"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf
November 18, 2014
This blog post was written by Pack to Plate's Board Chairperson, Grace Bagwell Adams
"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
- Virginia Woolf
In my work, I often reflect on this quote by Virginia Woolf. When I stumbled across it a few years ago as I was writing my dissertation, it struck me as being so fundamentally true that it has become a mantra in my attitude toward food security and the need to motivate others to care about food issues in this country. Indeed, our own community is a perfect example of the pressing nature of hunger and the cost paid by those individuals that do not have consistent, reliable access to healthy food.
This is what food security is at its core. It is not just about the number of calories. Thinking of food security as being just about "hunger" and "calorie deficits" is akin to thinking of poverty only in terms of income. Real food security is far more complex than this. The USDA's official definition of food security, often requoted by folks like myself who are studying these issues, is "access by all members at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life." The traditional images of third-world hunger that come to mind are not descriptive or accurate for many of the families in our community that experience hunger, although there are some people who are literally starving in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, many of the families that are not "food secure" are those that have plenty of calories, yet no reliable access to food that would allow them to lead a healthy, active life.
Access to fresh, healthy food on a reliable basis is not an Athens-specific problem. It is, however, exacerbated by poverty and because we have such high need in our community, the rate at which families and children in particular experience food insecurity is astounding (estimates range between 25 and 40%). It is the awareness of these problems that led a few of us to gather around the table, so to speak, and try to come up with some kind of community solution that might make it a little easier for families in Athens to eat better. Most importantly, we wanted to reach kids so that they could be leaders in their families toward using food and nutrition as a tool to maintain good health and to have fun while doing it.
This is where Sam Perren, Sarah Sheehan, and Amanda Newell came in. Last Spring, we began to work together with one common purpose--to come up with some sort of policy solution that would address an issue in Athens. David Bradford (another faculty member at the University of Georgia) and I served as mentors to these students, and over the course of several months of field research, we all came to see the need for an organization like Pack to Plate. Again and again, community workers and educators talked about food security and how getting kids to want to eat healthy, even if they have plenty of healthy food, is a major challenge. The seemingly intractable problems our community faces in the areas of poverty and health disparities are all touched by this issue. In fact, we could not think of one problem that was not in some way affected by issues of nutrition and food access. This is how we settled on the idea and focus for Pack to Plate, and we focused the solution around the following guidelines.
3) Have potential for other communities to adopt (a turn-key solution, of sorts).
Over the last few months, we have focused our energy on developing what we now call Pack to Plate. The mission is twofold: first, we seek to increase access to fresh, health food for kids in Athens; second, we aim to make healthy eating cool. It sounds simple, but we have a lot of work to do. This is where we need your help.
You can help by donating your time or resources to Pack to Plate. First, though, take a few minutes to look around. To think about the central issues of food waste, food insecurity, and a lack of knowledge around food and nutrition. I hope that you will soon hold the words of Virginia Woolf to be as true as I do, and that you will be motivated to learn more about what we are trying to do in Athens.
Grace Bagwell Adams
This blog post was written by Pack to Plate Public Relations Captain, Cecile Riker
Hello to the cyber world from Pack to Plate!
If you’re wondering wh...
New On the Scene
October 15, 2014
This blog post was written by Pack to Plate Public Relations Captain, Cecile Riker.
The month of November is typically associated with indulging in co...