Food insecurity is broadly defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. The USDA has defined 2 levels, low and very low, but food insecurity can show up in many ways from lack of variety in food to reduced food intake. People of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences can be impacted. Particularly during the pandemic, many people experienced job loss or significant income reduction, leading to food insecurity.
In a USDA-led review households experiencing very low food security reported the following
96 percent reported that the food they bought did not last and they couldn't afford more
94 percent could not afford to eat balanced meals
97 percent worried that their food would run out before they got money to buy more
36 percent reported that an adult did not eat for a whole day because there was not enough money for food
Food insecurity in the US had reached its lowest point since the 1990s until the Covid-19 pandemic caused a dramatic increase in both unemployment and poverty. Food insecurity has improved slightly since the height of the pandemic but is projected to take a long time to recover.
1 in 3 of college students
1 in 8 active-duty military families
1 in 10 households
42 million people
More than the entire population in the state of California
13 million children
More than the entire population in the state of Pennsylvania
5 million+ seniors
More than the entire population in the state of Kentucky
Growers and farmers can donate extra food. Find out more about how and where to do this here: https://ampleharvest.org/food-growers/
Contribute food to your local community “freedges” or food pantries where they exist, or consider starting one of your own.
According to the USDA, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply in the US, and according to the EPA, food is the largest category of material placed in municipal landfills, where it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Helping to divert food from landfills not only benefits people experiencing food insecurity but can also benefit the environment. Visit Sustainable America's food rescue locator to get involved with a food rescue location near you.
Join veteran led organization the Mission Continues in its Operation Nourish program, mobilizing its volunteer force in service of food insecurity