Digital technology and the Internet have done great things for our ability to dynamically map and understand reality. Feeding America has made use of such tools to present food insecurity information for every county in the country. The dark cluster along the Mississippi River and the envelopment of entire states may surprise you, unless you are living it, that is.
Food desert is one of the jarring terms for describing the lowered expectations marking life in suburbia during a time of contraction and economic weirdness. It refers to the difficulty in acquiring good, fresh, reasonably priced and varied food in a way not overly moderated by automobiles. For lower income people and the elderly this can get kind of awkward. Smaller towns outside the city and densely populated urban areas often host farmer’s markets and other food sources not found in suburbs where the groceries come home via the big-box-store-and-a-highway interface. Another feature of life not much considered as the Great Recession rolls along and things continue to change. At the link below there is an item relating to Vancouver, British Columbia. The author’s concerns about food deserts can translate to many, many more places of course.
While consuming an overpriced coffee product this morning we accidentally read part of today’s Globe & Mail. It was left behind on a table in a Barstuck’s coffee shop in Toronto’s financial district. The usual doom-and-gloom and consumerism filled the paper but we were heartened to see one article: a double pager with no ads about food bank use in every province. Maps and graphics made for factually solid reading. At suburban-poverty.com we are torn by media coverage of poverty. We are glad to see it and we hate to see it.
Ironically, we were on our way to Metropolitan United Church Community Services where participation in the Out-of-the-Cold program is under way. Thusly aligning the reality of the Globe piece with our own, however fleetingly. Curiously, we were chatting with several of suburban-poverty.com’s board of governors the other day and we remarked that when we were in Grade 8 there were no food banks, but there was this Prime Minister named Mulroney…
If gargoyles could vomit with disgust somebody would be hanging up buckets at Humber College’s Lakeshore campus next week. The college, located in a converted Edwardian psychiatric hospital on the shore of Lake Ontario in Toronto, is hosting two eating contests. This is a place of education that trains social service workers and community service workers. Suburban-poverty.com thinks this is wrong in so many ways. There are food banks in every corner of the GTA now and there are people experiencing starvation in the world beyond. What kind of signal does this send to low income students or young women experiencing eating disorders and to the world at large about Humber? Why does the Humber Student Federation think it’s okay to put on this kind of event, supported by student fees? This is just more evidence, written in all caps in a font called Frat Boy Idiot, of just how low the level of mindfulness, social consciousness, and general discussion of poverty and other issues can be. Shame on you Humber if you go ahead with this. A growing number of students object to the eating contests and hopefully they will be heard by management in time to kill them stone dead. Even a gargoyle can figure this one out.
Eat nothing but food from a dollar store for an entire week? A Toronto Star reporter tried that recently and found a man cannot live on salty garbage alone. The results were probably predictable enough but we salute those who put it on the line like this and keep their sense of humour! A week of groceries from the dollar store?