The Way Cheap Food Feeds Big Hunger and Inequality

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Andy Fisher, author of Big Hunger: The Unholy Alliance between Corporate America and Anti-Hunger Groups, wrote a piece on his reflections on the film, Wasted! The Story of Food Waste (narrated by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain) and the (false) connection between food waste and alleviating hunger.

The article, The Way Cheap Food Feeds Big Hunger and Inequality, is a critique of the industrialized food system and the North American food bank model. In Toronto and the surrounding area, we are fortunate to have a number of food centres providing emergency food relief while also combating the deep sources of food insecurity (including, but not limited to: income insecurity, food illiteracy, and structural barriers to safe, dignified employment for all), as well as, players working hard to create more accessible and healthy food bank assets. However, there is still much work to do at a systems level.

What if we taxed food waste rather than gave companies a tax break? What if, at minimum, we limited the tax deduction to only healthy foods, such as produce?

Key takeaways:

  • The film Wasted! skips over source reduction and fails to address… why we waste so much food in the first place
  • Food is cheap because the cost of production is externalized while labourers along the supply chain suffer the consequences
  • Tax incentives for retailers donating to food pantries enables food waste
  • At the same time, dumping unhealthy food products onto low income folks reinforces structural inequities in society

His final power statement?

Let’s be clear. Food waste distribution is not the solution to hunger except on a very temporary basis. Hunger is a symptom of poverty. Eliminating poverty will not be achieved by giving people day-old baguettes or even carrots and kale, but by working in solidarity to help them build their skills, education, wages, and political power. A bag of groceries is a measly substitute for political power.

Read the full article here!