I was reading an article in Bitch magazine a few days ago about food stamps and the current drive to greatly reduce or even eliminate food stamp usage. There’s something like 47 million Americans currently on food stamps AND more than 80 percent of these people have been employed in the last year. Sixty percent were employed WHILE they were receiving food stamps. That means that they are not making enough money from their jobs to buy food. The cost of basic food supplies is escalating so how are these people going to afford food tomorrow? Or next week? Especially if the Republican push is successful and assistance is eliminated?
About the same time I read this article, I came across Linda Watson’s book, wildly Affordable Organic: Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet all on $5 a Day or Less.
Watson says in chapter one that she heard about the “Food Stamp Challenge,” and she decided to take it up. She and her husband would eat on the average national food-stamp allowance of a dollar a meal.
Let’s stop here: A dollar a meal? That’s what Republicans are arguing about???? I just blew $4 on the chai I’m drinking at my local coffee shop. That’s not even a meal. Our government is attempting to end an assistance of a freaking $1 a meal?
Now that I’ve had my tirade, let’s get to Watson’s argument. She says that you can eat HEALTHILY for $1 to $2 a meal but it takes planning and cooking from scratch.
I’m all over that because that’s how I want to eat anyway. I get it. I’ve read many books on this topic, own a vast cookbook library of inspiration and advice, and I’ve done a year-long certification in Holistic Health.
But the average person on food stamps? I’d argue that they don’t know soaking beans from well, do many even know that you can cook beans from a dried state? Do they know the basic ingredients in bread?
Perhaps I’m not giving the average American the benefit of the doubt but increasingly the people I meet on the street have no idea that cherries grow on a tree. The industrial food system has insured us that we are divorced completely from our food sources. And this is a system that is backed and supported by the government.
If the government has taken the growing of food out of the hands of the people, can it then rebel when those same people cry for help to purchase the government-backed foods? I think not.
Perhaps the government should be arguing to put food production back into the hands of the people rather than keening to end the food stamp system. Let people have access to unused land in cities and give them seeds. Issue out hoes and shovels and enforce mandatory compost piles on every street corner.
If the Republicans want Americans to be independent and not lean on the government for subsistence, then the government needs to stop supporting corporations who continue the broken industrial food system and they need to return food production to the people.