Last night I watched an episode of Life After People called “The Last Supper.” It showed what some scientists think will happen to the food supply after the human race ceases to inhabit the planet. A statistic I found surprising: there are 100,000 grocery stores in the world.
You may know that I’ve been addressing the issue of food deserts on this blog and via Beerituality. 100,000 grocery stores doesn’t seem like a lot, especially when you consider that through affiliates, franchises, and company stories, McDonald’s operates over 33,000 locations worldwide. Granted, it’s the biggest, but that’s just one chain.
This morning, two things came through my email affirming my fear that the food desert issue isn’t going away anytime soon.
Today, Jon Geeting shares “New Food Pantry Opens as Pols Debate Whether to Restrict the Food Supply More.” An excerpt:
I think you should read this story about a new food pantry opening to meet higher demand in Bethlehem alongside these stories about how much the government should try to stop people from opening low-margin, low-overhead businesses that sell cheap food.
Food pantries serve people who have the highest need, who literally don’t have money to buy food in a store. But right above them on the poverty scale, there are people who make very little money, who, if the economy were to get somewhat worse, could easily end up needing to make use of a food pantry or similar charity.
People in that group make up a real market for very cheap meals that cost $2-5. Maybe the people in this group are buying all their meals, but I bet some are going to the food bank because they live too far from places where they can buy cheap nutritious food, and don’t own a car.
And, in the #ThisShouldBeObvious file, Alexander Eichler of the Huffington Post says “Growing Number Of Americans Can’t Afford Food, Study Finds.” As Eichler points out:
The findings from FRAC highlight what many people already know: The economic recovery, in theory now more than two years old, has done little to keep millions of Americans out of poverty and deprivation. Incomes for many haven’t kept pace with the cost of living, and for a large swath of the country, things today are as bad as ever, or worse.
According to the study, the number of people who can’t always afford food for their families in America in 2011 was a staggering 18.6 percent. In America. 18.6 percent.
One: There is no recovery. If the recession is over, it’s because we’re in something worse. You know it. I know it. The folks running overflowing homeless shelters know it. At the Sixth Street Shelter here in Allentown, over 1/3 of resident households are headed by people with jobs. These are people trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, people who are doing what we’re being told are the right things and are still falling woefully short. As Jon points out, there are millions of people one paycheck away from the same situation.
Even if unemployment is falling, it’s not a recovery if people can’t eat.
Two: As my Grammy would say, God forgive.
- Many Thanks to Cathy Frankenberg and Jon Geeting; Reflections on Food Desert Discussion; Considering Freeganism (beerituality.org)