From Dr. Mercola:
Did you know that 1 in 7 American households experience food insecurity, not knowing whether they’ll be able to eat on any given day? It’s a massive problem, but one that communities across the country are beginning to tackle in earnest.
“Food Frontiers,” co-produced by Leo Horrigan and Mike Milli, features several community-driven projects aimed at improving access to healthy foods in a number of innovative ways.
The film is part of Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future Foodscape’s online curriculum — an interactive site scheduled for release in August, which will teach high school students and teachers about the American food system and what can be done to improve it.
Improving Food Security and Food Quality Is a Community Effort
For example, in southern California a farm-to-school program has helped improve students’ access to healthy food by making fresh local produce a staple in school district cafeterias.
In Virginia, a pediatrician has combined her medical practice with a commercial kitchen, and prescribes cooking classes for her patients and their parents.
In New York City, a nonprofit organization helps organize farmers markets in neighborhoods lacking access to fresh foods, and in Philadelphia, a Fresh Food Financing Initiative raised $190 million to build new grocery stores and upgrade existing ones.
This initiative was so successful at reviving and improving conditions in struggling Pennsylvania neighborhoods, 17 other states eventually went on to duplicate the effort.
The Importance of Food Distribution and Access
Having access to healthy food is an important consideration when you’re trying to address rising obesity and diabetes rates, and according to Horrigan, the film can be a helpful teaching aid and a conversation starter.
“We hope this film will inspire people who may want to replicate the successful projects we examined,” he says.
Farmers markets and other fresh food outlets are particularly important in low income neighborhoods, as lower income communities tend to have a higher risk of disease due to the poor quality of processed food typically sold in small convenience stores and gas stations.
The film also discusses the importance of healthy foods in the school system, and shows how farmers are working with schools to provide fresh produce.
As noted by Rodney Taylor, a food service director who led school start-up projects in Santa Monica and Riverside, California, children need to be taught healthy eating habits, and it all begins with what they see in the cafeteria.
Are there fresh veggies and fruit available, or is it all packaged, processed food? It’s hard for kids to make the right choices when they don’t know there’s a difference between real food and processed food, and even more difficult if they’re rarely or never exposed to fresh foods.
Nebraska Village Creates Student-Run Grocery Store
The grocery store in Cody, Nebraska, is a perfect example of a social enterprise — a business whose primary purpose is the common good. Cody is a tiny rural town of about 150 people, and, prior