Posted by Genevieve
So it came and it went: the Experience. Did you feel it to your core? Or maybe just for a few days. At least it was on your mind and that’s a great start. So what was our not-so-hidden agenda in facilitating this experience? We want to tackle that big word, HUNGER, and the subsequent silent killer, obesity, that is lurking in our community (we like to call these together “heartbreaking hunger”). They both usually come hand in hand and have the same root cause, which is lack of access to good, healthy food.
Many acknowledged there were parts of the Experience that weren’t like the real thing. Everyone’s situation is different and we did our best to mimic and experience. Still, in the end, we got some insight into trying to eat well around here without convenient luxuries that more money will afford. Did it show that access to this good, healthy food is definitely a problem in our community?
Following is a cloud of words and bits that were part of the hearth of our discussion for the week:
"feared, took a closer look, sacrifices, cutting out, expensive, budget, straining, planning, stretching (dollar, mind, patience, creativity), I don’t’ like this feeling, non-variety, cravings, missing, not satisfying, in reality, crap!, on sale, necessity, plan our meals, grin and square it!, scarcity is taking a toll, luckily, limited, weren’t able to purchase, I hung in there, pay attention, fill up, thinking about food, would have, stressful, getting tired, factored into, I miss bread, I didn’t buy, I was craving something sweet, I soooo wanted to cheat, a more substantial lunch, a longing, craving, and thirst in my body, empty spot, threw down a blueberry muffin, pretty scarce, least expensive, generic, more freedom in my choices, always look forward to the next meal, eat out or splurge, more healthy choices, wish I had something other than, it’s so hard sticking to, had planned on, I had to eliminate, I’m saving them, leftover, in hopes that, I couldn’t imagine, wanting more to eat, concerned, I was so hungry, slap on the hand for me"
Clearly, many felt some discomfort. We got some tips, recipes, resources. We learned to plan and to be let down; planning meals and juggling life is easier said than done. While we were struggling to stay full, the “should” of the food plate was a whisper of a thought in comparison to our grumbling stomachs and overpowering thoughts to shove comforting, substantial meals down our hatches (well maybe not everyone’s experience… what a week, right? It was only a week, so quit your whining.) We thought about food a lot, even when we weren’t hungry. People are told they should do this and that, but it becomes straining after a while. There has to be a better way; we’re not robots and we need backup plans. It’s hard to have one with low budgets.
This is where communities step in. We’re all human and we’re all in this together. Our food system is more connected that one would think! Healthy foods should be cheaper and easier to access. Our emergency food nets could be better. It shouldn’t be so hard to throw together a healthy meal (and what does healthy mean anyway?!) We should support one another and our community’s farmers. It’s a huge tangled up ball and we need to start picking at it.
So we could easily go on with our lives as normal from here, but let’s make the most of this Experience shall we? Let us grow as a community and learn from our experiences. Let’s start a discussion and support the programs and initiatives that are trying to pick at all of these problems.
Here’s how you can help:
- Hold a food drive.
- Thanksgiving is coming up: Charter Oak Credit Union is holding a turkey drive. So is Liberty Bank.
- Call 211 to find your local food pantry and donate time, money, or food.
- Give your local farmers business.
- Teach your kids about eating healthy.
- Create an account on the Council’s website to get updates on New London County initiatives, the upcoming farm bill, or anything we might need support with.
- With every dollar you spend, you make a statement. Eat healthy so that businesses know that's what our community wants!
I can guarantee that someone in New London County is going to bed heartbreakingly hungry tonight. We have to change that. We are better than that. We can be better than that. Won't you help?