When we think of food security we usually think about third world countries halfway across the world and not of our own. However food security is an issue that is affecting many Americans each day. Food security is defined as having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. We live in a culture where fast food is a cheap, fast alternative to a healthy meal. Fast food has become popularized within our culture, and often is a cheap alterative to cooking for people who cannot afford either the time or money to do so. I apologize if this blog post is similar to the one discussing obesity by Peter; I saw his right as I was about to post this one.
Income inequality as well as just general availability of fast food within the United States has lead to a situation in which for many people unhealthy and non-nutritious food is incredibly easy to access. This ease of access as well as situations in which an individual cannot afford either the time or money to cook healthy foods leads to instances of food insecurity in the United States. I’d like to think that as a developed country we would have the ability to provide all citizens with access to affordable and nutritious food, but this is not the case. We see convenience stores packed with unhealthy food on street corners near urban schools, which doesn’t exactly set a great example. School lunches also vary widely depending on the school district, with some being healthier than others.
As for the problem of food security in general I learned mostly about this in one of my classes during a discussion of inequality in America, both racial and economic. We discussed how there was a lack of availability of cheap healthy foods in certain urban centers, which would lead to instances of food insecurity. There are some business solutions that can be effective in curbing food insecurity. Already there exist food banks who help people who may not be able to afford food, and by potentially shifting the focus of food banks towards healthier foods in urban centers more people could have access to them. This isn’t entirely clear-cut though, as many food banks rely on food that can be stored for long periods of time so that they can serve many different people. Fresh healthy food spoils quickly, which would pose a challenge on the supply chain of this new type of food bank.
There are pros and cons to using business solutions to solve social issues, but I feel food banks could be better leveraged to help provide healthy food to people. While a food bank may not technically be a business and more of an organization, I think that this is a potential valid solution to a social issue. With any social issue there needs to be adequate awareness raised, which is something that cannot necessarily be done entirely by a business or organization. It ultimately becomes something that everyone needs to strive to eliminate.