Definition: The USDA defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Hunger and food insecurity are closely related, but distinct, concepts. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the level of the household (Feeding America). A food desert is an urban area where there is little availability of affordable, good-quality fresh foods (americannutritionassociation.org).
Why is this issue important?
- At least 1 in 4 children in North Carolina are food insecure (NC Food Banks).
- In 2015, a Gallup poll ranked the Greensboro-High Point metropolitan area as the hungriest in the nation (WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio).
- 815 million people – 1 in 9 – still go to bed on an empty stomach each night (World Food Programme).
- If female farmers had the same resources as their male counterparts, the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million (Freedom from Hunger).
- Severe hunger has been linked to depression and anxiety, all of which impede a child’s education (American Psychological Association).
Opportunities for Involvement
Rise Against Hunger
An organization doing international hunger relief comes to campus for a volunteer opportunity to pack nearly 40,000 meals with other students on a Saturday morning in September. Email email@example.com for more information.
A food pantry for the hungry in our area. Students working here make food bags, stock shelves and take in and make deliveries. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
A local shelter, food pantry, and kitchen working to meet basic needs of the lonely, hungry and homeless while challenging and empowering them to become self-sufficient. Email email@example.com for more information.
Student-run organization that cooks nearly 200 meals each Tuesday, delivers meals to seniors and the homeless in our county, and farms on Sundays. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Sampling Of Elon Courses Related To This Issue
For more information on these courses listed, view the Elon Course Catalog.
- Core 430: Food and the Environment
- Environmental Science 311: Sustainable Food Production
- Interdisciplinary Studies 204: Edible Ideologies – Food, Power, and Identity
- Environmental Science 120: Community Agriculture: Fall Harvest
- Policy Studies 320: Food Policy
- Poverty and Social Justice 110: Introduction to Poverty Studies
- Sociology 220: Social Issues and Problems in the Local Community
- Wellness and Health Education 111: Contemporary Wellness Issues
Questions for Reflection
- How can you use the knowledge and skills you are gaining in college to address food insecurity?
- How do you think food insecurity is related to equity or social values?
- Whose voice is missing in the conversation around food insecurity?
- What current systems maintain the problem of food insecurity and how can they be addressed?
- Does food insecurity exist on Elon’s campus?
- How does food insecurity tie into food waste?
- Who controls food distribution in this country or determines who it goes to?
- What systems are in place to help alleviate food insecurity in the U.S. and why are they not successful?
- Alamance County is a food desert. What are your reactions to this?
- How does food insecurity impact the agricultural industry?
- Is access to healthy and sustainably-produced foods a privilege? Should it be?