16 October 2011

Blog Action Day Is World Food Day

Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. The aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all.

For 2011, our Blog Action Day coincides with World Food Day, so the topic of discussion for this year is food.  

One of the issues very dear to me is food waste and hunger in America. The amount of food wasted in the United States is staggering. The U.S. generates more than 34 million tons of food waste each year. Paper is the only material category where we generate more waste, but we also recycle more.

Since we now throw away more food than anything else, that means we are throwing away a lot of our money. Often, simple changes in food purchasing, storage and preparation practices can yield significant reductions in food waste generation. Not only will this reduce waste, but it will make your food dollars go further. Food waste cost savings have even greater potential at commercial establishments. Saving food means saving money.

Then, there is the issue of hunger. In many ways, America is the land of plenty. But for 1 in 6 Americans, hunger is a reality.

Many people believe that the problems associated with hunger are confined to small pockets of society, certain areas of the country, or certain neighborhoods, but the reality is much different.

Right now, over 50 million Americans -- including 17 million children -- are struggling with hunger. We all know and are in contact with people affected by hunger, even though we might not be aware of it.

Poverty is forcing millions of Americans into a hunger crisis. Their hunger emergency is defined by food insecurity, which is the lack of access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs for an active and healthy life. Families find themselves buying cheaper and less nutritious food, or cutting entire meals out of their diet, just to make ends meet. Increasing over time, this pattern leads to chronic malnutrition, affecting children and families in profoundly destructive ways.

"[Hunger] weakens families, and prevents our nation from reaching its full potential." Hungry children are not able to play and learn like other children, and are therefore less likely to become productive adults. Compromised health can lead to both short- and long-term problems; children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Hungry employees are less productive and more likely to make errors, putting their job at risk, which further perpetuates the poverty cycle.

Everyday, I visit the HungerSite and click on the tab to allow staple food to be distributed to those in need. I have been clicking everyday since about 1997.

Awareness is the key to change. You cannot change what you are not aware of.

Information provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the HungerSite.

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