News

Where Do Americans Usually Shop for Food and How Do They Travel to Get There?

USDA’s National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) is the first nationally representative survey of American households to collect unique and comprehensive data about household food purchases and acquisitions. Detailed information was collected about foods purchased or otherwise acquired for consumption at home and away from home, including foods acquired through food and nutrition assistance programs. The survey includes nationally representative data from 4,826 households, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households, low-income households not participating in SNAP, and higher income households.

Learn more about the findings: http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/foodaps-national-household-food-acquisition-and-purchase-survey.aspx

USDA Proposes New Ways to Help Meet Nutrition Needs of Low-Income, Homebound Seniors and People with Disabilities

USDA is proposing for the first time to permit grocery purchasing and delivery services run by government and non-profit organizations to accept SNAP benefits as payment, allowing for home delivery to those unable to shop for food…Nationally, only 42 percent of eligible elderly individuals participate in SNAP, compared to 83 percent for all people who are eligible.

“Home delivery of groceries is an important step forward in serving the needs of these vulnerable populations. Allowing homebound seniors and people with disabilities to use their SNAP benefits through government and non-profit home delivery services will help ensure they have access to healthy foods.” ~Secretary Vilsack

“This issue has a particular importance for seniors living in rural areas, as America’s rural population is older than the nation overall and rural seniors experience higher poverty than seniors nationwide.”

Authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, the proposed rule outlines eligibility and participation criteria for purchasing and delivery services serving the homebound elderly and disabled, and seeks comment from stakeholders.

In addition, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service will soon begin seeking up to 20 food purchasing and delivery services to participate in a one year pilot program. Lessons learned during the pilot will used to help shape the final rule.

 

Read more at http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAOC/bulletins/10e9744

Some Convicted Texas Felons Eligible for Food Stamps

If they finish their sentences and comply with any terms of parole, Texans convicted on felony drug charges soon will be able to receive food stamps, though another strike will put them back under a lifetime ban.

Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 200 — a sunset law partially consolidating the state’s health and human services system — which included an amendment making people with felony drug convictions eligible for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Previously, a drug conviction meant a lifetime ban from food stamps.

Many states that opted to bar drug felons from SNAP for life when it was created in 1996 are now reversing course.

The change prevents people “from being held hostage for a crime that they did and paid for decades ago,” said Rachel Cooper, senior policy analyst for the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

Read more at: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/06/25/some-convicted-felons-now-eligible-food-stamps/

Tennessee Fights Child Hunger with CHOW Bus

Not your average school bus, the CHOW Bus of Murfreesboro, TN, is used to deliver free hot meals to youths 18 and under during the summer break. To see the NBC News segment, click here.

There are 200 Million Fewer Hungry People Than 25 Years Ago

So what does it mean to be hungry?

That’s a question that occurred to us as we read some encouraging news: The world isn’t as hungry as it used to be.

A U.N. report has noted that 795 million people were hungry in the year 2014. That’s a mind-boggling number. But in fact it’s 200 million lower than the estimated 1 billion hungry people in 1990.

The improvement is especially impressive because the world population has gone up by around 2 billion since the ’90s.

And the rate of hunger is also declining. Only 12.9 percent of the population in developing regions are hungry today, compared to 23.3 percent a quarter century ago.

Here’s a look at what hunger is like — and why it’s declining.

The Hungry Person’s Diet

The world’s hungry people consume fewer than the 2,000 or so daily calories the average person needs to survive (the amount varies based on age, gender and energy expended).

There are two reasons for this calorie deficit, says Pedro Sanchez, director of Agriculture and Food Security Center at Columbia University. There’s acute hunger: When sudden conflicts and disasters like a drought leave people starving.

That accounts for less than 10 percent of the hungry population, according to the World Food Program.

The more prevalent type is chronic hunger, which happens mainly in rural areas and among the poorest of the poor.

People who are chronically hungry do eat. But their diet tends to consist of food like cereal, corn, cassava and rice — high in calories and carbohydrates but not much else.

Even then, these people eat so little that the carbs barely fill their stomach with the calories they need. And they don’t eat the vegetables, meat, fish and/or dairy products that provide ample protein, vitamin A, zinc, iron and iodine, says Pedro Sanchez, director of Agriculture and Food Security Center at Columbia University.

Read the full article on NPR. 

One Crisis Away – The Hunger Center of North Texas

Richard Amory of the North Texas Food Bank (and a member of the DCHS Leadership Team) discusses with Courtney Collins of KERA a large study that they have done with economists at SMU that shows a significant relationship between financial management skills/confidence and food security.

Listen to the radio interview here.

Urban Farmers Say It’s Time They Got Their Own Research Farms

About 80 percent of Americans now live in urban areas, and more and more of us are growing food in cities as well.

But where’s an urban farmer to turn for a soil test or when pests infiltrate the fruit orchard?

Increasingly, they can turn to institutions that have been serving farmers in rural areas for more than 150 years: land-grant colleges and universities. From Cornell University to the University of Florida to Texas A&M, land grants dispense practical advice to farmers and hobby gardeners across the country.

The agricultural arms of these universities have historically focused on regions far from cities where the majority of our food is still grown. But their research on crop varieties, soil quality and pest resistance is just as relevant — and now in high demand — inside the city.

Just ask Mchezaji “Che” Axum, who runs a research farmfor the University of the District of Columbia, the only land-grant university in the country with an exclusively urban focus.

One of the central questions of urban agriculture is how to grow more food in less space. And so instead of vast fields testing dozens of varieties of wheat, Axum’s research farm has raised beds, narrow hoop houses and even a shipping container. He gives growers advice on where to buy decent soil or how to compost their own, in case the land they plan to grow on has a seedy industrial past.

He says urban farmers aren’t looking to grow one crop for a commodity market, but enough crops to replace a trip to the grocery store or to fill a small farm box for customers. They need to know a little about a lot of varieties in order to make the most of small growing spaces. And, often, it’s been a generation or two since anyone in their family has lived on a farm.

Read the full article from NPR here.

Battling Summer Hunger Five Bucks at a Time

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – For about the price of a cup of gourmet coffee or a fast-food hamburger, you can feed a North Texas kid for the weekend.

This summer, the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas is launching its first-ever digital donation campaign called “Silence the Growl.”

The idea is to get as many $5 donations as possible, with each one buying enough food to feed a school-aged child for the weekend.

“Hunger is a critical issue. We should not have children worried about where their next meal is going to come from,” said United Way COO Susan Hoff.

During the school year, children receiving free and reduced breakfast and lunch don’t have to worry about meals during the daytime. But it’s a different story during the summer. When they should be playing and enjoying summer, many of them are thinking about food.

“It’s difficult. It’s upsetting when you think it’s going good for the month and then you run out of food,” said Jametria Glaspie, mother of four. Glaspie said she often struggles the last two weeks of the month to feed her daughter and three boys, as the food in her pantry, refrigerator and freezer runs low. “Sometimes when a child asks for more…when they want seconds or thirds, I am not going to deny that. But when you get to the end of the month and you start running out of food, it’s hard. It’s stressful.”

Read the full article here. 

Safety net does more to ease poverty than previously thought

By Greg Sargent, in The Washington Post

The Baltimore riots have re-ignited the ideological wars over the efficacy of government spending to alleviate poverty, with Republicans who want to slash the budget seizing on images of urban chaos to argue that federal anti-poverty policy has been an abject failure at accomplishing its own goal. Paul Ryan suggests dumping more cash into the bottomless pit otherwise known as federal spending on the poor will only produce the “same failed result.”

But a new study being released today finds that the federal safety net may actually be doing more to alleviate poverty than previously thought. Thestudy, from the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, uses a new statistical technique to measure the impact of federal programs on the poverty rate, correcting for what it says are defects in previous accounting methods.

The study’s top-line finding is that in 2012, federal safety net programs cut the poverty rate by more than half, reducing it from 29.1 percent to 13.8 percent and lifting 48 million people above the poverty line, including 12 million children. Previous accounting had put the reduction at less than half.

The study seeks to make an important addition to a debate that has long bedeviled researchers: How to measure the impact of government on poverty. Republicans like Ryan tend to use the official poverty rate to gauge it. But as Dylan Matthews details, this excludes the impact of non-direct-cash-transfer federal programs, such as Medicaid, food and rental assistance, and lower-income tax relief, making it a rather useless metric. As Matthews notes, if you use the census-based Supplemental Poverty Measure, which does factor in such programs, you find government has helped to lift substantial numbers out of poverty.

Read the full article from Washington Post here.