In this day and age, decent food and shelter is considered a basic human right, not to mention common sense. Where there is sufficient hunger, there is no rule of law. Homelessness and Hunger are no longer a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. It is now an American issue. For years Americans have helped the hungry around the world. Unfortunately for the children of America, there is no conglomeration of movie stars raising awareness. There is no conglomeration of rock stars raising money. The government has been mediocre at best in meeting these needs. The following outlines the problems and provides a very simple solution that can lower crime rates, provide employment, reduce hunger, and improve the quality of your own families health as well.
- Problem #1: The BP of genetically modified plant seed, Monsanto, is striving to take over the food market.
- Problem #2: There are 19 million empty houses in the US with more on the way. (3.8 million predicted for this year and looks to continue that pace until July 2011.)
- Problem #3: More than 49.1 million people do not have enough food in the USA. (About 1 in 7 people!)
According to Natural News:
At a biotech industry conference in January 1999, a representative from Arthur Anderson, LLP explained how they had helped Monsanto design their strategic plan. First, his team asked Monsanto executives what their ideal future looked like in 15 to 20 years. The executives described a world with 100 percent of all commercial seeds genetically modified and patented. Anderson consultants then worked backwards from that goal, and developed the strategy and tactics to achieve it. They presented Monsanto with the steps and procedures needed to obtain a place of industry dominance in a world in which natural seeds were virtually extinct.
Why do I compare Monsanto to BP?
Here's Jeffrey M. Smith writing at InfoWars:
Azevedo got a small taste of Monsanto's character. A verdict in a lawsuit a few years later made it more explicit. On February 22, 2002, Monsanto was found guilty for poisoning the town of Anniston, Alabama with their PCB factory and covering it up for decades. They were convicted of negligence, wantonness, suppression of the truth, nuisance, trespass, and outrage. According to Alabama law, to be guilty of outrage typically requires conduct "so outrageous in character and extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency so as to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in civilized society."
Doctors orders: no genetically modified food
A greater tragedy may be the harm from the dangerous GM (genetically modified) foods produced by Monsanto. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has called on all physicians to prescribe diets without GM foods to all patients. They called for a moratorium on GMOs, long-term independent studies, and labeling. They stated, "Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food," including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. "There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation..."
Former AAEM President Dr. Jennifer Armstrong says, "Physicians are probably seeing the effects in their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions." Renowned biologist Pushpa M. Bhargava believes that GMOs are a major contributor to the deteriorating health in America.
Pregnant women and babies at great risk
GM foods are particularly dangerous for pregnant moms and children. After GM soy was fed to female rats, most of their babies died -- compared to 10 percent deaths among controls fed natural soy. GM-fed babies were smaller, and possibly infertile.
Testicles of rats fed GM soy changed from the normal pink to dark blue. Mice fed GM soy had altered young sperm. Embryos of GM soy-fed parent mice had changed DNA.Mice fed GM corn had fewer, and smaller, babies.
Are they succeeding? Here's Natural News again:
Replacing nature: "Nothing shall be eaten that we don't own"
As Monsanto has moved forward with its master plan to replace nature, they have led the charge in buying up seed businesses and are now the world's largest. At least 200 independent seed companies have disappeared over 13 years, non-GMO seed availability is dwindling, and Monsanto is jacking up their seed prices dramatically. Corn is up more than 30 percent and soy nearly 25 percent, over 2008 prices.
Is it a coincidence? The USA, one of the foremost leaders in medical technology, was ranked in infant mortality (death rate at birth) by the United Nations right behind New Caledonia at 33rd place inching out Croatia by .1 point. The CIA ranked us 46th (right below Guam and Cuba!) by the CIA 2009 report. The USA is one of the few countries that does not require GM labeling. Most other countries do not allow GM food without proper labeling, if they allow it at all. Europe is fighting to keep these foods banned. You can find all the charts at Wikipedia:
I hope that at this point all you grizzly bear mamas are seriously thinking about doing something about it.
Problem #2 Evidence:
There are 19 million empty homes in the United States with more on the way. 2.8 million foreclosures in 2009 and 3.8 million estimated for this year. According to a July Report by The National Coalition for the Homeless and The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty title, "Increasing Homelessness and Hunger Across the U.S.":
Many people are confronting homelessness and hunger in the current economic recession, some for the first time. The 2009 Hunger and Homelessness Survey conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found:
- 82% (22 of 27) of cities surveyed, in 2009, reported having to make adjustments to accommodate an increase in the demand for shelter over the past year.
- 25% of requests for emergency food assistance went unmet in 2009.
- 26% was the average increase in demand for assistance reported by cities in 2009, which represents the largest average increase since 1991.
Problem #3 Evidence:
More cities have chosen to target homeless individuals by restricting groups or individuals who share food with homeless people in private and public spaces, since 2007. Examples of these measures from TakePart.com include:
- Gainesville, Florida began enforcing a rule limiting the number of meals that soup kitchens may serve to 130 people in one day.
- Phoenix, Arizona used zoning laws to stop a local church from serving breakfast to community members, including many homeless people, outside a local church.
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina adopted an ordinance that restricts food sharing with homeless people in public parks. Although permits are free, groups may only obtain a permit four times a year.
Homeless people not only struggle with lack of shelter and housing, but also with hunger. In November 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that more than 49.1 million Americans lived in households struggling against hunger in 2008, 13 million more than in 2007.
In 2009, cities reported a 26% increase in demand for assistance, on average, which represents the largest average increase since 1991. All but one of the surveyed cities reported an increase in requests for emergency food assistance compared to 74% of surveyed cities in 2007. The requests for emergency food assistance that went unmet increased from 23% to 25%.
According to the most recent statistics available, over half of the homeless population does not receive food stamps. Lack of transportation, lack of knowledge about the program, mental illness, lack of an address and lack of documentation are some of the common barriers that prevent homeless people from receiving food stamps.
The Federal Government will reduce the SNAP (Food Stamp) budget in 2014 to bail out states!
While I'm sure the 290,000 teachers, firefighters and police jobs whose jobs are being saved are happy. 40 million people are on food stamps.
Solution Evidence, according to Basil Hallberg:
Food production in community and backyard gardens has a rich history. The United States and Canada strove to provide food for North America as well as other allied countries in World Wars I and II. Planting gardens was considered a patriotic duty and efforts were made to "put the slacker (unused/vacant) land to work." Incredibly, World War II Victory Gardens alone produced up to 44% of the nation's vegetables.
The efforts to grow produce in "liberty and victory gardens" respectively during the World Wars produced remarkable amounts of food in tumultuous times. Food security and local agriculture advocates point to the success of those gardens to underscore the potential of urban/local agriculture to feed the nation.
Austen, a seventh-grader at Desert Wind Middle School, initiated a community garden that yielded more than 7,000 pounds of fresh vegetables and fruit last spring and summer for 85 needy families in his community, which was hit hard by home foreclosures and unemployment during the recent recession. Austen was volunteering at a local food bank when he read a gardening book that mentioned community flower gardens. "I was inspired to take that concept and extend it to something that could physically help people in need," he explained. "I wanted people to know that they were cared about and could be helped by members of their own town."
Austen presented his idea for a community fruit and vegetable garden to his town's mayor and the director of the food bank, and then worked with the Maricopa Christian Alliance and a master gardener to get the project underway. Serving as an assistant master gardener, Austen planted crops, pulled weeds, and worked with other volunteers to harvest and transport the ripe produce to the food bank each week, where he weighed and sorted everything into containers. Then, every Monday, Austen spent several hours handing out the fresh produce to families in need. "To see the appreciation of all of the families as they received the produce was overwhelming," he said. "What a wonderful feeling it is to help other people."
The Homeless Garden Project in Santa Cruz, California, provides jobs and life training for homeless people within the therapeutic context of an organic garden. Meaningful and productive work within the garden or related enterprises is the basis for the healing process necessary for many homeless people to re-enter the culture of work. This process is also one of community building -- allowing for renewed relationships as community members reap the rewards of bountiful organic produce and a decreased population of homeless members. This effective practice offers steps on how to duplicate this project in other towns as shared in materials distributed with the video, Growing Hope: The Homeless Garden Project, produced by Ric Howard and distributed by The Video Project, San Francisco, CA.
In the financial crisis of the 1970s, large sections of New York City were abandoned by landlords and city officials. Residents revitalized their neighborhoods, reclaiming them from decay by turning vacant lots into community gardens. More than 800 gardens tipped neighborhoods away from crime, toward community action, better diets and cleaner environments. The gardens trained a generation of activists and spawned other environmental projects, in New York and overseas.
There are a growing number of residents who cannot afford to buy fresh produce to feed themselves or their families. A shrinking economy and rising unemployment are putting the squeeze on so many people of our community. We urgently need to find ways to access healthy and affordable produce.
I am imploring for any government official, business, church, school, or person capable, to get behind the unemployed and homeless and give them a chance. I am proposing the establishment of community gardens anywhere and everywhere possible. "We need to teach people how to grow their own food; provide garden plots to those who do not have access to land; create sources of fresh fruits and vegetables to families willing to work the soil."
Community gardens can be done with minimal start up cost and can be made to be self funding after the first year. They will provide good will from the constituents of all government officials that get behind the project. The provision of knowledge and resources are desperately needed. If government support is not available in your area. Do not give up! Try the church, try the local food pantry, try the school board...
Where there's a will there's a way! We live in the breadbasket of the world. The government is not getting the job done. Let's at least give these people a chance to help themselves. Let us help ourselves. If interested please check out this Community Garden Start-up Guide, by Rachel Surls, and the Homeless Garden Project of Santa Cruz.
The examples given are only 2 approaches. There are different start up guides from other communities with different ideas. Government grants and seeds are available to minimize start-up costs.
Let's show the world what "We The People" can do!
We will not leave our bretheren and children go hungry!
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