As it turns out, I have a couple of more things to say on the subject of the Live Below The Line experiment. First, I want to share this great Readers Speak Back piece that has been sitting waiting for me to get it live. Sorry for the delay!
Pat Anderson, aka @digiteyes, has been a regular commenter on the Live Below The Line series and given her participation I wanted to hear what she thought as an active observer. So I invited her to participate by writing a guest post for the series.
It has been an interesting week and a half, reading about plans, then about people actually working through the week on $1.75 for food per day. Different food plans. Different coping strategies. Different emotions.
And through it all, my thoughts have been like confetti, different colours, sometimes being carried along on a breeze, sometimes caught in a whirlwind of emotions, sometimes, just lying flat on the ground, paralyzed.
It’s such a complex issue to deal with: food insecurity. Even the name is scary. How do we ensure that everyone gets enough good food to eat? And that they know how to prepare it? How to budget, how to grow, how to cook, how to eat?
Some of these skills used to be passed mother-to-daughter, father-to-son, or teacher to student. Those links aren’t as strong as they were, and a mother or father today might not have the skills themselves to pass along to their children. If you don’t know how to cook, and all the professionals on TV make it look too hard for an amateur to do, what can you do other than buy prepared foods?
Despair. That’s where people end up when they have no food, can’t buy what they know how to deal with, only get high carbs and dented canned fish, and isolate themselves due to poverty — where does it end?
Really. STOP and Community Food Centres Canada. They’re actually taking on many of these tasks, growing food, educating people about food, teaching them how to cook, what to eat, what’s healthy, what’s not, and developing a community of people. Eating is a communal activity.
STOP started as a food bank, but has grown over the years to become a strong developer of community: they truly work with communities to develop field-to-table nourishment. They’ve helped to build bake ovens in parks, create gardens where people learn how to grow food, spread knowledge about food.
Last year they expanded to Perth and Stratford and created a Learning Network site . This year, the push is on to expand the network by three sites, and to work toward 15 partner sites by 2017.
How awesome is this? We are humans — community is part of our nature. Here’s an organization taking that fundamental organizing principle of our species, and using it to re-form areas of society that we have lost over the last hundred years.
There is hope, after all. Please help support them with donations of money and your time.
If you have thoughts on this and I know many of you do, Please add them to the discussion in the comments below.
Thanks again to Pat Anderson for sharing her thoughts and telling us a bit more about The STOP and Community Food Centres Canada, both of whom are doing good and innovative work towards easing food insecurity.
Note: this post is part of my Live Below The Line series where I will be on a $1.75 food & drink budget from April 29th-May 3rd.
This is a game for me but a serious reality for 1.4 billion people in our world today. Help support me by donating, or supporting Second Harvest and Daily Bread Food Bank.
If you want to know more about what I’m involved in, you can read my disclosure statement here.