At the Table

S1 Ep 1: Your neighbor is food insecure

September 13, 2022 Kevin Season 1 Episode 1
At the Table
S1 Ep 1: Your neighbor is food insecure
Show Notes Transcript

Season 1 theme is Sustainability in various aspects of life.  Today's episode focuses on "Sustainable Satiety," how we can ensure our neighbors and loved ones are nourished and satisfied.  We unpack the challenges and opportunities to tackle food insecurity with Brenda Snitzer, Exec Director of The Stewpot, a local Presbyterian church org that  serves food and offers social services.  And Ples Montgomery from the Oak Cliff Veggie Project that helps communities become more self-reliant through the building of community gardens and nutrition education.

ACCORDING TO THE USDA, IN 2020, ABOUT 11% OF US HOUSEHOLDS WERE FOOD INSECURE. THEY WERE EITHER UNCERTAIN OF HAVING OR UNABLE TO ACQUIRE ENOUGH FOOD TO MEET THE NEEDS OF ALL THEIR MEMBERS. AND GLOBALLY, THE NUMBERS ARE EVEN MORE STAGGERING. THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION ESTIMATES THAT ABOUT 29% OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION, THAT'S 2.3 BILLION PEOPLE, WERE MODERATELY OR SEVERELY FOOD INSECURE. SO IT BEGS THE QUESTION, WHO ARE THESE FOOD INSECURE INDIVIDUALS? THEY ARE OUR NEIGHBORS. THE PEOPLE AT YOUR JOB, FOLKS YOU SIT NEXT TO IN CHURCH OR EVEN THOSE THAT MAY SERVE YOU IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY. THEY LOOK JUST LIKE ME AND YOU BECAUSE THEY ARE US. TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES TO ENSURING THAT EVERYONE IS NOURISHED, JESSE AND I BROKE BREAD WITH TWO LOCAL EXPERTS THAT WORK IN THE AREA OF FOOD INSECURITY. PLE S, BRENDA, THANK YOU ALL FOR JOINING US TODAY FOR LUNCH. I'M ENJOYING IT ALREADY. YES, THIS IS ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. THANK YOU. AND I DIDN'T SAY THAT. THERE'S BRENDA SNITZER. SHE IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE STEW POT, A LOCAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH ORGANIZATION THAT SERVES FOOD AND OFFERS A HOST OF SOCIAL SERVICES FOR THOSE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS, HOUSING PLACEMENT, AND EVEN PROGRAMS FOR AT RISK YOUTH. AND PLES MONTGOMERY FROM THE OAK CLIFF VEGGIE PROJECT THAT HELPS COMMUNITIES BECOME MORE SELF RELIANT THROUGH THE BUILDING OF COMMUNITY GARDENS AND NUTRITION AND FOOD EDUCATION PROGRAMS TO HELP EMPOWER PEOPLE TO CONTROL WHAT AND HOW THEY EAT. THIS IS PART PODCAST, PART STORYTELLING, AND PART BREAKING BREAD. THIS IS AT THE TABLE FOR THE LISTENERS OUT THERE. CAN YOU ALL GIVE US A WORKING DEFINITION OF WHAT FOOD INSECURITY IS? ONE, YOU'RE WONDERING ABOUT WHERE YOUR NEXT MEAL IS GOING TO COME FROM. YOU DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO HEALTHY FOODS. AND THIS IS SOMETHING CALLED IN ADDITION TO FOOD DESERTS AND THINGS WE'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT LATER IS A TERM CALLED FOOD SWAMP. FOR THOSE WHO MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH THE TERM, I'LL INTRODUCE THEM. WE CAN TALK ABOUT THAT A LITTLE BIT AS WELL. PLEASE, GO RIGHT AHEAD. FOOD SWAMP IS WHAT WE HAVE MORE SO IT KIND OF EXISTS WITHIN THE FOOD DESERT SPACE. SO THE FOOD SWAMP IS WHERE THERE IS ACCESS TO FOOD, BUT THOSE FOODS ARE NOT THE BEST FOR YOU. LIKE YOU SAID, THERE'S PLENTY OF ACCESS. LIKE THERE'S CHICKEN SHACKS AND BURGER JOINTS AND WHATEVER IS ON ALMOST EVERY CORNER IN EVERY PORTION OF OUR LOCAL AREA HERE IN DALLAS. RIGHT, BUT ALL THOSE FOODS, WHAT ARE THOSE FOODS? LIKE, WHAT'S THE IMPACT ON YOUR HEALTH AND YOUR FAMILY'S HEALTH AND THE TOTAL WELLNESS OF THE COMMUNITY? THAT IS WHAT A FOOD SWAMP IS, WHERE THERE IS ACCESS TO FOOD. BUT THAT IS LIKE IT'S TRASH FOOD. THAT'S SO INTERESTING BECAUSE THE DEFINITION FROM THE USDA IS LACKING RELIABLE ACCESS TO SUFFICIENT QUANTITY OF AFFORDABLE NUTRITIOUS FOOD, WHICH I THOUGHT WAS REALLY INTERESTING THAT THEY PUT THAT IN THERE. IT'S ALMOST LIKE A RECOGNITION THAT THEY KNOW THAT A LOT OF THESE NEIGHBORHOODS. A LOT OF AREAS DON'T HAVE THE NUTRITIOUS FOOD. THERE'S FOOD THERE. AND SO THEY'RE MAKING THAT DISTINCTION THAT IT'S GOT TO BE NOURISHING FOR PEOPLE. WELL, AND A LOT OF THE KIDS AND FAMILIES GROW UP ON THAT KIND OF FOOD, SO THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW TASTY, HEALTHY FOOD CAN BE. AND SO THAT BECOMES JUST PART OF THEIR LIFESTYLE BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THEY HAVE ACCESS TO. IT'S THE CHEAPER FOOD, AND THEY DON'T GROW UP WITH GOOD NUTRITION. AND AS WE KNOW, THE FIRST COUPLE OF YEARS FOR A CHILD ARE CRITICAL FOR BRAIN DEVELOPMENT WITH THE NUTRITION AND HEALTH THAT THEY NEED. SO THE SWAMP IS A PERFECT DESCRIPTION FOR HELPING PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THAT JUST BECAUSE THERE IS ACCESS IN SOME NEIGHBORHOODS, IT'S NOT THE RIGHT KIND OF FOOD THAT'S BEING ACCESSED. TO FULLY UNDERSTAND THIS CONCEPT OF A FOOD SWAMP, JESSE AND I TOOK A DRIVE THROUGH OLD EAST DALLAS. IT'S A HISTORICALLY LOW INCOME AND UNDERSERVED AREA OF THE CITY THAT WAS CUT OFF FROM INVESTMENT DUE TO RED LINING AND HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION. THE AREA WOULD BE AND IS CONSIDERED A FOOD DESERT. SINCE THERE ARE NO GROCERY STORES WITHIN 1 MILE, IT'S LOW INCOME, AND TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM A GROCERY STORE IS A SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGE. BLOCK AFTER BLOCK, WE SAW FAST FOOD JOINTS, LIQUOR STORES, AND CONVENIENCE STORES. AND THEN WE NOTICED ONE THAT ADVERTISED AS A SUPERMARKET. SO WE DECIDED TO POP IN AND SEE THE TYPES OF GROCERIES THEY OFFER. AND YOU ALL AS SOON AS WE STEPPED INSIDE, WE WERE GREETED BY CANDY, CHIPS, SUGARY, CEREALS, CUPCAKES. ESSENTIALLY NOT ONE NOURISHING ITEM WAS ON THAT SHELF. ON THE OTHER AISLE, THERE WERE CANNED GOODS PEOPLE COULD PURCHASE, BUT THERE WAS SO MUCH DUST ON THE CANS, AND THE INK ON THE ORANGE TAG WAS SO FAINT THAT I COULDN'T EVEN MAKE OUT THE NUMBERS. AND WHEN I ASKED THE STORE OWNER FOR A CONFIRMATION ON WHAT APPEARED TO BE AN EXPIRED CAN OF SPINACH, HE ABRUPTLY ASKED THAT WE JUST SHOWED THE SHELF AND NOT THE PRICE. THE GOAL IS OVERALL HEALTH. JUST BECAUSE YOU WERE EATING DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU ARE PROVIDING NUTRITION AND WELLNESS FOR YOUR BODY. AND THIS GOES TO THE OVERALL HEALTH OF THE COMMUNITY. SO LATER ON IN LIFE NOW, WE HAVE MORE PEOPLE THAT ARE IN THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM FOR THINGS THAT THEY WOULD NOT NECESSARILY HAVE HAD TO BE IN THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM FOR, BECAUSE THE ONLY FOOD THAT THEY HAD EASY ACCESS AND AFFORDABLE BASED ON THEIR ECONOMIC MEANS, WAS SLOWLY DETERIORATING AND HURTING THEIR BODIES. OVERALL, ACCORDING TO THE CDC, THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN THE US. IN THE PAST TWO YEARS WAS NOT COVID. IT'S HEART DISEASE. AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE MORTALITY RATES AMONG ETHNIC GROUPS, BLACK AND AMERICAN INDIAN POPULATIONS HAVE THE HIGHEST PERCENTAGES OF ADULTS IN FAIR OR POOR HEALTH. HEARING WHAT PLES AND BRENDA DO WAS SO INSPIRING. IT LED US TO DISCOVER OTHER ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE SERVING THE LOCAL COMMUNITY LIKE CITY SQUARE, WHERE THEIR PANTRY IS SET UP LIKE A GROCERY STORE. THERE'S JUST A LOT OF DIGNITY THAT COMES WITH CHOOSING YOUR OWN FOOD. SO THE NEIGHBORS SHOP THROUGH. WE HAVE EVERYTHING SET UP BY CATEGORY, SO IF YOU SHOP THROUGH THE SAME AS AT A GROCERY STORE, YOU'RE LIKE, OH, WHAT AM I GOING TO MAKE TONIGHT? OH, HEY, WE HAVE RICE. I'M GOING TO GRAB THIS. AND I HAD SOME CHICKEN FROM THE FREEZER AND THEN I GRABBED SOME BELL PEPPERS FROM THE REFRIGERATOR. I HAVE A WHOLE MEAL OF MY HEAD PLANNED OUT TO MAKE THAT. OR MAYBE I DON'T ALREADY HAVE RICE AT HOME. LET ME GRAB SOME PASTA. OKAY, WE GOT SOME NICE LOW CARBS OPTION. WE HAVE A REGULAR PASTA AS WELL. SO WE REALLY TRY TO GIVE OUR NEIGHBORS CHOICE. AND ANOTHER COOL ADD IS THAT AT THE END OF EACH AISLE THERE'S A QR CODE WHERE PEOPLE CAN GET RECIPES BASED OFF THE FOOD PRODUCTS IN THAT AISLE. AND BONTON FARMS IS VERY SIMILAR TO THE OAK CLIFF VEGGIE PROJECT IN THAT THEY PLANTED A COMMUNITY GARDEN AND A MINI FARM IN THE MIDDLE OF OLD EAST DALLAS, AND THEY NOW SERVE AS A CAFE AND A RESTAURANT ON THE PROPERTY TO INCREASE FOOT TRAFFIC AND COMMERCE IN THE AREA. AND ALL THE OPERATIONS ARE RUN BY MEMBERS OF THE LOCAL COMMUNITY. EARLY IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, NEARLY 15% OF US. HOUSEHOLDS AND NEARLY 18% OF HOUSEHOLDS WITH CHILDREN REPORTED FOOD INSECURITY. AND THAT'S ACCORDING TO A SURVEY CONDUCTED BY RESEARCHERS AT THE NYU SCHOOL OF GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH THAT WAS ALSO PUBLISHED IN THE NUTRITION JOURNAL. PRIOR TO THE PANDEMIC, THAT NUMBER WAS JUST 11%. AND ACROSS THE US. ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE STEW POT SAW A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN THOSE NEEDING ASSISTANCE AS THE HEALTH AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS WERE GREATER FOR ALREADY DISADVANTAGED POPULATIONS. WE OFFER MULTIPLE HOUSING OPTIONS. WE HAVE RAPID RE HOUSING PROGRAMS, WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO QUICKLY GET INDIVIDUALS OFF THE STREET AND INTO HOUSING AND BACK INTO COMMUNITY. WE ALSO ARE STARTING A PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING PROGRAM, WHICH IS GOING TO FOCUS MORE ON THE CHRONICALLY HOMELESS INDIVIDUALS. SO THESE INDIVIDUALS HAVE BEEN HOMELESS FOR YEARS AND WORKING TO GET THEM OFF THE STREET AND INTO HOUSING. SO WE ALSO PROVIDE RENTAL ASSISTANCE TO PREVENT INDIVIDUALS FROM GOING HOMELESS. SO IF YOU'RE SOMEBODY THAT LOST YOUR JOB DUE TO COVID, YOU CAN COME IN AND WE CAN PROVIDE THAT ASSISTANCE TO KEEP YOUR HOUSE AND STOP YOU FROM ENTERING INTO THE SYSTEM. A LOT OF TIMES OUR CLIENTS ARE STIGMATIZED AND I THINK THAT'S A WAY FOR PEOPLE TO SEPARATE THEMSELVES FROM IT AND SAY LIKE, THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO ME. BUT WHAT YOU REALLY SEE IS ANYBODY COULD END UP HOMELESS. IT'S A LOT OF TIMES JUST ONE THING WENT WRONG AND HERE YOU ARE BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T HAVE THE AVAILABLE SUPPORT THAT YOU NEEDED. THIS IS ONE OF THE LEVELS OF THE STEW POT AND THIS IS THE ARTIST LEVEL IN THE OTHER ROOMS OVER THERE ARE THE DIFFERENT ART GALLERIES WHERE THEY HAVE ARTISTS AND THE ARTISTS ARE ALL CLIENTS OF THE STEW POT. AND WHAT'S AMAZING IS THAT THEY MAKE THESE PAINTINGS. THE SUPPLIES ARE JUST PROVIDED FROM THE STEW POT AND ALL THE DONATIONS THAT PEOPLE GIVE. AND 90% OF THE PROCEEDS OF THE SALE OF THESE GO BACK TO THE ARTISTS AND THE 10% GOES BACK TO THE STEW POT PAYING FOR SUPPLIES AND ALL THE ADMINISTRATIVE STUFF. WE TALK TO AN ARTIST AND THINGS LIKE THIS MATTER. HOW ARE YOU DOING? PERFECTLY WELL. LIKEWISE. YOU'RE DOING SOME ARTWORK OVER HERE TODAY? YES. DO YOU MIND IF WE LOOK AT IT? SURE. OH, YOU'RE DOING JEANS. YOU HAVE SOME CLOTHES. YES. I LIKE TO BE NOT JUST ORIGINAL, BUT ONE OF A KIND. YES. WELL, THOSE ARE BRAGGING RIGHTS. THEN YOU COULD SAY PROBABLY CAN'T WALK INTO THE STORE AND GET THESE. I'M THE ONLY ONE IN THE WORLD WITH THIS. YEAH, I LIKE THAT. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING THIS? THE PAINTING WITH STEWPOT. I STARTED WITH CYNTHIA TWO YEARS BEFORE SHE LEFT. SEVEN YEARS AND THEN I LOVE THE RESOURCES. IT'S PHENOMENAL, BUT PHENOMENAL WHAT YOU CAN DO AND GET DONE IN THE THINGS THAT YOU CAN RECEIVE AND THE AVENUES, OUTLETS THAT ARE AVAILABLE. HE'S BEEN DOING THIS FOR ABOUT SEVEN YEARS, PAINTING AND IF YOU CAN THINK ABOUT SOME OF THE INCREMENTAL WAYS THAT YOU CAN SUPPLEMENT YOUR INCOME BY USING SOMETHING THAT YOU'RE PASSIONATE ABOUT. SO I IMAGINE THAT IT'S A COMBINATION OF JUST THE PASSION THAT YOU HAVE FOR ART, BUT USING THAT AS A WAY TO BUILD INCOME AND BUILD A LOT MORE STABILITY. SO I LOVE THIS APPROACH TOO, FROM THE STEWPOT, BECAUSE IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT PROVIDING PEOPLE THE RESOURCES THAT THEY NEED, BUT ALSO AN AVENUE TO CREATE INCOME FOR THEMSELVES. PAYMENTS ARE REALLY DOPE. I'M ACTUALLY TRYING TO BID ON ONE RIGHT NOW AND GET ONE. SO CROSS MY FINGERS, IT'S NOT ALREADY SOLD. LIFE IS NOT SOMETHING THAT'S SUPPOSED TO BE LIVED, THAT'S SUPPOSED TO BE DONE ALONE. THE HONEYBEE AND THE FLOWER ARE, AT LEAST TO OUR EYE, ARE TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ORGANISMS. BUT THEY WORK IN A HARMONY AND IMBALANCE IN ORDER TO PROVIDE THE ABUNDANCE. AND THAT ABUNDANCE IS THE TRUTH OF EXISTENCE. THAT SCARCITY IS A LIE THAT CAPITALISM TELLS US AND DEFINES ITS ECONOMIC STRUCTURE. BUT IT IS ABSOLUTELY A LIE. LIKE THE EXISTENCE IS ABUNDANCE. THERE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH TO GO AROUND. THE REASON WHY WE HAVE FOOD AND INSECURITIES IS BECAUSE THERE'S A 40% WASTE. THAT'S WHY WE GET FOOD AND DO FOOD RECOVERY. 700,000 LBS OF FOOD LAST YEAR THAT WE RECOVERED AND WENT TO USE. THE FOOD INSECURITY ISSUE IS BASED ON OUR INABILITY OR UNWILLINGNESS BY THOSE WITH THE INFLUENCE AND THE POWER AND THE MEANS TO CREATE SYSTEMS THAT PROVIDE EQUITY ACROSS ACCESS, TRANSPORTATION, COST EFFECTIVENESS, AND NOT JUST FOR THE CONSUMER, BUT ALSO FOR THE PRODUCERS. OUR FARMERS ARE WOEFULLY, ARE LIVING ALMOST LIVING LIVES VERY CLOSE TO POVERTY AS WELL BECAUSE OF THIS IDEA OF SCARCITY THAT EXISTS IN THE DESIGN OF WHAT THE PRICE POINTS THAT FOOD IS SET AT. ACCORDING TO THE USDA, BETWEEN 30% TO 40% OF THE FOOD SUPPLY IN THE US. IS WASTED. AND TO PUT THIS INTO CONTEXT, IN 2010 IT WAS ESTIMATED THAT 31% OF THE FOOD IS LOST AT THE RETAIL AND THE CONSUMER LEVEL, WHICH TRANSLATES TO ABOUT 133 BILLION POUNDS AND $160 BILLION WORTH OF FOOD, PART OF WHICH COULD HAVE HELPED FEED FAMILIES INSTEAD OF BEING SENT TO A LANDFILL. BUT THERE'S HOPE FOR US. A PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITION RESEARCH GROUP OUT OF NYU HAS BEEN INCUBATING WAYS TO SOLVE FOOD WASTE THROUGH APPS LIKE FOOD TO SHARE THAT ESSENTIALLY CONNECT RESTAURANTS TO INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE FOOD INSECURE IN ORGANIZATIONS SERVING THAT POPULATION TO REPURPOSE THE USABLE FOOD THAT IS GENERALLY DISCARDED. AND THIS IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE, Y'ALL, THERE ARE SEVERAL OTHER GROUPS AND RESTAURANTS IMPLEMENTING SIMILAR INITIATIVES TO PARTNER WITH FOOD PANTRIES TO GIVE THEM THEIR EXCESS. THEREFORE, THE WORK THAT ORGANIZATIONS LIKE OAK CLIFF VEGGIE PROJECT IS DOING IS SO IMPORTANT, SHOWING COMMUNITIES HOW TO BECOME SELFSUSTAINING BY GROWING THEIR OWN NUTRITIOUS FOOD. CAN YOU LET PEOPLE KNOW WHAT IS A FOOD DESERT VERSUS FOOD APARTHEID? A FOOD DESERT REALLY MAKES THE COMMUNITIES THAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THAT'S DEFICIT LANGUAGE AND REALLY NEGATIVE ABOUT THE COMMUNITY. AND THERE MAY BE A LOT OF, LIKE THE BODEGAS OR DIFFERENT FARM OR DIFFERENT WAYS THAT PEOPLE CAN GET FOOD MAKES THAT AREA SOUND REALLY NEGATIVE. APARTHEID IS REALLY FOCUSING MORE ON THE REASON THERE IS NOT THE ACCESS, WHICH IS THE SYSTEMIC OR INFRASTRUCTURE RACISM THAT'S OCCURRED IN THOSE COMMUNITIES OVER TIME. AND SO IN DALLAS, THAT'S A HUGE PART OF THE AREAS THAT ARE TERMED FOOD DESERT. ACCORDING TO THE CITY OF DALLAS, THERE ARE 4500 PEOPLE LIVING IN THOSE COMMUNITIES. THEY TERM FOOD DESERT. AND IF YOU LOOK ON MAPS, THAT WOULD PARTICULARLY BE WHERE THERE HAS BEEN SYSTEMIC RACISM IN DALLAS AND THE WAY THAT A LOT OF COMMUNITIES HAVE BEEN CUT OFF BY THE HIGHWAYS, THE FREEWAYS, THE WAY ROADS WERE BUILT, JUST THE PAST RACISM IN DALLAS, THERE IS ALWAYS MORE THAN ENOUGH TO GO AROUND. THERE IS ENOUGH IN EXISTENCE FOR EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT IS ALIVE RIGHT NOW AND THAT WILL EXIST. AND WE SIMPLY NEED TO COME TO THAT UNDERSTANDING AND DESIGN SYSTEMS THAT WORK WITHIN THAT UNDERSTANDING, RATHER THAN AN UNDERSTANDING THAT IS COMPLETELY THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT THE TRUTH IS. OKAY, SO LET ME TRY TO SUMMARIZE AND CONTEXTUALIZE WHAT BRENDA AND PLEASE HAVE WELL ARTICULATED AS SYSTEMIC BARRIERS TO ACCESS. FOOD APARTHEID IS DONE TO A COMMUNITY. NOW, IN THE CONTEXT OF THE GROCERY STORES AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, IF CERTAIN AREAS WERE LABELED AS DECLINING OR HAZARDOUS BACK IN THE DAY, THERE WAS LITTLE TO NO INVESTMENT. RETAILERS AND INVESTMENTS WENT INTO OTHER AREAS. AND EVEN THOUGH SUCH PRACTICES WERE BANNED IN THE 60S, DECADES LATER, EVEN TODAY, THE DATA SHOWED THAT THESE AREAS HAVE THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF POVERTY, LOW PROPERTY VALUES AND THE HIGHEST CONCENTRATIONS OF MINORITIES. SO OVER THE YEARS, THE LACK OF ACCESS AND INFRASTRUCTURE COMPOUND THE GENERATIONAL EFFECTS THAT ARE STILL PRESENT TODAY. AND OUR DRIVE THROUGH EAST DALLAS ILLUSTRATED JUST THAT. THERE'S THIS THEORY WHEN I WAS DOING SOME RESEARCH, IT'S CALLED THE CULTURE OF POVERTY, IS THAT WHEN PEOPLE LIVE IN POVERTY FOR SO LONG THAT THEY DEVELOP THIS BEHAVIOR THAT JUST PERPETUATES THAT POVERTY. AND FOR ME, WHEN I READ THAT, I WAS LIKE, OKAY, I COULD SEE THAT. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I FEEL LIKE THAT'S A REALLY DANGEROUS DEFINITION BECAUSE THEN WE ARE BLAMING POOR PEOPLE FOR BEING POOR AND WE'RE NOT DOING ANYTHING TO HELP WITHOUT THE EDUCATION PIECE IT TAKES AWAY FROM THIS FROM THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE POVERTY IS NOT A NATURAL OCCURRENCE. AND THIS GOES BACK TO THE FOOD APARTHEID VERSUS FOOD DESERT. SAYING THAT A SPACE IS A FOOD DESERT TENDS TO HAS THE INVITATION THAT IT'S A NATURALLY OCCURRING SPACE WHICH IS A DESERT. IS THERE'S DESERTS AND PLAINS AND MOUNTAINS AND ALL THESE REGIONS, THOSE ARE NATURALLY OCCURRING SPACES THAT HAVE BUILT IN CHECKS AND BALANCES NEXT TO THE OTHER ENVIRONMENTS THAT THEY EXIST WITHIN. BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT IS HAPPENING. THIS IS A PLANNED AND OPERATED PEOPLE ARE MAKING DECISIONS THAT DO NOT HAVE TO BE MADE IN THAT WAY TO KEEP THESE AREAS LOOKING THIS WAY. I STARTED OVER 30 YEARS AGO WORKING IN THE COMMUNITIES THAT ARE CONSIDERED FOOD DESERTS. AND THERE WAS NOT THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DART WASN'T A THING REALLY. IT WAS JUST STARTING OUT. THERE WAS NOT THE ACCESS TO JOBS AND OUTSIDE THOSE COMMUNITIES. AND SO A LOT OF THE FOLKS WHO WERE LIVING IN THOSE COMMUNITIES REALLY DIDN'T HAVE IT WAS A HELPLESS FEELING. AND I WAS WORKING WITH FOLKS THAT DIDN'T HAVE THEY HAD GROWN UP IN POVERTY, THEY'D GROWN UP WITH THEIR FAMILIES IN THE SAME WAY AND THEY WERE LIVING THEIR LIVES AND ENJOYING THEIR LIVES, BUT LACKING. AND SO 30 YEARS AFTER, THINGS ARE IMPROVING SOMEWHAT, BUT STILL IT IS, AS YOU WERE SAYING, THAT IT'S THE INSTITUTIONS, IT'S THE BIGGER SYSTEM THAT A LOT OF FOLKS IN THOSE COMMUNITIES DON'T FEEL LIKE THEY CAN MAKE A CHANGE IN. SO IT REALLY DOES TAKE ALL OF US THAT DO INFLUENCE THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS THE ORGANIZATIONS THAT CAN HELP, COME IN AND LIFT UP AND BRING IN THOSE ORGANIZATIONS LIKE YOUR OWN FOR US TO HELP THOSE COMMUNITIES CHANGE WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING TO THEM ALL THESE YEARS. OKAY, IF YOU'RE LIKE US, THIS EPISODE LEFT US ENERGIZED TO DO MORE AND HELP AS MUCH AS WE CAN THOSE THAT ARE FOOD INSECURE. SO WHAT DO YOU DO? FIRST THING, YOU CAN ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES AND GET INVOLVED. FOOD PANTRIES AND FOOD BANKS ARE GENERALLY EAGER FOR VOLUNTEERS TO HELP OUT WITH THE DISTRIBUTION. IT'S A HUGE HELP LOGISTICALLY AND FINANCIALLY. AND SECONDLY, YOU CAN DONATE ANY EXCESS, NON EXPIRED FOOD SERVING PEOPLE REQUIRES FUNDING, BUT IT'S AN INVESTMENT IN YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY THAT WILL ULTIMATELY BENEFIT YOU. IN TERMS OF FOOD, GO BY THIS RULE. IF THE QUALITY OF FOOD IS IN SUCH POOR CONDITION THAT YOU WOULDN'T FEED IT TO YOUR FAMILY OR EAT IT FOR YOURSELF, IT'S PROBABLY NOT SOMETHING SOMEONE ELSE WOULD LIKE TO EAT. YEAH, I THINK WE NEED TO SAY THAT ONE MORE TIME. IF YOU WANT TO EAT IT, PLEASE DON'T DONATE THAT. AND IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ACCESS, THEN CONSIDER SPONSORING A FEW FAMILY MEALS, ESPECIALLY AROUND THE HOLIDAYS. AND ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE CITY SQUARE PROVIDE THANKSGIVING DINNERS TO FAMILIES. AND YOU CAN ALSO JUST ASK ORGANIZATIONS WHAT THEIR BIGGEST NEED IS. AND I DID THAT A FEW MONTHS AGO. AND IT WASN'T FOOD, YOU ALL. IT WAS ACTUALLY SOCKS. PEOPLE NEEDED SOCKS. IT'S AN IMPORTANT THING. THAT'S WHY WE GET THEM FROM GRANDMA. HERE WE GO. SOCKS AND UNDERWEAR. AND THIRD, YOU CAN AIM TO BE MORE COMPASSIONATE BY TAKING THE TIME TO UNDERSTAND THE UNIQUE CHALLENGES SOMEONE WHO IS FOOD INSECURE FACES AND EVEN LEARN HOW THEY BECAME TO BE FOOD INSECURE. THIS WILL LIKELY INSPIRE YOU TO DO MORE. WHETHER IT'S DONATING OR EVEN GETTING OUT THERE AND VOTING ON CERTAIN LEGISLATION, YOU WILL BE ENERGIZED TO HELP OTHERS. ALL RIGHT, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AT THE TABLE. AND REMEMBER TO DOWNLOAD AND WATCH AND LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE WHEREVER YOU CHOOSE TO GET YOUR PODCAST. THE FULL VIDEO VERSION OF THE SITDOWN INTERVIEW IS AVAILABLE ON FITMENCOOK.COM FORGET TO SHARE LIKE AND COMMENT GOES A LONG WAY. ALRIGHT Y'ALL, PEACE. SEE YOU.