Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

First Fridays for Food Security

What is First Fridays for Food Security? It is a Facebook event launched by the United States Conference of catholic Bishops. On every first Friday for a year, eat meals that cost only as much as is allotted for a family of your size by the USDA Modified Thrifty Food Plan. (You will need to divide the weekly cost by seven.) This plan is used as the basis for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly called food stamps). Many individuals or families may notice a disparity between the cost of their normal meals and the amount allotted in the food plan. The “cutting back” that will likely be required in order to stay “in budget” can be considered a form of fasting. This month the focus is on Transforming Food “Deserts” into Sources of Health and Nutrition.
Transforming Food “Deserts” into Sources of Health and Nutrition
In many parts of the United States the visible abundance of food can be overwhelming. Often the subject of conversation, food options and advertisements flash before us countless times each day. Thus, most Americans have come to expect a large supply and wide variety of food at sporting events, theaters, parent-teacher meetings, and at virtually all social gatherings. It’s no wonder then that the well-fed majority is largely unaware of food “deserts” that exist in many poor neighborhoods in our country where fresh, healthy food simply is not available.

Take the south side of Syracuse NY, for example, where residents mostly purchase their groceries from corner stores, not supermarkets or farmers’ markets. For years community members complained about the lack of any grocery store within a five mile radius of their neighborhood. This situation forces many low-income residents to take on an added expense to catch a cab or beg a ride outside their neighborhood. Furthermore, community gardens are not a remedy in this northern city which has only a three-month growing season.
You can learn more here. Also, here is the Facebook link.