The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Hunger: * Record in U.S. * Global Meeting


The Washington Post reports today:
"The nation's economic crisis has catapulted the number of Americans
who lack enough food to the highest level since the government has been
keeping track, according to a new federal report, which shows that
nearly 50 million people -- including almost one child in four --
struggled last year to get enough to eat."

Voice of America is reporting:
"Representatives of many humanitarian organizations are attending the
Rome Food Security Summit, looking for concrete action plans to deal
with hunger."

Author of the study "Race and Recession: How Inequity Rigged the Economy and How to Change the Rules,"
Wessler is researcher at the Applied Research Center in New York City.
He said today: "Record levels of hunger are striking women-led families
and families of color the hardest. The compounding effects of racially
disparate unemployment, a job market that pushes women and people of
color into low-wage work, and a degraded system of social support, have
left millions unable to feed their families. The federal government
should increase food assistance to ensure states can handle the extent
of need. All eligibility restrictions for food assistance and time
limits and work requirements for Temporary Aid to Needy Families should
be suspended. Meanwhile, jobs creation programs should focus on the
most vulnerable."

Eric Holt-GimA(c)nez, executive director of Food First/The Institute for Food and Development Policy, is co-author of the new book Food Rebellions: Crisis and the Hunger for Justice.
He said today: "People in the U.S. are now suffering from hunger almost
as much as people in much of the rest of the world. The USDA report
refers to 'food shortages,' but that doesn't mean an actual shortage of
food, it means that poor households come up short in accessing the
abundant food available. The problem is not a lack of food -- it is the
food system, dominated by Monsanto, Walmart and Cargill, which are
posting record profits.

"We've had three summits since the latest food crisis broke and none of them have dealt with the real issues. ...

"The summits end up calling in the arsonists to put out the fire
they started -- like calling for more food aid. It's looked on as an
actual solution rather than a stopgap measure, which actually
aggravates the underlining problem -- poverty -- because it puts local
farmers at a disadvantage. It puts them out of business, so they end up
as impoverished recipients of food aid instead of independent farmers."

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.