food as medicine

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If one conquers obesity and disease, one conquers bad eating and living habits.  This is a “comprehensive tool for communities to assess opportunities for active living and healthy eating and to mobilize all sectors of society to conquer obesity and chronic disease.” (Kim:  1).  While I agree that obesity is an epidemic that I see daily, in order for people to eat and live more healthy, a combination of acts need to happen.  Propaganda (and I should clarify that I mean propaganda in the neutral, European sense as influencing ideas, objects, actions, etc. rather than anything that one disagrees with, or an “evil”) needs to be instituted that conditions people to read labels in detail, refuse to eat most packaged food, and to eat more local foods and less sugar.  In tandem, the correct funding needs to be made available that allow low-income families the affordability and availability to purchase (or better yet, grow their own) local and organic foods. Both are vitally necessary, but in the end, each person has to take the initiative and make the decision to eat and live healthy, all the while fighting intellectually to question the propaganda that bombards them daily and hourly.  The collective or the government cannot make this decision for anyone or prohibition and illegal activity result. But creating such a program may result, partially, in a “build it and they will come” phenomenon.

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This reflection may be filled with more questions than analysis, though it will certainly include that.  However, I see this as an incomplete assessment only. According to the abstract, it contains a toolkit for “assessing various aspects of community food security.”  Nowhere do I see steps to improve the food security and access food security in each community.  With the realities of malnutrition, poverty, unhealthy eating habits, and the woefully inadequate monthly allotment of Food Stamps to eat as healthily as possible that is regularly reported in the news media, I would have liked to see more plans of action, especially ones that involved homesteading.

Overview of Food Insecurity and Hunger.  While initiatives to connect farmers to urban consumers, there is no mention of farm-to-table or farm-to-school initiatives such as farm co-ops just outside of large urban centers and no mention of local farmer’s markets as they exist in several locations across the country (http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/) until much later in the document in a later section, but there is mention of lack of grocery stores in strategic locations.  While this latter point is important, it does not address the issue of healthy food products.  Food insecurity is defined here as access, financial means and prices.  There is discussion of unavailability of local food resources and inadequate food assistance resources, but, again, there is no discussion or plan to address the inadequate allotment of food stamps to enable families and individuals to eat as healthy as possible.

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