WXXI AM News

food insecurity

freeimages.com/Konstantin Schneider

Throughout the State University of New York system, an estimated 35% to 45% of students don't have regular access to food.

As of December 2018, all SUNY universities and colleges have food pantries on campus, but a SUNY food insecurity task force is looking at other ideas to address the problem.

Among them, according to John Graham, association provost for student affairs, is a program called Single Stop.

The author of a new book about food insecurity says food banks and food pantries were never meant to be permanent parts of our country. Andrew Fisher is a food security expert. He says food banks have become big business, and their ties to corporate America actually build on the underlying systemic issues that cause hunger.

He joins us to discuss how he thinks anti-hunger programs need to change. We also discuss the concept of the social purpose grocery, and how our community is addressing the root causes of hunger. In studio:

The Abundance Food Co-op is opening a new store and expanding its mission. We talk about food sustainability, minimizing food waste, and the co-op's upcoming Earth Day march. Our guests: 

  • Paula Hanson and Katie Malarkey, co-presidents of the Abundance Food Co-op Board of Directors
  • Jim DeLuca, general manager of Abundance Food Co-op
  • Meaghann Schulte, director of marketing and PR at SunCommon
  • Chris Whitebell, marketing and outreach manager of Abundance Food Co-op

Food insecurity is one of the leading public health challenges in the United States, while wasted food is piling up in landfills and contributing to climate change. So what can we do to reduce food waste, while helping people in need?

A local organization called Flower City Pickers is taking on these challenges. Volunteers collect food donations from the Public Market and distribute that food to area homeless shelters, halfway houses, soup kitchens, and food pantries. Organizers say they prevent an average of 3,000-4,000 pounds of food from going to landfills each week. We'll get an inside look at Flower City Pickers and learn about its plans for the future. Our guests:

www.foodlinkny.org

A new study by a national network of food banks shows that more children and adults are struggling with hunger in the Rochester region.

The study shows that one in seven residents of the 10-county area served by Foodlink is food insecure. That means they don't have reliable access to nutritious food.

For children, the rate is one in five.  That means food insecurity affects 162,030 individuals, including 58,430 children locally, an increase of 11,350 over the past year.