Reducing life to its simplest components can be a relief for many, especially the young, and especially in a world where an overabundance of choices is no longer an emblem of our freedom but more a sign of our slavery. At the community, regional, national, and global levels, food confronts us, along with air and water, with life’s most elemental needs. Our food security, though taken for granted by most Americans today, is still the bedrock of our existence. The earth, the skill to steward it, and the means to process, store, and distribute food can make or break a civilization. A Dutch friend of mine reminded me of what a fragile thing food security is when he told me that during World War II, his father was forced to trade a gold watch for half a loaf of bread.
Eliminating poverty, ensuring health care for all, and providing the highest-quality education to every child are all critically important and must be addressed more aggressively in order to achieve food security. Indeed, as my colleague Joel Berg has said, “Poverty and inequality of wealth are the problems of the twenty-first century.” But in a country reluctant to attack the root causes of poverty and redistribute the wealth that is ultimately created by each of us, attacking hunger and food insecurity are the best routes available for now. If nothing else, they will connect Americans to short-term solutions and, over time, to the long-term one — namely, fighting poverty.
Mark Winne, from Closing the Food Gap