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Food Insecurity Worldwide: We Are the World (Part 3)

Posted in Food Insecurity,Food Policy on June 9, 2018

“Nothing exalts the soul or gives it a sheer sense of buoyancy and victory so much as being used to change the lives of other people”. E. Stanley Jones, Victorious Living

Food Insecurity worldwide is a problem. The solution. We make a change. We are the world.

Food insecurity and resultant conditions such as chronic hunger, under nourishment, and even obesity are obstacles to well-being. In this installment of a three part series on food insecurity, we’ll talk about the examples of individuals who are initiating efforts to combat food insecurity via their own unique methods. Though integrated governmental and industry-led programs are of paramount importance in overcoming the obstacles involved in feeding the over 700 million people worldwide who are hungry and malnourished, the compassion of individuals is helping millions in perceptible ways.

Artist Sells His Prints to Help Feed the Hungry

“Hunger in the United States doesn’t make any sense,” said Mullins. “We have enough food to feed everybody, so there’s no reason for us to continue to have this issue”, states Kevin Mullins, co-founder of the mobile Food Rescue US mobile app. Mullins further explained that is a non-traditional method of providing hunger relief by giving “food rescuers” with a schedule of dates, times, locations of food donors, and an inventory of food donations.

“It’s kind of like “Uber-izing” the process of hunger relief,” said Mullins. “The traditional method has always been that you have these larger food banks and they raise a bunch of money to buy this food and then the agencies, soup kitchens, and food pantries go to the food bank and pick up the food to bring back, but frankly, there’s a lot that still goes to waste in that system. It’s not very sustainable”. Food safety is also incorporated in the app as it asks potential donors questions about their donation, such as “Does the [food] need to be refrigerated” or “has the food been stored properly?”

In the hopes of playing his own role in fighting hunger, Mullins and a local artist, Flahn Manly have teamed up with the goal of raising one million dollars to this end, over the next year and a half. He explained that a portion of each print for sale will go to Food Rescue US.  What is exceptional is that one dollar raised equals 20 healthy meals, and all of the food is “rescued” food: food that is obtained before it is discarded. There are no true operating costs because no food is purchased, leading to cost efficiency and a magnification of any food donations.

You can find the Food Rescue US app on the IOS App Store or on Google Play.

Apples on an App: Another Company Offers Help

In 2017, Jasmine Crowe launched another app targeted to ensure the proper disposal of thousands of pounds of surplus food by redirecting it from restaurants to nonprofit organizations that operate to feed the hungry and homeless. The app is called Goodr.

Crowe is a former independent philanthropy consultant who organized charitable campaigns for rap artists and professional athletes. Having once struggled with food insecurity herself, Crowe realized that distribution of food was often cyclical: centering around particular times of the year such as back to school or holidays. It simply wasn’t sustainable for the needs of the affected food insecure. Goodr helps to remedy that by allowing its clients to signal that surplus food is ready to be collected. The app logs every part of the transaction via Blockchain, creating an unalterable digital ledger of all transactions. Food providers can then see who received their goods and where they were consumed. There’s also a dashboard to share testimonials.

The company is based in Atlanta, Georgia, but has aspirations to expand to other cities in the near future when its revenue base expands. You can also find the Goodr app on IOS and Google Play.

Downsizing: Tiny May be Better: Micro-Sized Produce

In a small town in Michigan (rather apropos for this story), a couple by the name of Kesandra and Dale Maskill have founded Northbound Acre, and what makes this production notable is that their entire operation is only one acre. The couple produces micro produce and produces food rich in flavor and nutrients. The Maskills grow sunflower shoots, pea shoots, cilantro, radish greens, beet tops, micro-arugula, micro-basil, and wheatgrass.

If you’ve ever seen the movie “Downsizing” starring Matt Damon, you’ll understand what I mean about the potential benefits of being extremely small. The premise of the movie touches upon the issue of world hunger, an extreme population burst, and how to feed everyone equitably. I know it’s a leap, but it’s a fascinating thought to ponder: cultivating crops that are micro-sized equals more land on which to farm, right? But, is it viable, practical, and sustainable?

The Kids Will Steal Your Heart

In Fort Worth, Texas, a charming young man by the name of Will Lourcey, 15, has been inspired to do his part to fight hunger since 2010, when he was only seven years old. It began when he saw a homeless man holding up a sign that said “need a meal”. Will was so saddened by it that he emphatically stated, “no one should go hungry”! That was the impetus for the creation of FROG’s, an acronym for “Friends Reaching Our Goals”. The group eventually included many of his friends creating activities in order to raise money to fight hunger, such as operating a lemonade stand and asking local businesses to sponsor sports teams. In a short period of time, Will raised $20,000 that he donated to a food bank in Texas that provided over 75,000 meals to those in need.

“Close to a billion people – one-eighth of the world’s population – still live in hunger. Each year 2 million children die through malnutrition. This is happening at a time when doctors in Britain are warning of the spread of obesity. We are eating too much while others starve.” Jonathan Sacks

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” Mother Teresa

By:  Kerry Bazany, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)