The complicated politics of the school cafeteria
July 16th, 2014
09:30 AM ET
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Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of Southern food. Kat Kinsman is the managing editor of CNN Eatocracy. She wrote this essay for the place-themed issue #52 of the SFA's Gravy quarterly.

Angela H. pulled me aside in the lunchroom to tell me that everyone thought my family was poor. This was news to me. So far as I could tell, my sister and I didn’t look anything like the barefoot, swollen-bellied children on the sides of the UNICEF cartons into which we slipped spare pennies. Nor did anyone attempt to gift us with sacks of half-eaten sandwiches, the likes of which our Grandmother Ribando said starving Armenian children would be most grateful to have. (Clean your plates, girls. Clean your plates.)

I pressed her for evidence and she relished the words, tumbling them around in her mouth like a disc of butterscotch before spitting them out on her Jell-O dish: “My mom says it’s weird that your mom wraps your sandwiches in Saran Wrap instead of a Ziploc. And why do you always have carrot sticks and a couple of potato chips when we all have cookies? Did your dad lose his job or something?”

I bought my lunch for the rest of sixth grade, making sure to spring for the chocolate milk instead of white—extra nickel be damned (and sorry, faraway UNICEF urchins). It’s not that I especially enjoyed the grey-meated burgers and leathery green beans slopped on my plate by a rotating cast of conscripted parents, but I loathed the notion that my peers thought they could infer anything personal from my lunch tray.
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July 9th, 2014
09:45 AM ET
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Nidal Hussain clutches a shopping bag as she crosses the four-lane street, weaving through cars and trucks that inch along a main thoroughfare in central Baghdad.

It's late morning under a sweltering sun, and Hussain has joined men, women and children walking to a market where canopied stalls line sidewalks and sometimes spill into the street. It's part of her near daily ritual of buying fresh bread, vegetables, fruits and fish to feed her family.

She steps over broken concrete and puddles of fetid water to get to the Karrada market, named for the central Baghdad neighborhood where it sits.

"Shetreed," a vegetable seller asks Hussain. What do you want?

She inspects a tomato from a green plastic crate, puts it back and chooses another.

Some of these are not that good, she says.

What do you expect with all the trouble? he says.
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Filed under: Disaster • Human Rights • Hunger • War


July 3rd, 2014
06:15 PM ET
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In a New Delhi neighborhood, residents line up in the blistering 45 degree Celsius heat (113 Fahrenheit) carrying empty jerry cans and water bottles, waiting for the government water tanker truck to arrive.

"We only get water once a week and each time we have to fight for it," one woman yells.

There are no laid pipelines in unplanned areas like this, so tanker trucks are their only source of water.

With the truck arrives chaos.
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Filed under: Human Rights • Hunger • Water


First lady fights for kids' nutrition
June 19th, 2014
01:30 AM ET
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First lady Michelle Obama is continuing to question Republicans who want to roll back some of the key provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, telling a group of medical journalists on Wednesday "We're not even thinking about the possibility of rolling back because we just can't afford for that to happen."

The first lady said school nutrition has improved for the first time in 30 years and that 90% of schools are currently in compliance.
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Filed under: Childhood Obesity • Hunger • Michelle Obama • School Lunch


April 16th, 2014
10:30 AM ET
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The NCAA on Tuesday proposed that athletes receive unlimited meals and snacks, the collegiate sports organization said in a news release.

Member Division I schools could provide their athletes food in addition to the meal plan covered by the student's scholarship if the plan is approved, the release said.

The announcement comes not long after a University of Connecticut star told reporters covering the NCAA tournament that he sometimes goes to bed "starving" because he can't afford food. Shabazz Napier's remarks sparked a new discussion on what benefits athletes should receive. Napier, a senior, is a top NBA prospect.
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Filed under: Hunger • Sports


April 4th, 2014
12:05 AM ET
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In "the nation's salad bowl," as California's Central Valley is often called, fresh produce grows in abundance.

But for many area residents, healthy food is out of reach.

"Here we are in this agriculturally rich area and yet people who live here and work here are hungry, are impoverished," said Sarah Ramirez, an educator who grew up in the area.

"(Some) are working in the fields that feed the entire country and then they don't have the resources to support them and their health. It's heartbreaking."

For the last two years, Ramirez has been on a mission to build a healthier community in her impoverished hometown of Pixley.
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Filed under: Food Deserts • Food Politics • Human Rights • Hunger • Local Food • Local Heroes • Urban Gardening


March 12th, 2014
08:30 AM ET
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When you think about the images typically associated with hunger, a recreation of the Mad Hatter's tea party from "Alice in Wonderland" might not spring to mind.

But one Florida nonprofit is using recreated scenes from popular movies, musicals and TV shows to get people talking about poverty and hunger.
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Filed under: Charity • Food Politics • Hunger • iReport • Photography


March 10th, 2014
07:05 AM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

You’ve read about them before: the $750 cupcake and $5,000 burger you can find in Las Vegas; the $10,000 martini on sale in West Hollywood. Some people must be ordering them and feeling like it was money well spent. Lots of others will file those dishes under the Ripped-off-at-a-Restaurant category.

On the other end of the spectrum is a new model that’s gaining traction across the country and around the world: pay-what-you-want spots. You make the call on the price of the dish, and when you pay a little extra it helps feed people who are in need. Right on for the places below.
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Filed under: Chain • Charity • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Hunger • Restaurants


Military families may face a $3k food bill hike
February 25th, 2014
10:15 AM ET
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A military family could see grocery bills go up by $3,000 a year under the latest Pentagon budget proposal.

Grocery stores for military families, also called commissaries, will be able to offer fewer savings over the next three years as the Department of Defense would slash most of the taxpayer subsidies that prop up these stores, according to the plan released Monday.

Each year, $1.4 billion in taxpayer dollars go to 178 commissaries nationwide and 67 located overseas. The Department of Defense plans to slash $1 billion of those subsidies, mostly affecting the U.S. stores.
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Filed under: Hunger • Military • SNAP


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