Archive for Food Security
Our food banks here are struggling to keep up. Please help if you can this holiday season.
The $5 billion cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will affect 47.7 million people, one out of every seven Americans. A family of four will lose $36 a month in food assistance, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, dropping from $668 to $632 a month.
In New York City, with 63 percent of pantries and kitchens reporting shortages, the cuts will add stress to an already strained system, says Triada Stampas, a spokesperson for Food Bank for New York City. That food bank, the nation’s largest, delivered 72 million meals last year. The organization calculates that across the five boroughs, SNAP cuts will mean that New Yorkers who get assistance will eat a total of 76 million fewer meals acquired with food stamps in the next year.
“We’ve been talking to private donors for months about these cuts,” said Stampas. “But I want to dispel the notion that private charity can make up for the cuts, that’s simply not possible.”
Food activists expect a “Hunger Cliff” on November 1, when automatic cuts to food stamp benefits will send a deluge of new hungry people to places like the River Fund Food Pantry, which are already strained.
“I thought we were busy now; I don’t know what it will be like then, because all of those people getting cut will definitely be accessing a pantry,” said Das. “It definitely will be a catastrophe.”
This crisis has gone largely unreported, and now it’s at our door.
According to the Off the Charts blog interactive map, in North Carolina 1,708,000 people will be affected, including 758,000 children, 285,000 elderly or disabled.
It’s been a few weeks, and your Asheville City Council is coming together again to deliberate and decision-make. This Tuesday we’ve got a big consent agenda, a report from the School Board, five public hearings zoning and development rules, and several various new business items. We took the October 8th meeting off due to the Mayoral Primary election, so there’s lots to do.
Have a look at the entire agenda after the jump, or click here to see it at the City’s website. Please offer your thoughts in the comments.
Please remember that early voting has begun for Mayor and City Council members. You can click here to see locations and hours of operation for early voting. Thank you for being a part of deciding Asheville’s future.
From Think Progress:
Emergency food pantries say they will have to do more with less, thanks to the government shutdown. Food banks across the country are bracing for the suspension of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food assistance programs, which have become increasingly important to feed the needy.
As private donations dried up during the recession, the USDA’s Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and Commodity Assistance Programs have helped charities and non-profits keep their inventories stocked. The USDA warned Monday that federal funds will halt until Congress strikes a deal, leaving food banks wondering if they should start planning for food shortages.
About 800,000 federal employees have been sent home. Analysts say the shutdown means a reduction in collective American income of about $200 million per day. Communities near national parks are expected to lose $76 million a day in visitor spending. In Yosemite National Park, lodges and cabins had been scheduled to be filled to near capacity. Instead, thousands of visitors were given 48 hours to leave.
From ye olde email inbox:
Funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps—a vital support for low-income families and children, that lifted 4 million people out of poverty in 2012—is yet again on the chopping block. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on a nutrition-only farm bill, which would cut $40 billion from SNAP over the next 10 years, causing at least 4 million to 6 million vulnerable individuals to lose their food assistance, including 210,000 kids who will lose their school meals. These cuts would come on top of a benefit cut that will impact all SNAP participants beginning November 2013.
The nutrition-only farm bill would be devastating to families struggling with hunger as well as to the national economy—translating into about 1.5 billion lost meals for hungry families each year for the next 10 years, and 55,000 job losses in the first year alone. We can’t let that happen.
TAKE ACTION: Give us 5 minutes to call or write your Congressional representative TODAY!
We need your help to send a strong message to Congress to urge members of the House to vote against this harmful bill:
- Participate in Feeding America’s national call-in day today, September 17, by calling your member of Congress on this toll-free hotline: 866.456.8824.
- Enter your ZIP code here and email your member of Congress.
Take action today to stand with low-income families working to put food on the table.
Fresh, Easy, Affordable, Sustainable, and Tasty – That’s what FEAST stands for, and they’re giving you the opportunity to support their mission! Website here.
The mission of FEAST Asheville is to promote healthy eating choices and make them accessible to people of all income levels through hands on cooking classes that encourage and empower participants by teaching skills needed to make fresh, wholesome and tasty food.
All that eating raises money for one of Slow Food’s educational program, FEAST (Fresh Easy Affordable Sustainable Tasty), which serves 800 school children in Buncombe County every year. FEAST shows students how to incorporate fresh ingredients into their meals.
Feasting for FEAST takes place Thrursday, Sept. 12, from 6-9 p.m. More than a dozen restaurants, breweries and wine shops will provide samples. Tickets cost $25 in advance and $35 at the door.
Vendors include: All Souls Pizza, Ambrozia Bar and Bistro, Chorizo, Doubletree Catering – VIP only, Earthfare, Everyday Gourmet Catering, Farmer’s Daughter Catering, French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Mayfel’s, MG Road, Sunny Point Cafe, The Junction, The Laughing Seed, The Cantina, True Confections, Beer provided by Oskar Blues Brewery and Burial Beer Co. – VIP only.
I hope to see all of you there!
I had the distinct honor of being invited to speak at the 32nd annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast at the Grove Park Inn this morning. If you’ve never attended, I urge you to get a ticket next year. You’ll be inspired by the legends in the room, people like Oralene Simmons and other founding members of ASCORE. People who integrated our city by putting themselves on the front lines and standing up for racial justice.
I had three minutes, here’s the text of my prepared remarks:
I’m Asheville City Council Member Gordon Smith, and I want to thank Ms. Oralene Simmons and the Martin Luther King Jr. Association.
Mayor Bellamy sends her regards. She’s in Washington, D.C. representing Asheville at the National Conference of Mayors and inauguration, the reinauguration, of President Barack Obama.
I’m very honored to be here to celebrate Dr. King’s vision and our place in bringing it alive in Asheville. Dr. King famously said, “I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day, education and culture for their minds, equality and freedom for their spirits.”
Three meals a day. Three meals a day.
Today, as we come together over this fine meal there are families going hungry. And let me tell you what – you don’t have to look half a world away to find them. Right now, here in our community, there are children going without their breakfast. Others have food, but they lack the nutrition necessary for a healthy, developing mind. Too many in our community either do not have the means or the knowledge to meet their most basic of needs.
Is this acceptable? Is this acceptable??
No. This is unacceptable. We all know it’s unacceptable. Dr. King teaches us that when injustice presents itself, it is our responsibility not to turn away from it, but to address it.
We can address the issue of hunger in our community. We can do so with an audacious faith that, together, we can make a better world, right wrongs, and recognize that we are one human family – In my family, we don’t let other people go hungry.
For the last year and a half sometimes it feels like all I work on for City Council is food, water, and shelter. We’ll leave housing policy for another day, and I’d rather not talk about water…
But on food? I come today with good news and a call to action! On Tuesday, your Asheville City Council will take a historic step to reduce hunger, improve the health of our community, and strengthen our local food systems with the City of Asheville Food Action Plan.
This plan, with its five goals and fourteen initiatives will create the conditions for increased food production, processing, distribution, and education.
It will mean more people growing more food. You are going to see more gardens, more farms, more markets, more grocery stores, even food growing in our parks!
And this is the part where I ask for your help.
Folks, if we are truly committed to taking audacious steps to end hunger in Asheville and Buncombe County, then it’s time we Stop Mowing and Start Growing. Stop Mowing and Start Growing.
We can convert lawns to gardens, church fields to farms. By joining together in this mission we can come together – across generations, across cultures and across faiths to turn to lives of greater independence and better health.
We can come together to feed our community, our city, our county, our spirits.
We can ensure that every child has the nutrition they need to succeed in school and in life.
This will be justice, and it’s going to take all of us to make it a reality.
We will not shrug our shoulders at the injustice of hunger. We will aspire to justice through an audacious faith in our potential to make a better world.
Please join together in supporting the City’s Food Action Plan and in ending hunger in our community.
Press Release from the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council:
For the first time in its history, Asheville’s City Council will consider a plan to improve the city’s food security. The Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council (A/B FPC) collaborated with the Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment (SACEE) to create the first City of Asheville Food Action Plan. The plan will go before Asheville City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
The Asheville MSA has been identified as one of the most food insecure in the nation. Food Security is defined as “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. Many organizations are working to alleviate the challenges of food insecurity, and one-year ago an Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council was convened to address the strengthening of our local food systems and serve as a forum for action-oriented food policy discussions. Throughout the past year, over 350 volunteers have worked together to identify and propose innovative solutions to spur local economic development and create environmentally sustainable and socially just food systems.
The proposed City of Asheville Food Action Plan includes goals including: removing barriers to local food production and distribution, creation of a citywide curbside composting program, and the use of edible landscaping as a priority for public property.
“Dedication to this cause is going to reduce poverty, improve public health, strengthen local commerce, and create a more sustainable land-use future for Asheville and Buncombe County,” says City Council Member and A/B FPC participant Gordon Smith.
Community members are invited to attend the first A/B FPC meeting of the new year. It’s 4 – 6 pm on Friday, Feb. 1 at the Mountain View Room in the UNCA Sherrill Center.
Skipping around the internets, I found these delectables:
Turns out gerrymandering did the GOP a lot of favors nationwide this year, and the coup de grace was what they pulled off in North Carolina. The top line in the graphic below represents the popular vote, and the bottom line represents number of seats won. Read all about it at Mother Jones.
This Sunday, eleven of Asheville’s chefs will vie for bragging rights for who makes the Most Epic Tempeh Reuben. For $12 ($15 at the door), you can taste these incredible creations and wash them down with Highland Brews. Proceeds go to MANNA Food Bank. “Celebrity” judges include MacKensy Lunsford of the Asheville Scene, Gibbie Harris of the Buncombe County Health Department, and yours truly, a devotee of all things tempeh. Get your tickets here!