Food security requires two immediate tasks: Feed the hungry now, and end hunger asap. These tasks include good quality food, access to full service groceries, health care/education and finding jobs for those without work or disabled. One promising solution is to buy from local farmers. This assures farmers a constant market from state institutions like schools and elderly care facilities and boosts the proportion of healthy, fresh food. State-wide farm-to-school, farm-to-elder and farm-to-food bank programs are doable pressing dreams. Healthy food is safe food and, with increasing global trade, food safety costs and knowledge of the farm and food manufacturer has greatly increased.
Adequate healthy food is an immediate concern because New Mexico Association of Food Banks provides emergency food for an estimated 240,000 different people annually. NM ranks 49th in children’s food insecurity (120,000 or 24% of all children are not sure of their next meal). Seventeen percent of all NM households are food insecure; 6% undergo daily, chronic hunger; 18% live below the poverty line, limiting their ability to purchase enough and healthier foodstuffs. Tax credits for good groceries in food deserts would enable groceries to move into rural areas where citizens have to drive 40 to 60 miles to a food store; and enable full-service groceries to move into poorer urban areas that are under-served. Because food access and poverty are so closely linked, the dream includes multi-tasking: emergency food facilities also serve as job-training and counseling centers.
Map: Healthy Food For All
This map shows the connection between poverty and food insecurity. Russet areas are counties with 17% or more poverty rates and food stamp needs. The inset map shows areas with food banks. Food access is a major problem in poor sections of cities, which lack full-service groceries, and in rural areas with long distances between home and a good grocery (see icons on map).
Healthy food is a new challenge for emergency and school food distributors. The map shows farmers and school districts that purchase direct fresh food for their students. In simple terms, food security requires two tasks: Feed the hungry now, and end hunger asap. It includes health care and job quality issues.