Why Hunger is a Feminist Issue


[Ed. Note: This is a guest post from Natalie Blanton.]

Literal food for thought:

Hunger kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria & tuberculosis combined. FAO

Nearly 1 in 6 people, across the world, suffer from lack of proper food.

1 in 8 Americans receive food stamps.

Hunger is a real threat to human security, sustainability, livelihood, and generations to come. It is something that many of us take for granted. We worry more about what is on our plate as opposed to the deep concern of where the next meal may come from.

It is because of this, that hunger is a feminist issue. It is the recognition that all humans, no matter where they come from, deserve to have access to food and life-sustaining nutrients in order to survive–a most basic need, a human right. Hunger has direct ties to the feminization of poverty–the women of the world are bearing the burden of lack of resources.

Feminization of poverty describes a phenomenon in which women represent disproportionate percentages of the world’s poor. UNIFEM describes it as “the burden of poverty borne by women.”

If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million. 

Next Tuesday, November 18th from 6-8 PM is the 14th Annual Hunger Banquet at the University of Utah [Student Union – Saltair Room]. This event is put on by the University Service Coalition in partnership with the Alumni Association, Real Food Rising and the International Rescue Committee’s New Roots project. This community event is bound to be a vital conversation in combatting local hunger. Entrance is $5 or 3 cans of non-perishable foods.

The speakers for the evening, addressing Utah-specific hunger issues–are two incredible women from our community:

Sara Crowder works as the Youth Program Coordinator for Real Food Rising, a youth farm project and program of Utahns Against Hunger.  She manages job-readiness programs for youth on the farm and hires and trains college students to mentor and lead teens through work on the farm during the spring, summer and fall.  Real Food Rising grows organic produce on a 1.5 urban farm in west Salt Lake and donates 75% of what they grow to food pantries.  This year they’ve grown 14,000 lbs. Utahns Against Hunger creates the political and public will to end hunger in Utah. Real Food Rising helps alleviate hunger in Utah while transforming the lives of young people through sustainable agriculture.

Grace Henley is the New Roots Program Manager for the International Rescue Committee in Salt Lake City. Her connection to agriculture began at a young age, growing up gardening, raising chickens, and learning about sustainability from her parents. During her college years at the University of Vermont Grace found herself hungry for cross-cultural experiences, and fascinated by food production and food systems. She stumbled upon the refugee agriculture program New Farms for New Americans, and quickly discovered her passion for the work. Grace joined the IRC in Salt Lake City’s New Roots program when it was just getting started in 2010 and has had the privilege of helping to build the program from the ground up. As the program manager she get’s to do a little of everything, including writing grants, developing curriculum, working directly with farmers, and especially supporting the farm training program as it grows.

All monetary donations/entrance fees go directly to the speaker’s organizations. Canned good donations go directly to the new Student Food Pantry on campus at the U of U through a partnership with the Utah Food Bank.

Join us, in solidarity, in the fight against hunger and the feminization of poverty.

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