baltimore, and at that point in time I was in Irvington. While it technically isn’t a food desert due to the fact that the majority of residents have access to a car, for those who don’t all of the grocery stores were a mile or more away. While this didn’t directly affect me, it was all around me, and it was something that I wanted to change although I had no idea how. By then I was vegan (shocker) and in the works of growing most of what I was to eat that coming summer. I was already in love with living a wholesome sort of life, but I needed a push to take it further.

That came push when my boyfriend told me of his plans to attend a conference in Jackson on cooperatives. While that wasn’t a subject I was particularly invested in at the time, I take any opportunity I can to travel, so away I went. At the conference, I wandered into a seminar centered around food, particularly urban farming and food justice. A woman named Nia Umoja was leading it, and I was blown away what she was undertaking. She and her family with young children moved from Fort Worth, 400 miles away, to a impoverished neighborhood in Jackson that was at great risk for gentrification. Her plan was to transform the neighborhood into a place where developers wouldn’t try to push the residents out, led by the residents themselves and working with their particular skill sets. One of her many projects she was working on was creating a community permaculture farm, which would both feed the community and produce enough to sell for profit, which would in turn be invested back into the community. The more I heard her speak, the greater I felt inspired to action, and left Jackson with a lot of ideas in my head but no idea how to make them reality. In many ways, Jackson is like Baltimore, and seeing the great strides that were being made there made me really want to get in touch with what’s happening back home.

And that’s how I found my way to this class; to gain more skills and knowledge through doing and through watching others. I’m going to spend much of my time on the True Greens project, because of the immense satisfaction I get through growing food and because my artistic background may be of use when it comes to marketing, and I’m going to work on the Edmondson Village farmers market, because I can see how vital it is to people living within that community, and how successful it will be if we work to give the residents exactly what they want.

If you care to see what Nia Umoja and the Cooperative of New West Jackson are doing, you can check that out here: http://vimeo.com/114244409. They don’t get too into the farming aspect in this but it’s still really amazing.

First Post

My deep gladness comes from gardening and teaching others how to grow food. I think the world’s deep hunger is for freedom and community. In my opinion both freedom and community start in the garden. The projects that have been presented over the last two weeks have gotten me extremely excited for this semester. It is so refreshing to meet so many passionate people who are determined to make a difference in the food system. All of the projects are addressing different aspects of the problems we face with the current food system. My main question when listening to all of the different projects was, are we getting at the source of the problem? The answer that came to me, is that all of the projects are pieces to the solution. My next question was how to we incorporate all these projects with one another? Because while I think that capturing food waste to be redistributed to people in need is a fantastic idea, is it getting at the source of the problem? People that are able to receive food from the hungry harvest are still dependent on others for their sustenance as well as people going to the farmers market. I am not in any way saying that these projects shouldn’t exist, as I said before I think they are all necessary. However, I believe in order to create a more sustainable food system we need to educate more people on how to grow their own food. This will create autonomy in communities and inspire people. Moving earth and planting seeds to watch them grow to full maturity, nursing them along the way, until finally you are able to harvest all of your hard work is an incredibly empowering experience. The feeling is overwhelming and quite contagious. People that grow their own food are inspired by the bounty of their hard work and want to share it with others. I hope that all of our projects can come together, and I look forward to working with you all.

Thank you everyone for sharing your stories and passions. I found all of the post to be moving!

Dominic

The Edmondson Village Farmer’s Market- At the Intersection of Two Broken Systems

I am so excited about all of the projects that we are going to work on in this class that it is hard to know where to begin talking about them. Each one is so valuable in what they will bring to the community that they hope to serve, the minds that they will open, and the lives that may be changed in the process.

 

So let me start here: I love Baltimore. I love this city for everything it is and everything it isn’t. I love the grime, and I love the pockets of beauty that creative and talented Baltimoreans have made here. I love it like a mother loves a child… A child that sometimes struggles with heroin use. I think that the people here are some of the most genuine people you will ever meet. And I want to do everything that I can to help communities feel empowered instead of hopeless. But there is so much work to be done. Baltimore needs help. This is a segregated, racist, poor city. Hopelessness is visible in the rows of boarded up houses on either side of the “white stripe,” and in the hundreds of abandoned lots that have been left to become rat cities.

 

Once upon a time, I was a Registered Nurse. I witnessed what our current food system does to people’s bodies when they don’t have the means, or the knowledge to make healthy lifestyle choices. But being a nurse made me feel helpless. The food industry and the health care industry seemed to me to be conspiring together to fill the wallets of the few, while others paid dearly, many times with their lives. I was powerless to do anything about the system and it took a toll on me mentally and emotionally.

 

Once I quit nursing and started working with children I realized that I could try to change people’s minds about food before their dietary habits negatively affected their lives. For the past few years I have been working with Title I schools in West and East Baltimore City. I have also worked with Baltimore’s Food Not Bombs to bring organic produce to people in communities that would have no access to it otherwise. It has been so fulfilling to work with other people who believe that gentrification is not the only way to make this city better, and that people who are historically disadvantaged should be helped and not taken advantage of.


Hearing Ed Orser talk about the history of West Baltimore reinforced my desire to be a part of some kind of change for that part of the city. It was interesting to add his knowledge to what I already know about Baltimore’s rich West side history. I loved hearing a success story of someone who changed their diet and extended their life. Hearing stories like that makes it all worthwhile to me. The Farmer’s Market project is especially exciting to me because it could make a large and lasting impact on that area. Once the market is established, people will have something there that they can count on every week. There is no use in teaching your students that they should be eating vegetables if they have no way to get their hands on them. This is how a culture is changed;slowly, over time. I have very high hopes for this project.

Mmm Milk…

We have distanced ourselves from the source of food. We don’t even know what real food is anymore. Like REAL food. I have never even tasted raw unpasteurized milk or butter and I have legit FOMO over it. When we see packaged, skinless, all-white meat chicken breasts in the grocery store sealed, clean, and pink we rarely associate the animal that used own that body. Some people will eat a hamburger but aren’t willing to watch a cow or chicken get slaughtered. I think that in pushing ourselves away from the real and messy world of food production we are also moving away from our connections to the earth as an animate, fluid organism. The connections we make, to each other, to the earth, to our food, to ourselves is what is really important. What I hope to bring to this class and the projects I choose are my knowledge and passion for the beauty of food and what it can do for our bodies and the ways it can bring people together. Of course by working with others with similar passions we can feed off of each others energy and creativity and that is what I am most excited about this semester.