Monday, November 18, 2013

Gratitude - Day 18

I am thankful that I have never known true hunger - that even when the pickings on the pantry shelves were slim, and there was nothing I wanted to eat, there was always something I could eat.

There is plenty of food to go around in this world, and we - all of us - waste an enormous amount of food ... even when we think we're being very careful. When it comes to hunger, the problem isn't scarcity, but rather that there are too many people for whom food is simply too expensive to buy. I've been reading about the Irish potato famine and the great horror of the tragedy was not that the potato crop failed and left millions of people with nothing to eat, but rather that in the midst of this food shortage, hundreds of thousands of pounds of grains (barley, rye and oats) and livestock were being exported out of Ireland and to other countries. Millions of Irish people died because the food they were growing was sent somewhere else to be eaten.

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink ....

We produce plenty of food in this world, enough to go around, and yet, there are millions of people who spend the day wondering about and worrying about food.

Food stamps could be a step in the right direction, but they are woefully inadequate at addressing the real issue, which is that there is no security in depending on others for one's sustenance, and we have to stop giving people fish, and switch to helping them learn to get their own, to become more independent.

I don't have an answer, except that we, as a culture, should work very hard to give people a place to live where they can grow some food, and if that means an apartment building with a community garden ... well, at least that would be a start.

Wouldn't it be very cool if our towns would purchase a few of those "foreclosed" homes - ones that have sat empty for six months or more - reclaim them from the banks and use them as low-income housing? Dozens of families would, not only, have a place to live, but since many of those homes include a yard, they'd also have a place to grow a garden, or raise a few chickens.

I have never known true hunger. I've been hungry. I've been, by definition, impoverished and homeless, and I've even been the thankful recipient of food stamps, but I've never been starving, I've never gone a day without food for myself or my children.

I know this makes me incredibly fortunate, and I am very thankful.

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