Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mapping Hunger

I have some found time today, so have been plowing through all my "read later" bookmarks. The New York City Coalition Against Hunger site is pretty impressive. The interactive map is fun to play with. You can almost read it backward - you know the areas with more small food stores, for example, are the lower income ones - but it's good that someone has demonstrated this.

There are other features on the site, too - like downloadable neighborhood handbooks with information about eligibility for food stamps, where all the soup kitchens and food pantries (but not, I note, community gardens) are located, etc.

I don't think there is anything like this concerted effort in my city, but I think the Food Access group with whom I met on Tuesday does have it as a goal. (More about that later.)

If you cruise around the NYCCAH site you will also find news of research on hunger. Why are there more hungry US residents than Canadians at the same income level? One paper summarized here suggests that its partly due to the cost of medical care in the US. Makes sense - even when some basic care is offered to low income families it is for the children only, and doesn't cover those trips to ER. And I wonder what the dynamics are for those of us who are too old to get jobs with benefits, but too young for medicare (and senior feeding programs)? I suspect that there are people my age who are eating a less than wholesome diet because of their medical bills. What's wrong with this picture?

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