Carol Forsloff – “With the economy still in a slump, many families are grappling with difficult choices: ‘Do I pay the bills or buy food to feed my children?’”, said Gail Harrison, the co-author of a recent study. She is a faculty associate at the Center for Health Policy Research and a professor at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. “In a state that is the nation’s breadbasket, it’s sad to see that so many people don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”
This means 3.8 million California adults, that include both working and non-working people, can’t afford to put enough food on the table to feed their families, according to a new policy brief by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Poor Californians have had to reduce their food intake and experience hunger. Food insecurity became more and more serious during the period 2007–09. At the same time, California’s unemployment rate more than doubled from previous years.
Researchers tell us many Californians may still have significant food insecurity.
In June, the Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill and made $4.5 billion in cuts to food stamp benefits. This comes at a time when local governments are having more and more difficulty meeting trouble and managing budgets.
“Congress can help families avoid food insecurity by maintaining an adequate and resilient safety net,” said Matthew Sharp of the California Food Policy Advocates, which funded the study.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, passed during the first year of the Obama administration, increased benefits to the poor with subsidies, but these are due to expire in 2013.
“Without the ARRC, many Californians would be in much deeper poverty,” Harrison said. “And with millions of Californians still struggling economically, 2013 is too soon to consider ending this important life-support for our poorest residents.”
All of this also comes at a time when weather changes have impacted food crops nationally, with weather experts reminding us that the worst may be yet to come.
In Oregon, more and more people are planting their own food, but the problems related to weather sometimes impact planting schedules and the harvest as well. So even the at-home farmers struggle to help make ends meet at a time when conditions continue to worsen with weather, presenting future problems with food. Billions presently suffer from malnutrition across the world, with climate change likely to make things worse.