This project organized by The Giving Table calls food bloggers to get together on April 8th, 2013 and do good with food, and use their blog as a platform to fight hunger.
I spend nearly everyday thinking about hunger and how it impacts the people in our community. From the inaccessibility of healthy food, either because of cost, or food desserts, to supporting policies ( which does occasionally involve an organized group of concerned individuals at city hall) that support the health and well being of the people that live here.
Why? Because I think food is important, and powerful. It’s a connector, and community builder, and it’s a means of control, I feel strongly that food is an inalienable right, and if people are hungry, we are doing something wrong as a society. We are missing something important.
In an article in this months Walrus, Nick Sault, president of Community Food Centres Canada, talks about how in addition to feeding hungry people, Food Banks may feed the problem of poverty and hunger by creating an environment of complacency within society. I think there are some food banks that are becoming more than just a place people can pick up a hamper, but like Sault says in his article:
“We not only can do better, we must do better. We need to stop cheering on an approach that has already failed, and instead focus on the root of the problem: people are hungry because they are poor. They do not have enough money for food because of inadequate income supports, minimum wages that do not cover the bills, and the lack of affordable housing and child care”
– quoted from The Hunger Game: Food banks may compound the very problems they should be solving – By Nick Saul (April 2013 – The Walrus)
I recommend seeing A Place at the Table if you haven’t yet had the chance. You might have even seen it at last year’s Hot Docs festival, but it is also playing at the Bloor Cinema until April 13th. You can check out the trailer below.
I’d like to highlight that while there are many projects on hunger overseas and in other countries, it’s easy to forget that there is hunger happening in our backyards. Last week I posted the UN Special Rapporteur for Food statistics and I must reiterate – we can do so much better! Let’s do better. Let’s not just talk about it, let’s take action.
What can you do?
- Find out who your Canadian MP is and write them a letter/email. If you are in the USA you can take a moment and send a letter to your congress person to support anti-hunger legislation.
- Take a look at groups like the Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre, Food Not Bombs, Food Share, Food Secure Canada, The Stop, or Not Far From the Tree. There might be similar ones in your community.
- Add your voice, your skills, your money, or your time to groups making the world a better place through empowerment and education.
Tonight there are two food related events that I’m looking forward to: A coalition event on “Tasting Food Democracy” (it’s also being live streamed) and the West End Food Co-op‘s Annual General Meeting.
After all that, it almost seems silly to talk about recipes, but the reality is, that it can be hard to find good healthy food on a budget. I think Plant Based on a Budget does a great job of compiling recipes that aren’t full of unobtainable ingredients or fancy herbs that you might not be able to grow. I also think this collection of “Truly Starving Artist Cookbook” recipes on The Vegan Police is also pretty great and conscious option.
When I was a student, and not living on discount vegan-friendly protein powder and oatmeal, my next go to dish was lentil rice soup. One of the benefits of living on the prairies, was having the opportunity to work at a federal agency that inspected food – an agency that occasionally had left overs of beans and pulses that we could take home. I was also part of the student run horticultural group, where Autumn brought with it a windfall of veggies I could go pick from the fields myself.
I’ve since remade it with a bit of rosemary and carrots, but it’s still budget conscious. Carrots & onions have a fairly long lifespan. Dried beans and legumes are cheap, even if you buy organic (check out a local food co-op if you have one), and quite satisfying and nutritious.
Simple Rosemary Lentil Rice Soup
1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
2 chopped onions.
3-4 large carrots, chopped.
2 cups of dry green lentils, rinsed and drained.
1 cup of brown rice.
8 cups water or stock.*
bay leaves if you have them
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 sprigs of rosemary or 1 tsp dried.
* It’s inexpensive to make your own stock, but it does cost time. Bouillon cubes are another great option
1. Put oil and chopped onions into a large soup pot, heat and stir until the onions are translucent.
2. I like to add the carrots in with the onions for a minute or two.
3. Add the water or vegetable stock.
4. Add lentils and rice.
5. Turn the heat down a little bit, add the bay leaves, black pepper, rosemary. Wait on adding the salt till the lentils have had time to cook.
6. Let it cook until beans and rice are soft. With brown rice that can take up to an hour+ so keep checking on it. Add salt to taste
Serves 4-6. Leftover soup can be frozen for later. And it pairs great with hot sauce. This entire pot of soup is under $4 with a visit to a bulk food store.