Today is International Women's day. A day to celebrate the women in our lives and in the world and their contributions to society. Today is a day to look at how far we've come, but also to examine what we need to do to make the next International Women's day and beyond even more momentous.
Today I want to talk about food security. As a public health major, I have heard this term basically since my first public health course all the way back in freshmen year. I'm going to tell you right now that it was not until I decided to talk about it on this blog that I actually learned what is and why it matters.
What is Food Security?
According to the World Health Organization, food security is a goal; food security is achieved '“when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”.' This concept is defined as "including both physical and economic access to food that meets people's dietary needs as well as their food preferences." In other words, food security is having consistent access to food that is good for you.
Food security is based on three pillars: Food availability, Food access, and Food use.
Unfortunately, (in case this wasn't obvious) the world we live in has not been able to achieve such.
I chose this topic for quite a few reasons. When I first started this version of my blog, I had to think a lot about my privilege. Up until now, I never realized that I was feeding into the elitist attitude that surrounds "health and fitness". I can afford to try things out for "Pick of The Week". I can afford to "experiment" with cold-pressed juices to see which ones I like. The reality however is this: not everybody can do that. Not everybody can urge people to spend $16 on a sugar scrub or to spend $10 on coconut water. This elitism that I despised in theory, is essentially what I was displaying for a while. That doesn't mean that I'm not going to talk about "Gold Deposit" by MAC or the Dip Brow Gel by ABH, but what I will work on is making this blog more accessible to every single person reading it.
*I know you're rolling your eyes right now and thinking" Why does she make everything about herself?"
Anyways, back to the matter at hand. Here are the facts:
(In the United States)
-Five out of the 92 majority African American counties with the highest rates of food insecurity also fall into the top 10 percent of counties with the highest food cost index; the average cost per meal in these counties is $3.17, as compared with the national average of $2.79.
-25% of black households are food insecure.
-35% of houses headed by single women are food insecure.
-Black neighborhoods are less likely to have supermarkets or grocery stores. (Food deserts)
What Can We Do?
I firmly believe that education is the first step to making things better. Educate yourself on the issues, or any social justice issue that you are passionate about.
In the world that we live in, everybody has the answer to everything, even if their answer is wrong. There is no shame in being ignorant about an issue and there certainly is nothing wrong with asking questions.
If being angry is what it takes to make you act, then that's great. If you try to put yourself in the shoes of your fellow woman, your fellow black woman and woman of color in general, you will be able to see why it matters so much to address food insecurity.
Now Get To It!
Whether you are interested in advocacy or activism, there are various ways to have your voice heard. A good place to start is contacting your local food bank or shelter If you are interested in international activism or advocacy, check out Care.org and VitalVoices.com and use it as a spring board for more specific issues.
The reality is this: when women are food insecure, their ENTIRE COMMUNITY is as well. So naturally, when women in a community are food secure, the community is well fed and healthy. I don't know the exact solution to combatting this issue (truly, only God knows), but I do know that God provides direction and clarity in addressing these issues. We have to play our part to make sure that generations to come are not being burdened with what we should have fixed.
We have to make sure that black women and women of color in general are not ignored. We have to work to make sure that food insecurity among other structural issues can no longer be pushed under the rug.
I'm charging myself to make sure that before I leave this earth, women achieve world domination. I'll let you know what I have in mind and then maybe we could do a meet up or something to brainstorm? -Eyek