Saturday, November 25, 2006

Food Insecurity??

Homeless Now Will Be Condominium Deprived

The major media covered this issue well in ridiculing the Department of Agriculture for changing the name of hungry people to the "Food Insecure." I really have no problems with the use of the term, but the report on this story was spotty across the country. Just because government decides to use a euphemism does not mean that the media cannot use the word "hunger." I noticed the Oregon paper used "Hunger" in their headline, but most used Food Insecurity. WCPN did a nice job on Wednesday (they have a podcast on their front page right now) with a discussion about "food insecurity." Representatives of the Food Bank, West Side Catholic, and the Center for Community Solutions discussed the state of hunger in Cleveland.

The other problem with the reporting was that this new wording caused confusion among the reporters nationally. The Department of Agriculture divided the hungry population into two new categories--"very low food security" and "low food security." This made it difficult to compare previous year's reports, since these were new categories. The number of people who were actually hungry in America increased by 100,000 people since 2004. Most of the headlines said that there was a drop in food insecurity. This drop was only for those who do not have enough food on a regular basis, but were not hungry.

This is why people are skeptical of government. They change the statistics to suit their own political needs. This is similar to the Department of Labor redefining unemployment during the Reagan administration so that the numbers went down. Some commentators reflected on the holding of the report until after the election. I am sure that this report will be forgotten before the close off retail business on this first holiday shopping weekend. Politicians and media don't get excited about food insecurity, which is unfortunate. The 10.8 million people in America who are in fact hungry need some discussion about this issue. They need to discuss why it is so hard to get food stamps (thanks WCPN for raising this issue). They need to relate this to local policy and how many hungry people there are in American cities. How does hunger differ in rural and the urban settings? We all understand at the base level the concept of hunger, but food insecurity sounds like a high school science project.

Next year, in an effort to appeal to Cranky Editor Feagler we are searching for a more high brow, scientific word or series of words to replace "homelessness." Here are my entries, but you are welcome to submit your own:

1. Condominium Deprived
2. Efficiency Insecure Individuals
3. Nomadic Expeditionists
4. Transmigratory Self Contained Pioneers

The last one maybe too high brow for America. It might be better for Europe. What is your choice for the "food insecure of the homeless world?"



Blogger Scott said...

Old school and just prefer to be called homeless.

My question is "How much did it cost the Department of Agriculture to come up with the tag "Food Insecurity"? I'm sure many meals could have been served with this money.

Scott (Homeless in Salt Lake City)
Turning It Over

2:25 PM  

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