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Cooking Matters Michigan

Empowering families with the skills, confidence and knowledge to prepare healthy and affordable meals

Unemployment, Changing the Face of Hunger

jhartrick

It's no secret that unemployment numbers are on the rise. In August 2009, the national unemployment rate rose to 9.6 percent. In Michigan, with the fall of the auto industry and the struggle of small businesses to survive in a beleaguered economy, the jobless rate gained two-tenths of a percentage points last month, hitting 15.2 percent. In Detroit? Well, the unemployment rate in Detroit has hit a whopping 28.9 percent. In a way, Detroiters have become the face of a dispirited America - those hard-working folks who continue to survive in the face of an economic downturn.

How has unemployment changed the face of hunger?

Last week, Assignment Detroit (a long-term feature by CNNMoney.com) put out an article on the changing face of hunger in Detroit. They say, "As middle class workers lose their jobs, the same folks that used to donate to soup kitchens and pantries have become their fastest growing set of recipients." They also point out that Gleaners Community Food Bank, host to Operation Frontline, has experienced an 18% increase in distribution, while the Department of Human Services has seen a 14% increase in applications to such federal asisstance programs as food stamps and WIC.

Like many articles before this one, Assignment Detroit points to urban argiculture as an alternative: "It's not so much that these gardens are going to feed the city, although they certainly help. It's more that they can be used to teach people, especially children, the value of eating right."

What do you think?

We're wondering what you think about hunger in Detroit. Now that more and more people are in the same boat, will we continue to implement more sustainable options like urban agriculture in Detroit? What are those options?

When a nation like ours has an obesity problem, what is the value of knowing where your food comes from, to be able to cultivate accessible fruits and vegetables?

And for those 25 and younger, you can express those thoughts in a film competition called Faces of Hunger in America, a project of Palms for Life Fund. The project is meant to "visually depict in their communities the growing epidemic of hunger in the United States. This national competition for documentary short films... intends to bring the issue of hunger onto the forefront of the nation’s radar screen while at the same time empowering our youth, the future generation of leaders and activists, to facilitate positive change and challenge antiquated principles."