The average citizen knows very little about food insecurity or food deserts. According to the article, two-thirds of Indy adults are overweight or obese, and 40% of children fall into the same category. The article went on to say that 5,000 Indy kids shows signs of undernourishment and further, that 1 in 5 people in our city of over 800,000 are unsure of where their next meal will come from. It is mentioned by the journalist, and I feel I must echo, is how sad it is just how shocking this is to me. My experience tells me that there are children who go hungry in the summers, and that the very poorest of our community would on occasion struggle in this capacity. But I have been largely protected from this issue and it was my assumption that the services in place, like the powerhouse Second Helpings, met the issue and in effect, nullified the problem. Clearly this is not the case and systematic and systemic, changes must occur.
As we learn that hunger is in indeed a local problem and that health problems surrounding food include malnutrition, obesity, and the implicative diseases that threaten life, we must then consider: how do we address this problem head on? First steps include gathering community experts and stake holders (welcome Indy Food Council!) and raising awareness so that the community as a whole truly understands what is at risk. Once this very dynamic process is started and community buy-in is established, meaningful change can finally start to take place.
Our middle class is slowly becoming a minority which means an increasingly high percentage of our population will be facing problems associated with hunger. Perhaps if the food organizations can work together more effectively, maybe if we reduce waste, and just maybe, if we can make use of this new found knowledge to move forward in a meaningful fashion, Indy’s social environment might make real and lasting changes.