THE POOR MIDDLE CLASS NUTRITION CRISIS

 

Why This Post Is Called A Nutrition Crisis Rather Than A Food Crisis
The Poor Middle Class Nutrition crisis is due to the lack of healthy, nutritious, especially locally grown food. It is not as much about the availability of food itself. There are plenty of sources for cheap, empty calorie items. But access to affordable, healthy, local food is a the root of the Poor Middle Class Nutrition Crisis. The major food challenges for the Poor Middle Class are:
• having access to healthy food
• affording to eat healthy food
• eating enough nutritionally rich food
• staying healthy by being able to eat healthfully

Nutrition Crisis
Food Tank Suggests Community Gardens To Solve Health Issues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenges & Solutions to the Poor Middle Class Nutrition Crisis
The following tools for accessing food have both pros and cons. The one thing they have in common is the added expense of time. Some involve monetary cost. Others are financially free. There is always a trade-off. This can also require a significant adjustment in lifestyle if one is used to supermarket shopping for quick and easy access. Here are some suggested alternatives that are mainstream or government sponsored:

• Buy In Bulk

• Use Store & Brand Coupons

• Barter & Exchange Products

• Get WIC & Farmers Market Coupons

• Go To Food Pantries

• Collect Food Stamps

 

Here are Alternative Lifestyle Means of Obtaining Food

• Grow Your Own from seeds and food scraps-Here is a post about starting a community garden.

nutrition crisis
10 Steps To Starting a Community Garden from the American Community Garden Association

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Go Dumpster Diving-This food was retrieved from dumpster diving

nutrition crisis
My Facebook Page, Resources for The Middle Class Poor

• Foraging for Food is making use of nature’s bounty, free for the taking, with gratitude. Be sure you are a pro or are foraging with a pro. You want to pick healthy not deadly items.

• Farm your own chickens for eggs, cows for milk and goats for milk

• Make Your Own Essentials and Seasonal Treats with fermentation, canning and other wholesome preserving techniques.Here is a great alternative. It is the Afro Jam story. I just love their graphics.

nutrition crisis
A Detroit Urban Farm Preserves Black History In Jam Form by Martina Guzman

• Kill Your Own Food-This is a controversial but reasonable alternative. It is probably the cleanest source of animal protein, fish and fowl. It certainly is much harder to obtain than at the supermarket. But you know exactly where it comes from. It also brings us much closer to nature in relationship with the animal that has died for us to survive.

nutrition crisis
Why We Should All Be Ethical Carnivores Now by Louise Gray from Slow Food USA

The Issue of Hunger
In addition to the existence of a nutrition crisis, there are people who go hungry in this country. Each of these crises is unique. Here is a short list about hunger and health:
• hunger is the result of a lack of food
• health is the result of a lack of healthy food
• accessibility and availability are issues
• poverty and homelessness can be a contributing factor
• food waste is a very serious contributor to food insecurity

nutritional crisis
Food Insecurity and Food Waste Are Opposite Sides of the Same Coin from The John Oliver Show

 

 

 

 

Sources & Resources
10 Steps to Starting A Community GardenUPDATE: Man Who Broke Into Restaurant, Ate Food, Urinated in Garbage Can Won’t Face Charges

Trump: 43 million Americans on food stamps By Nadia Pflaum from www.politifact.com

Why we should all be ethical carnivours now

The Slow Food Movement

Slow Food Manifesto

Joy Bilee Farmg

The Homestead Hippie

Homesteading on Facebook

Cambridge Sustainable Food

Grow Your Own Food from Food Scraps

A Detroit Urban Farm Preserves Black History In Jam

Food Waste In America According to the John Oliver Show

Millenials Fuel UK Food Waste Mountain

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Walmart Gives to Food Pantries While Workers Qualify for Food Stamps

As part of a holiday charity campaign, the Walmart Foundation last month donated $1.5 million to food pantries across the country, while hundreds of thousands of Walmart’s own workers struggle to feed themselves and their families thanks to the corporation’s famously low wages.

Source: rhrealitycheck.org

How do you feel about this? What do you think should be done?

See on Scoop.itThe Cultural & Economic Landscapes

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Help, I need a wool soup recipe.

wool soup recipe
Help, I need a wool soup recipe
So far no one has come up with a wool soup recipe for me. Why do I need one? you may ask. Well, it involves a story. So I hope you don’t mind. Have a seat and make yourself at home.

In 2008, when the stock market crashed . . . . Let’s stop right there and go to a shorter version of my story. We are part of The Middle Class Poor. We get food stamps, go to food pantries and get assistance for living. I am not sure how much living one can call this when food stamps is $17 per month (it went up from $15!). Food pantries have no food we can eat. That is where the wool soup recipe comes into the story.

Garden Pool
Turning a worn out swimming pool into a source of food for a family from ‘GardenPool’

One of the food pantries we go to is in a church that has a wealthy congregation. I get clothes from Talbot, Lord & Taylor and lots of other prestigious names. It is fun to get new clothes each month. But I need food. I need real food not peanut butter and jelly or mac ‘n cheese. So therein lies my problem. I had become clothes rich and food poor. If I could only find a wool soup recipe, then I could be both food and clothes rich. No wool soup recipe has appeared or is likely to do so in the near future. It became apparent to me that I would have to find another solution to our hunger/nutrition crisis. I decided to call it The Food Project.

The Food Project
Art & Bytes, The Food Project

The first idea was something called, Donate It Local. I started my research by going around to local restaurants and supermarkets to see if they would like to donate food that was not used up by the end of the day or was about to expire. The answer was the same everywhere. ‘Sorry, but we can’t risk the liability if someone gets sick’. ‘If someone gets sick’, I thought. Hah, I’ll risk it. It’s better than going hungry. But not as far as the powers that be saw it. They could only respond in terms of their potential legal situation instead of the real food/nutrition crisis.

Donate It Local
An attempt to enlist local stores and restaurants to donate fresh food.

My next effort was part of the Global Food rEvolution. The focus was on fighting for healthier, non-gmo food. I participated in that for a while by posting about everything to do with GMOs and their danger. I also announced all the marches and activities I could for Occupy Monsanto and other such rallies. But we were still hungry and the amount of money we had available for food when our food stamps were cut from $367/month to $15/month was a shocking wake-up call that we had to do some thing more immediate and personal.

Occupy Monsanto
The Occupy Monsanto Facebook page felt like right approach at first
Global Food rEvolution
But my Global Food rEvolution was feeling more subdued, peaceful and based in my gut.

Back to Basics and Millenial Food Freedom felt more personal and hands on for us than ‘occupying’ a global corporation. I began to make my own laundry detergent and thought about other ways to save money.

Back to Basics
What a great feeling to make something yourself and not buy it prepared
Millenial Food Freedom
Millenial Food Freedom provides probiotics lemonade now not after the Food Revolution

When we were receiving $367/month in food stamps, I was able to food shop in our local health food supermarket and get the kind of foods we needed to stay healthy. One of my favorites had become Kombucha. It is a fermented tea that is high in probiotics, energy boosting and very healthy. But at $3.50 a bottle and $15/month in food stamps, a disparity existed-no more store bought Kombucha. So I started to make my own. I became more involved in making other fermented foods and drinks too. For fun, I named my efforts, Ali’s Kombucha Kitchen.

Ali's Kombucha Kitchen
Ali’s Kombucha Kitchen is where the miracle of fermentation takes place every day

I now spend most of my time in Ali’s Kombucha Kitchen as A Food Fermentation Farmer doing what I call, Fermented Food Farming. I have no land. I have no garden. I do not have a single flower pot. But I have managed to learn how to cook, prepare and preserve fermented and cultured food stuffs that are nutrient rich and delicious.

A Food Fermentation Farmer
The bounty of A Food Fermentation Farmer
Fermented Food Farming
The tools for Fermented Food Farming

One of my traditional nutrition favorites is bone broth. It is as old as the hills as are many of the other culturally indigenous foods and beverages I am learning to make. Many of these traditions have Facebook groups where I can meet other like-minded folks and discuss our experiences.

The BoneBroth Pot Group
The BoneBroth Pot Group Image on Facebook

We still have a ways to go. But I already feel as warm and nourished inside like when I have a wool sweater or skirt on the outside. I may not have found my wool soup recipe. But wool has led me in the right direction. I will not rest until I have found The 100 Percent Solution for the hunger/nutrition crisis for everyone.

The 100 Percent Project
The 100 Percent Project’s goal is the solution to global hunger and malnturtion
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Are stores making bank off food stamps?

See on Scoop.itThe Cultural & Economic Landscapes

Retailers won’t disclose how much money they’re getting from SNAP. Why not?

Alison D. Gilbert‘s insight:

The entire SNAP or food stamps system is becoming more of a disgrace. This article just adds to the outrageousness of it.

See on www.motherjones.com

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Resources for the Middle Class Poor

social justice advocate

Are you part of the Middle Class Poor? We are. How did it happen? What are we doing about it? These are the two questions I will answer in this blog post.

photo of Randi Shubin Dresner
Randi Shubin Dresner, President and CEO of Island Harvest
I’d like to make a few points about being Middle Class Poor. We are not alone. The problem is increasing. The government plans to have less involvement in helping to solve this problem. For example, as illustrated in her article, Hunger is all around us, yet it doesn’t have to be, Randi Shubin Dresner, President and CEO of Island Harvest explains what is going on. Her post starts with the following statement, “The recent vote by Congress to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — the food stamp program known as SNAP — over the next 10 years is alarming. If these cuts become law, those who are already struggling to afford food will be thrust into further hardship, increasing hunger across America and right here on Long Island.”

Because the problem is increasing and the government will have less to do with solving it, we will have to find alternative resources to solve it ourselves. That is a big part of the reason for the title of this post and the creation of a Facebook group, Resources for the Middle Class Poor. There are many private donors and nonprofit resources, like the Island Harvest Food Bank that are currently helping people.

Island Harvest website
Island Harvest website

Right now, I would like to go back to the question, how did it happen? For us, the answer is simple, ‘2008’. In the same week, my husband was laid off from his job and the stock market crashed. The fallout from that led to my own crash, physically and emotionally. I was hospitalized and became unable to work. Our lives have changed dramatically in the last five years. We had savings, we had security and we thought we had stability. The rug was completely pulled out from under us. We went from being middle class to being middle class poor.

The upside of having our lives turned upside down is that our new lives have brought us extraordinary challenges and opportunities that we never imagined experiencing. Sometimes it has been terrifying. But the more we go through, the more miracles we have received and the stronger we become. Our fear has been replaced with faith. We are inspired to pass on to others what we are learning as we help ourselves navigate our new path as part of the Middle Class Poor.

For more resource information, refer to my facebook page and group shown below.

My husband volunteers working with others and is actually studying to become credentialed in a helping field. I have gone completely wild applying my years of social media marketing studies to using social media as a communication tool for this serious, real life issue. I have created numerous facebook pages including, The Middle Class Poor and the companion group, Resources for the Middle Class Poor. As we help ourselves to grow into our new state of existence, we are working to help others who are in situations similar to ours. Together we will change the world. It may only be our world. But as Ghandi is credited with saying, ‘Be the change in the world you want to see’.

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Developing Food Growing and Selling Trends

Present day food growing and retailing trends are resulting in some fascinating, untraditional farming and distribution systems

Developing food growing and selling trends are resulting in some fascinating, untraditional farming and distribution activities. These movements are making food more available and more affordable.

GROWING
Eat the City: The Art of Urban Farming reintroduces farming into the city is a truly unique way. The ‘truck farm bed’ feature photo is a creative example of this idea. Urban farming, other types of local farming and local farmers markets have created a new class of eaters, locavores.

Food Farming and Selling Trends
Deciding between organic or locally grown food. Photo Credit: Flickr Corey Templeton
They believe that eating locally grown food is the best way to go for several reasons. This food tastes the bests. Food can be freshest when eaten. There is a huge savings in transportion and distribution costs. It has even been said that locally grown food can be just as beneficial as organic food. In a variety of situations, each has advantages.

SELLING
A novel idea in a weekend only, makeshift outlet supermarket in the Netherlands has caught on like wild fire. Nearly ‘expired’ packaged foods are sold at a huge discount. One often sees this on certain perishable items in US supermarkets. But in the case of this ‘past its prime’ concept, the entire store is filled with these items.

Food Growing and Selling
Willem Jan Stamm, the owner of Outlet Stam in Schagen,The Netherlands. Photo credit: Christopher F. Schuetze

A recently discovered facebook page shines a light on a new way of selling and distributing food. It is reminiscent of the food co-op. It is called WholeShare. According to their facebook page, “Wholeshare is a website that helps you get access to good quality, affordable local food by organizing group purchases. www.wholeshare.com”.

food growing and selling
Wholeshare, the facebook page
Another fascinating concept is something called, Pay It Forward. It is practiced by a restaurant called Karma Kitchen. The staff are volunteers. The customers pay whatever they want. In other words, they pay the bill for the next group of people who come to eat. They ‘Pay It Forward’.

food growing and distribution
Karma Kitchen practices, ‘Pay It Forward’. Photo credit: www.goprojectfilms.com

CONCLUSION
Due to personal choice, as a political statement about food waste, or out of necessity, some people have taken to off the beaten path to obtain food. These include food foraging, dumpster diving, food banks, food kitchens and food stamps and bread lines. However one acquires one’s food, it is important to be conscious of the the choices we can make. Some people in this country do go hungry. The options discussed here are intended to help everyone find resources to have enough to eat.

Continue to read other posts about ART | FOOD | HEALING on Alison*s Art Online Magazines from RebelMouse and paper.li, a feature of Alison*s Blog.

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