Kiese Hansen is a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow who recently spent six months at Greater Twin Cities United Way.
At Greater Twin Cities United Way, we know the numbers surrounding need when it comes to hunger: One in eight Americans are food insecure. One in six children are hungry.
This adds up to more than 40 million people and 20 million households
receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
There are so many ways to say the same thing- the number of people who
are going hungry continues to increase. From 1995 to 2017, the
prevalence of food insecurity in American households has fluctuated, but
has never fallen below 10 percent.
Just hearing the numbers above is staggering. But, while I opened
this blog by leading with the challenge, my field placement as a Bill
Emerson National Hunger Fellow at Greater Twin Cities United Way has
taught me the importance of switching the narrative
when it comes to talking about hunger and food security. This is for the
purposes of shifting power, providing agency, and inspiring change.
Instead of leading with the problem, we could all do more to lead with the solution.
For example, in North Minneapolis a network of nonprofit organizations,
youth, community activists, urban farmers, local businesses, and
residents are working to strengthen their community food system. While
the Greater Twin Cities overall metro ranks high on “best places to
live” and “most bike-friendly cities” lists, neighborhoods like North Minneapolis are not usually described this way.
Decades of disinvestment have left North Minneapolis to navigate
challenges unseen across other parts of the city, including high rates
of food insecurity due to low access and affordability.
Read more at gtcuw.org.