A former member
Post #: 6
Hunger in Maine
New Statistics Confirm Ongoing Hunger Crisis

In the wake of the recent economic crisis more people are hungry than ever before. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA) reported on September 7, 2011 that nearly 49 million Americans, including over 16 million children are food insecure.

A person is considered food insecure if they lack access to enough food to ensure adequate nutrition.

Many Mainers have been hard hit by the recession. The USDA estimates that 15.4 percent of Maine households, or approximately 200,000 individuals, are food insecure. The number of Mainers who are food insecure has increased significantly in recent years. Maine ranks 13th in the nation and 1st in New England in terms of food insecurity.

Hunger in Maine:

Population: 1,328,361
Food insecurity rate: 15.4 percent of households, or approximately 200,000 people
Maine ranks 13th in the nation and 1st in New England in terms of food insecurity
Child food insecurity rate: 24.6 percent, or 1 in every 4 children, are food insecure (68,950 children)
Maine ranks 21st in the nation, 1st in New England in terms of child food insecurity
Senior food insecurity rate: 5.46 percent of seniors are food insecure
Maine ranks 17th in the nation, 1st in New England in terms of senior food insecurity
Poverty rate: 12.6 percent
Child poverty rate: 17.5 percent
Unemployment rate: 7.7 percent (July 2011)
Food Stamps: Approximately 18 percent of Mainers are using food stamps (December 2010)
43 percent of Maine's food insecure population makes too much to qualify for food stamps and must rely on the charity food assistance network
One in three jobs in Maine does not pay enough to cover the basic needs of a family

"Central to permaculture are the three ethics: care for the earth, care for people and fair share. They form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies."

If we believe in the three ethics, then we are obliged to do as much as we are able to alleviate this shameful situation. Let us think together and act together to feed our hungry.
Lisa Fernandes
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 1,977
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Thank you Rael for this important data and the reminder it is to all of us. It calls to mind the work of a local church who has been sponsoring programming about local food and food security during which they discussed a period [of famine, i believe?] in China when neighbors would greet each other not with "hello" or "good day" but with "have you eaten today?"

What if we lived in a place where all people had enough healthy food? Forever?


A former member
Post #: 7
Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions
John Donne
1572-1631
From MEDITATION XVII

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Sue McCormick
user 3284483
South Portland, ME
Post #: 118
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I am reminded of the adage; "Teach a man to fish, and he has food for life" That is why teaching people to grow their own food is so important. This is something that Winter Cache Project endeavors to do. Imagine a network of gardens around the state in which people labor alongside experienced farmer, to grow their own food.
A former member
Post #: 8
Sue and Lisa,
We must do more than imagine. Lives are being destroyed. The research is clear that the effects of hunger, especially on children, is devastating. Barbara said that our "Cute Little Movement" can feed the world. Let's start in Maine.
Sue, your idea is excellent, and I'm certain that given the intelligence and compassion present among us we can find many innovative ways to end food insecurity in Maine. As the economy worsens, more people will find themselves with diminished personal resources and diminished government aid. The time to act is now.
Kerry Dunn
KerryDunn
Portland, ME
Post #: 7
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What about a meetup event where we get together to hear about what people are doing to address food insecurity and discuss new ideas for what we could be doing? I would be willing to help organize such an event if there is interest.
Jim M
user 8311780
Auburn, ME
Post #: 55
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What about a meetup event where we get together to hear about what people are doing to address food insecurity and discuss new ideas for what we could be doing? I would be willing to help organize such an event if there is interest.

Thank you Rael for a bit of shaking, bringing me more into consciousness, getting me to think about my role in community.
Kerry, I like your idea of a gathering, perhaps first as a brainstorming meetup. Then I am seeing folks from various organizations across the state gathering to bring our hearts and minds together on this issue. Thinking of friends in the Food for Schools program, Lots to Gardens, and interfaith groups for example.
How to empower?

Sue McCormick
user 3284483
South Portland, ME
Post #: 119
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I would really like the Winter Cache Project to be a part of this solution. Kerry and I could come to this meet-up as representatives of Winter Cache. I know that working with WC has helped me learn more about growing my own food. It is also such a good way to get people out of the city (and children) who don't get to get out much. It's the logistics of getting people interested, and getting them out to the farm if they have no transportation.
A former member
Post #: 9
Kerry and Jim,
My next post would have been to request that the leadership team organize an information and brainstorming gathering. Thank you for beating me to it. As permaculturists we are uniquely equipped to provide viable, creative, life affirming solutions to many of the challenges that our often inequitable society presents.
A former member
Post #: 10
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