In his Manifesto, Will Allen provides his insight on the growing issue of food deserts. He feels that in the past couple of years the urgency for this issue is only growing more. Even though some may see food in the grocery store aisles, this is not the case for all resident of the United States. In some areas access to a grocery store is unavailable. Our agricultural system is being compromised because it is becoming more and more industrialized. This forces an increase in processed food due to its ease and low cost. This issue is in need of immediate action.
For the most part, I agree with the claim of Allen that this is a growing problem, but I do not agree with this proposal for change. He is very contradictory in his claims of government spending. Will often says that the programs and research we are currently conducting is “money well spent” but still should be used elsewhere. It is hard to agree with claims like this because he is prioritizing his cause but making no claim on how it will improve. Wills primarily speaks of educating and making the nation know that the food deserts exist, but awareness alone cannot win the battle. We must take actions on increasing markets across the nation. But even so, there is no proof that this will eliminate the food desert. Just because some one has the ability to go to a market, does not mean they will utilize it and its benefits. If one is set in his or her ways, it will be hard to break the habit.
Additionally, Wills brings up race in his debate. He says as an African American farmer, he is calling the first African American president to make a change. I do not believe that race has any part in this issue. By including this small claim, I think Wills loses credibility because he may have a counter agenda to make a name for himself.
In his article “Good Food Manifesto,” Will Allen calls upon President Obama and Congress to look at their spending, and reallocate funds to research ways to prevent diseases rather than finding ways to cure them. One way to prevent diseases such as diabetes and obesity is by educating the public. In the article by Sarah Kliff, the argument that food deserts don’t even matter is brought up. She writes about how a food desert is defined, and how the person in the grocery store buying food is responsible for buying healthy food. Yes, the supermarket sells junk food, but they do also sell some nutritious options as well. Finally, the article by Rebecca Messner gives the reader a look at how one food desert is dealing with the lack of good food. A local church is growing their own food, spinach, kale, lettuce, etc. to give out to the community affected by the desert. The residents are happy with the option to have fresh grown and chemical free food that is supplied by a local organization. This is shown by how fast the food is given out at harvest time.
“No we are not suddenly starving to death but we are slowly and surely malnourishing ourselves to death.” Will Powers believes that although America may not be experiencing third world poverty and starvation, the lack of access to naturally grown, sustainably harvested food has lead to increased health issues and as a result higher health care and social costs. Power’s business looked at the Recovery Act and started brainstorming how to reward sustainable food sources and promote green jobs. He tries to relate to President Obama by asking him, the first African American president to acknowledge his work as an African American farmer and to realize that government programming like food stamps is not going to solve the problem, but instead a fervent demand by legislators for food sources to go back to the good soil in which America’s first farms were based. The articles would critique Powers by asking, “are we malnourishing ourselves or are we still choyosing, despite exposure to produce, to choose the easier junk food alternative?” Growing power also has many established programs that aim to promote and encourage young generations to invest in the food issue and offers internships to those interested in green growth. Just because we throw these programs out there does that mean that people will come running? The concept of a food desert still struggles to gain academic clout but appears evident in many recent studies. Will Green Powers be able to attract the given attention necessary to recruit youth that will continue the sustainable fight in future when many of these youth have no concept of soil based production? Just because a call to action is initiated doesn’t mean a response will come. Green Powers is fighting an uphill battle against federal policies that all too easily succumb to the cheapest prices. It may but unjust that grocery stores have grape fruits that need to be saran wrapped, but until the demand by the general public for food rights, our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness continue to be in jeopardy because of programs that put a band aid on the issue.
“Demand, President Obama, that Congress and your own Administration begin without delay the process of reforming our farm and food policies.” In his article “Good Food Manifesto,” Will Allen directly addresses the President to take action regarding the food desert issue in the United States. Allen believes that if the government gets involved with farm and food policies, this country will not have as many problems as it does now. The agriculture in today’s society has become too industrialized. I support Allen in his effort to make the government have more power over what goes on in the food industry. We need policies that will help individuals be more self-sustaining and provide communities with affordable healthy options. In the Washington Post article, one of the comments that a blogger posted was: “Proper nutrition takes education.” I found this claim thought provoking because I had never thought of healthy eating in the light of proper education. If I wasn’t taught in school or by my parents what foods were healthy and what foods were not, how would I know what to eat in order to have a nutritious diet? Education of healthy vs. non-healthy foods in qualified food deserts is very important to the wellbeing of those communities.
In the “Good Food Manifesto”, Will Allen is claiming that food deserts do exist and is calling on the government to help solve this issue. In fact, he specifically calls upon congress, and President Obama. None of those people may ever read this, but his point is made that he wants the government to get involved by increasing funding or congress revising the guidelines of the National Recovery Act. Then we move to the Washington post article that states “no study has found a connection between increased access to healthy food and improved health care outcomes.” This article seems to think that just by increasing access to healthy foods, doesn’t mean that the people will actually buy them; they may just keep buying the unhealthy foods. In the comments some people suggest that this is because food habits will keep people buying the same foods regardless of newer foods introduced, or that the lower cost of unhealthy foods makes them the more likely to be purchased than the more pricy healthy foods. The urbanite Baltimore piece seems to praise the local church that grows fresh foods for the community. In this case people come and get produce here, but keeping in mind the previous article we have to ask why. Some of the produce is given away, making it cheaper than buying unhealthy foods at the convenience stores. This is what is bringing people in to the markets. It seems as though price is more of a problem than access. If there is equal access to health and unhealthy foods, lower income families will probably choose the lower priced food. Currently that means they choose unhealthy foods. Will Allen calls for more access, but what if we called for changes in pricing. If healthier foods cost less, we might just become a healthier America.
The major thread that runs through the blog posts for this week is that of the balance between national security and the treatment of immigrants. The major concern is how do we defend the dignity of the human person while also defending our nation that the people within our country. Fancycashew presents the question of the benefits and costs of being blind to the suffering of the immigrants in order avoid another terrorist attack on our nation, like the terror that struck our nation on September 11th. Many bloggers bring forward the idea that as a nation we need to be aware of how we treat immigrants and also the effectiveness of immigration process on the security of the nation. Yellow63 states that “People with bad intentions slip through the cracks while innocent and needy people can’t get the care or protection they need.” The correct balance of security and immigration policy to respect and protect immigrants is debated throughout the blogs. After September 11th, the United States needed to recreate a sense of security amongst it’s people, but they walked a fine line in creating a place of security for the people already dwelling in the United States and upholding the country as a place of refuge for those who sought it. The main question becomes, what can the government do to increase the security of the nation and also uphold the dignity and the value of all people? As yellow 63 states, “America is supposed to be the shining city for all, a beacon of hope for those who need it. When we look into the face of an immigrant, we need to understand that they are human.” Hashubah points out that we are a nation created by immigrants and that by recognizing this we may in turn tailor our immigration policies to favor the same people that brought our nation into existence. The question is so intricate and complex that through the blogs no consensus was made, but ardenscor points out one thing that holds true, in response to terrorist attacks, we need to be sure that our treatment of immigrants is not “similar to that of the terrorists we’re trying to stop.” Although we must strive for national security and protect our nations citizens, we must also protect the human dignity of all immigrants that look to the United States as a place of hope and opportunity.
The debate this week centers around immigration. Is the current immigration system too strict, or not strict enough? One side argues that immigration control needs to be strengthened considerably. The events of September 11th, 2001 clearly show the need for a stern oversight on who comes into the country. Terrorists could easily come into the United States if we let our guard down. Immigration control is, therefore, needed for the protection of America and its citizens.
Yet, there is another side that points out the many problems with the strict control on immigration. In particular, many injustices have been found in the current immigration control model, such as in the case of the uncle of Danticat, who died in an immigration detention facility. This example is part of a larger argument. Does the United States treat immigrants like terrorists? Many believe that the immigrants are suspected to be terrorists as the base assumption. Guilty until proven innocent. Also, should immigrants be treated as terrorists? Is the suffering of one small group outweighed by the protection of the larger group? These and many similar issues were discussed in the posts this week. Yet, no real solutions were offered – which is to be expected, seeing as immigration is a complex issue that likely cannot be solved by a group of college students.