600,000 College Students Getting SNAP: 2.8 Million Qualify

What’s the latest food trend on college campuses? Food pantries. Colleges students are struggling not only with classes and financial aid – they can’t afford a decent meal. More than half of all college students are students of color, and food insecurity is a growing problem for many of them. America’s college campuses are recognizing that food insecurity is a real problem for their students. Why? Because food insecurity is not having a consistent food source to be active and healthy.

One source suggested that nearly 3.4 million low-income college students need food assistance, but only around 600,000 receive federal food assistance. And 82%, (2.8 million students) who qualify do not receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. While many people think that college life is parties, drinking and exams, it’s not the life experience for many students. From universities to community colleges, many students are turning to food banks and pantries as their primary food source.

The College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA) has over 600 member schools around the country. CUFBA is a growing network of campus food banks and pantries to help student who are food insecure.

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Foodmagz: The Next Generation

Asian cuisines, Indonesian sotoayam to Filipino pancit puso, and naked dinner parties. This week’s blog is about another side of food policy: foodie magazines. Foodies are people with a keen interest in food fads and trends. You might not think magazines have anything to do with food policy. But foodmagz (my original word??) like Naked Food Magazine, Ambrosia, Compound Butter, Jarry, Kitchen Toke, Peddler and Kitchen Work talk about more than just food. They explore:

  • Gardens
  • Plant-based dining
  • Nutrition
  • Local food
  • Farms
  • Local and regional dining
  • Wine cellars
  • Small kitchens
  • Food business
  • Immigrant-owned restaurants

And these magazines have really cool photos, too! An article explained that mainstream foodmagz are in decline and going through layoffs.

But a new crop of foodmagz are created by “a wave of small, sophisticated print magazines, produced on a shoestring by young editors with strong points of view and a passion for their subjects.”

There’s even a yearly event for independent magazines, called Foodieodicals.

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“Waste is Delicious”: Ending Food Waste

This week’s blog is an exciting follow-up to my blog, Stop Wasting Food: Start At Home. A supermarket in the Netherlands is promoting real-world solutions to end food waste.  Orange peels, stale bread, damaged fruits and vegetables – many people would think of this food as waste and throw it away.

Others would compost this food as a resource to help the soil, produce bacteria and fungi to break down organic matter, or reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. But there is another way to stop wasting food: use hurt apples for apple cider, make beer from stale bread, or soap from orange peels. How can people stop wasting food? Are there other ways to use food that is damaged or expired?
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Earth Day 2018: Food Can Save the Planet

Earth Day 2018 is a celebration of 48 years of global ecological awareness. During the 1970s, pollution caused developmental deficits in children. Biodiversity was threatened by pesticides. People worldwide were beginning to grasp the health and environmental danger of 150 years of industrial development. And the government established the Environmental Protection Agency. The Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act became law. Where are we today? Has Earth Day made a difference? Can food help conserve natural resources and promote biodiversity?

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Rural Food Insecurity: Myths & Realities

There are 3,142 counties in the US, with 2,323 counties are rural areas. About 60 million people (19.3% of the US population) live on 97% of the land. Many people in rural communities are food insecure – they don’t have enough food to eat. There is a myth that  people in rural America have easy access to good food. What’s the most food insecure state? Mississippi, and Jefferson County, MS (pop. 7,297) has the highest food insecurity (38%) in the country in 2017: 2,870 people are hungry.

I started my column Tomorrow’s Food – Today’s Policies to stay engaged in food policy studies. My dissertation explored urban agriculture, but it’s time to look at food policy beyond the city: rural America. My Food Disparities in Rural Missouri  blog peaked my interest to keep exploring. This year, I gathered a team for a presentation for a food conference. We’ll talk about food policy, food education and nutritional health in rural America. What are the food challenge in rural America? How are they different from urban food problems? What solutions can best service rural communities?

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Obesity in America: 100 Million Strong

Americans are fat and getting fatter. A 2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) study in JAMA revealed that nearly 100 million American adults are more obese than 10 years ago.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defined obese or overweight as weight “higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height.” Overweight is a BMI (body fat based on height and weight) between 25 and 30, and obese is a BMI of 30 or more. Adult obesity is now at 39.6% – this increase is alarming to health experts. Why? More adults are more obese than ever before.

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Farmer Suicide, STRESS and Mental Health

Last October, I introduced my blog series Tomorrow’s Food – Today’s Policies . I write about new solutions for our challenging food system. So the topic of farmer suicide was never on my mind – but I can’t ignore this disturbing trend. A 2016 study by the CDC revealed some alarming news about the American farmer: Suicides are on the rise. In the agriculture sector (farmers, ranchers, farm workers) more farmers commit suicide than other groups.

About 1% of America’s population are farmers but the suicide rate is 90.5 per 100,000. What does it mean? It means that the suicide rate for agricultural workers in 17 states was nearly five times higher than the general population. Farming life has its unique challenges (financial) and health issues (physical, mental). What’s causing the rising suicide rate among farmers? How can we stop this trend? Is farmer suicide a global problem?

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