The U.S. is known for abundance, but not everyone gets enough food. The problem of hunger has been growing, but solutions tend to be of the Band-Aid variety, with little promise of a lasting resolution. For political candidates, solving our hunger problem means wading into the complex problem of providing immediate answers and long-term solutions.
Did You Know?
Food stamp recipients are at an all-time high, coming in at 44 million Americans in 2010. With conservatives calling Obama a “food stamp” president — and all candidates under the gun to answer to budget constraints—the heat is on to solve the problem of 15 percent of U.S. homes suffering food insecurity.
Even Sesame Street gave a nod to the problem in late 2011, bringing out a new muppet, 7-year-old Lily, who puts a face to the food insecurity that affects one in six American children. Furthermore, poverty is linked to higher rates of obesity — partly due to little physical activity and cheap (but nutritionally lacking) food. Access to food can have a big impact, beyond just satisfying hunger. Kids who get a nutritious breakfast are known to learn more and do better in school, according to studies.
The Farm Bill, up for its five-year reapproval this year, will determine the fate of millions of Americans’ nutritional needs. In April, the House Agriculture Committee voted to cut $33 billion from the program over the next decade. Two days later, lawmakers began hearings on the Farm Bill. Food stamps are also on the chopping block for children of undocumented immigrants in several states. Currently, more than two-thirds of funding in the Farm Bill goes to the food stamp program and other nutrition programs.