Join us for a two part Community Conversation in Lafayette on the topic Hunger and Democracy.
On April 26th, 2018, we are showing the 2013 documentary film A Place at the Table, which documents the U.S.’s widespread and increasing hunger and food insecurity—lack of consistent access to nutritious food.
Following the film, which lasts a little under 85 minutes, we will invite comments and questions from the audience.
On the following Thursday, May 3, same place, same time, a panel of local experts will lead a conversation about issues raised in the film and by audience members.
A Place at the Table explores the causes of hunger and food insecurity. Poverty plays a large role, of course. Hunger is about jobs and inadequate wages; food insecurity is common among the working poor. It results also from a federal government that subsidizes the production of processed food so that it is cheap and readily available. Big profits from corn, wheat, and soybeans allow megafarm corporations to invest in infrastructure to make processed food. Agribusiness spends millions lobbying Congress to continue the subsidies. (Money in Politics again.) Growers of healthy food like fruits and vegetables, usually smaller-scale farmers, are not subsidized.
The film recounts how the 1968 CBS-TV documentary Hunger in America caused Americans to insist on an improved federal safety net. Expansion of the food stamp program, the addition of a school breakfast program to the lunch program (begun in 1946), and other measures in the 1970s eliminated hunger almost entirely. In the 1980s, Congress began underfunding food assistance and other social programs, owing to the Reagan tax cuts, increased defense spending, and a new American attitude that the government is doing too much while the private sector does a wonderful job. Thus began the proliferation of “emergency” responses such as soup kitchens and food banks, and hunger went from emergency to chronic. Today perhaps 50 million Americans rely on a secondary food system called charity.
We urge everyone to attend the film screening and discussion on April 26th! Plan on returning on May 3rd when speakers from four local and statewide nonprofits will provide their perspectives.
Click here for a summary of A Place at the Table.
We also invite you to reac about the reality behind eight common myths about hunger.