Our session on February 3rd is the second of two Community Conversations our social policy team has organized in Longmont on the topic Hunger and Democracy. Speakers from local and statewide nonprofits will provide their perspectives on issues raised in the film A Place at the Table and respond to audience comments and questions. This meeting and our January 27th showing of the film repeat our two November 2017 events in Boulder. If you missed the film, you can check out the public library’s DVD or watch the film online via the library website. Click here for a summary of A Place at the Table. We also invite you to read about the reality behind eight common misconceptions about hunger.
Our February 3rd panelists include representatives of six organizations.
The OUR Center helps move people to self-sufficiency by unifying community resources.
Community Food Share, created in 1981 when hunger was beginning to be identified as a community problem, provides a large-scale food bank and mobile pantries, and supplies the OUR Center and other agencies in Boulder and Broomfield Counties.
Longmont Meals on Wheels provides hot, nutritious meals and a daily check to older adults and people with disabilities.
Hunger Free Colorado connects people with nutritious food resources and works for change in systems, policies and social views.
LiveWell Colorado increases access to healthy eating and active living by removing barriers that inequitably and disproportionately affect low-income communities and people of color.
Boulder County Farmers Markets operates producer-only farmers markets to support, promote and expand local agriculture.
The film A Place at the Table explores the causes of the U.S.’s widespread and increasing hunger and food insecurity—lack of consistent access to nutritious food. Poverty plays a large role, of course. Hunger is about jobs and inadequate wages; food insecurity is common among the working poor. It results also from a federal government that subsidizes the production of processed food so that it is cheap and readily available. Big profits from corn, wheat, and soybeans allow megafarm corporations to invest in infrastructure to make processed food. Agribusiness spends millions lobbying Congress to continue the subsidies. (Money in Politics again.) Growers of healthy food like fruits and vegetables, usually smaller-scale farmers, are not subsidized.
The film recounts how the 1968 CBS-TV documentary Hunger in America caused Americans to insist on an improved federal safety net. Expansion of the food stamp program, the addition of a school breakfast program to the lunch program (begun in 1946), and other measures in the 1970s eliminated hunger almost entirely. In the 1980s, Congress began underfunding food assistance and other social programs, owing to the Reagan tax cuts, increased defense spending, and a new American attitude that the government is doing too much while the private sector does a wonderful job. Thus began the proliferation of “emergency” responses such as soup kitchens and food banks, and hunger went from emergency to chronic. Today perhaps 50 million Americans rely on a secondary food system called charity.
- Kim McCarthy, Food Services Coordinator, the OUR Center
- Dina Coates Koebler, Director of Development, Community Food Share - and a member of LWVBC
- Katle Wiser, Development Coordinator, Longmont Meals on Wheels
- Vikki O'Neil, Senior Vice President, Hunger Free Colorado
- Wendy Peters Moschetti, Director of Food Systems, LiveWell Colorado
- Brian Coppom, Executive Director, Boulder County Farmers Markets