News Release

Hunger: * Record in U.S. * Global Meeting

The Washington Post reports today: “The nation’s economic crisis has catapulted the number of Americans who lack enough food to the highest level since the government has been keeping track, according to a new federal report, which shows that nearly 50 million people — including almost one child in four — struggled last year to get enough to eat.”

Voice of America is reporting: “Representatives of many humanitarian organizations are attending the Rome Food Security Summit, looking for concrete action plans to deal with hunger.”

Author of the study “Race and Recession: How Inequity Rigged the Economy and How to Change the Rules,” Wessler is researcher at the Applied Research Center in New York City. He said today: “Record levels of hunger are striking women-led families and families of color the hardest. The compounding effects of racially disparate unemployment, a job market that pushes women and people of color into low-wage work, and a degraded system of social support, have left millions unable to feed their families. The federal government should increase food assistance to ensure states can handle the extent of need. All eligibility restrictions for food assistance and time limits and work requirements for Temporary Aid to Needy Families should be suspended. Meanwhile, jobs creation programs should focus on the most vulnerable.”

Eric Holt-Gimenez, executive director of Food First/The Institute for Food and Development Policy, is co-author of the new book Food Rebellions: Crisis and the Hunger for Justice. He said today: “People in the U.S. are now suffering from hunger almost as much as people in much of the rest of the world. The USDA report refers to ‘food shortages,’ but that doesn’t mean an actual shortage of food, it means that poor households come up short in accessing the abundant food available. The problem is not a lack of food — it is the food system, dominated by Monsanto, Walmart and Cargill, which are posting record profits.

“We’ve had three summits since the latest food crisis broke and none of them have dealt with the real issues. …

“The summits end up calling in the arsonists to put out the fire they started — like calling for more food aid. It’s looked on as an actual solution rather than a stopgap measure, which actually aggravates the underlining problem — poverty — because it puts local farmers at a disadvantage. It puts them out of business, so they end up as impoverished recipients of food aid instead of independent farmers.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167