One of the most basic needs is not met for so many folks in our community: access to fresh and healthy foods. According to Feeding America, 1 in 6 Western North Carolina residents are living with and experiencing food insecurity, meaning over 100,000 people are not sure where their next meal will come from. A large majority of these folks have little to no access to fresh and healthy food commonly found at our tailgate market.
Hunger can be hard to see, but also it can be obvious if enough attention is paid. It can be our neighbor, a family member, someone standing next to us at the farmers market. Hunger can take many forms and look different for different folks. Have you ever not cooked a meal for yourself because you had no one to share it with? Have you ever found it hard to get out of bed and face the world? Have you ever believed that the way you look determines your worth? Have you ever worked so many hours that the only capacity you have left is to pick up a quick meal? Have you ever been pushed out of your historical community because of an influx of tourism interests? Have you ever not cooked a meal because you already used your month of assistance for electricity? Many folks in our community and our country have to make the hard choice of paying for food, electricity, housing, or even simple gift for their child to remind them that because they are hungry does not mean they are worth less than anyone else.
This reminds us that hunger has many causes - some obvious and some hidden. Not everyone is met with the same resources when they are brought into this world whether that be because of socioeconomic class, race, gender, or other identities. When we wonder about healthy food being so expensive, should we also wonder why cheap food is so cheap? Has our culture become so individualized that we no longer live in proximity to those struggling and can carry on with our lives without ever knowing that people who are hungry exist? As an old African proverb points out, it really does take a village to work together, show up for each other, and create a community where no one goes hungry.
Join us and follow along this Hunger Action Month as we highlight a number of amazing ally organizations in Western North Carolina working to eliminate hunger while reminding folks that they are not alone and someone, perhaps even a neighbor, cares for them.
Looking for ways to support hunger action work?
Volunteer with or donate to a local organization immersed in this work.
Educate yourself on the root causes of hunger to inform solutions.
Ask people their stories, and really listen.
Treat those experiencing hunger with dignity and respect.
Give up power and a place at the table to people experiencing hunger.
Call in (rather than call out) people around you when their stereotypes are problematic.
Learn about the farm bill and how it impacts the food system and access to food.
Use your voice and hold decision makers accountable.
Join a community garden that donates produce.
Ask more questions & do not lose hope!