It is easy to take food for granted, especially in the United States. It seems that we can’t flip open a magazine, turn on the television, or listen to the radio without hearing loud and blaring advertisements boasting supersized value meals, stuffed crust pizzas, or buckets of chicken at seemingly impossibly low prices. With the constant glorification of huge quantities of inexpensive food in the media, it is understandable that we, as a society, have lost sight of the dangers and the reality of food security in the United States.
While it might seem hard to fathom, one doesn’t need to look to a third world country or a war-torn nation to witness the stark and tragic effects that come as a result of food insecurity. As a matter of fact, one must only look within their own state or city to see that food security is a troubling and real problem here in the United States of America.
In 2014 alone, nearly 14% of the population experienced some form of food insecurity in the U.S. Of this 14%, nearly 6% of those individuals experienced extreme food insecurity. While 6% might seem like a small number, it becomes more shocking and alarming when you do the math. There are 318.9 million people in the United States. With that math in mind, the number of individuals who are suffering from high levels of food insecurity is over 19 million.
Let me say that again: 19 MILLION. 19,000,000 men, women, and children who are suffering and unsure of where and when their next meal might come.
It is easy to take for granted, but it is important to remember that while we live in a land of plenty, there are plenty who don’t have food to put on the table at night. The first step in reducing this burden is understanding how food security works and how one might work to undo the damages that it can cause. The world isn’t made of stuffed crust pizza and supersized fries, even if the television tells us otherwise.