My response to the October issue of the United Church Observer feature article titled Breaking Bread in a Hungry World.
Food its origin and its look, has become the “in” thing, a fad in Canada and the Western world. We post pictures of food on social media as if it were a prize toy or part of a video game. Television offers us an exclusive food network with competing and entertaining chefs. Alanna Lipson, food stylist blames this new generation of “foodies” on our growing awareness of food quality and sustainability.
What message does this give to the four and a half million Canadians who live with food insecurity. Half of those households belong to the working poor, people often holding down two or more part time jobs in an effort to feed their family. (2012 Canadian Community Health Survey). Food banks, our Band-Aid solution are on the rise.
The infamous quote from Marie Antoinette, Queen of France in 1789 screams at us from the pages of our history books. When told by her advisors “the people have no bread,” she replied, “then let them eat cake.” This callous, cruel remark is often touted as the catalyst that started the French Revolution. Are we, the food secure, any different than Marie Antoinette as we rub our over filled stomachs and declare our need to diet?
Is it any wonder that militant extremists are able to recruit the hungry to terrorize us? Food is not just another commodity, another means of making a profit. We cannot continue to ignore the plight of the hungry.
Those of us who are not callous and not cruel must speak out and take action to push our government to set policies to ensure food security for all rather than higher profits for the few giant corporations that own most of the food chain. At the same time we can model a new focus on food as a basic human need and right for all people not an amusement to be enjoyed by few.