A message from Hiram Larew, founder of the Poetry X Hunger Initiative:
"As we commemorate World Food Day today, with hurry, hope and hurt, please take a minute to close your eyes.
Yes, in your silence acknowledge the wonder and miracle of being well-nourished. And then, however you can, imagine the very opposite.
Time permitting, also take a look at a powerful program about Food Heroes and Poetry held last Wednesday under the banner of the United Nations to commemorate World Food Day in North America.
Here's a link to the 90-minute program. Poets are on mic at about 1 hour and 15 minutes into the program.
World Food Day Food Heroes Dialogue - Zoom
And, here's the link to the News Release about the event -- Poets call for empathy and action towards a hunger-free world | FAO in North America | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Lastly, please carry the following haiku with you as you step into your day. It was written nearly 400 years ago by a master of the haiku form. Without ever using the word "hunger," he captures its shadow."
For this lovely bowl
Let us arrange some flowers
Since we have no rice
Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694)
A 60-minute radio program with food-focused author, Frances Moore Lapée who has said -- "Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food, but by a scarcity of democracy."
Listen on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/kpfa-a-rude-awakening/id988902088?i=1000537243022
Thanks again to Ms. Judith Krummeck of Classical Radio WBJC 91.5 FM in Baltimore, Maryland (USA) for hosting a 4-minute "Booknotes" showcase of poetry about hunger in recognition of upcoming World Food Day (October 16).
It was an honor to visit with her on air about this work.
Visit the link below:
Booknotes + Poetry X Hunger « WBJC
Take a look at the latest issue:
As written by Hiram Larew, PoetryXHunger Initiative founder:
"Take 5 minutes to watch ANY portion of this recording, and I guarantee:
You'll be convinced that Poetry DOES, CAN and MUST Speak Back to Hunger."
This 60-minute program consists of powerful offerings by poets from around the world and by two leading anti-hunger experts.
As hunger rates rise in the US and around the world, poets are bringing their talents to bear to fight back. As the recording demonstrates, poetry reaches hearts and minds like nothing else can.
Thanks to all who made the event possible -- Aaron R, Diane Wilbon Parks, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Sistah Joy Alford, the Capital Area Food Bank, Rebecca Roach, Henry Crawford, Minerva Delgado, Ger Duffy, Josephine LoRe, Roger Thurow, Maryland State Arts Council, Brian Donnell James, Jordan Culmer, Imani West and Patience Gumbo -- to name a few.
The United Nations' Food Systems Summit began on September 23, 2021. Here's an update about some of the many sessions that will be held. Oh, that some included poetry!!
Henry Crawford wrote the poem Going to Sleep Hungry. Henry wrote the poem as 2021 Capital Area Foodbank (CAFB) poet-in-residence (see below). Here is a link to the web implementation. As written by Henry:
"As you will see I wanted to explore what it means for a child to go to sleep hungry in a family experiencing food insecurity. I also wanted to allude to the social challenges that accompany food insecurity and present my work in a holistic, multimedia format. I voiced the poem from my own experience growing up in a working-poor family."
Going to Sleep Hungry is a single page website with the poem interpreted in text, audio and video. Henry added his notes, some quotes and a footer with links to relevant web pages.
Going to Sleep Hungry
Everyone has money on TV but here I am
sitting on a cold radiator eating handfuls of Cap'n Crunch
out of the box with my coat pulled over my head
worrying about homework cause I was hoping for some milk
but someone left it out so I ate from a jar of grape jelly
and you don’t see that on TV where they sit around
the kitchen picking things out of the fridge
and laughing together with spoonfuls of Mac and Cheese
pouring down from somewhere I wish I could taste
but I’m not on that show and I don’t know how
those kids on TV have the answers or how
their hands go up in class while I’m in the back row
dreaming out the window remembering that tonight
is Popeyes’ night and how much I love watching mom feel happy
but it doesn’t last that long and she comes back yelling
about those math questions and I remember
that I scribbled all over the answer sheet
and it’s late now as the kids on TV and even the TV dog
are eating mountains of Jell-O from golden bowls
and I’ve forgotten about the homework cause all I can think about
is wanting a mixed flavored Slurpee and hoping
there’ll be some milk left in the morning.
Here's a reminder from the Farmlink Project about the prevalence of hunger among American college students (original link - https://mailchi.mp/thefarmlinkproject/farmlink-friendships-7857820?e=72faf70a8e)
As many Farmlinkers return to college campuses this fall, we must remember that hunger and food insecurity surround us even at a place where a meal plan is considered run-of-the-mill. According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), in 2019, 39% of students at two-year institutions and 30% of students at four-year institutions reported some level of food insecurity.
These statistics were found to be more severe for certain minority students with Black, LGBTQ+, veteran, formerly convicted, former foster youth, and students listed as "independent from their parents or guardians for financial purposes," experiencing some of the highest levels of insecurity. Additionally, the experience of food insecurity is often coupled with other factors: 56% of food-insecure students have jobs on top of their studies and 75% receive financial aid. The AAC&U also found that at two-year institutions, 16% of students experienced both housing insecurity and homelessness, and 13% experienced both food insecurity and homelessness; these statistics were 11% and 9%, respectively, at four-year institutions.
The effects of hunger in higher education are vast, affecting school performance and mental health. A Journal of Health Psychology Study done in 2018 found not only that college students experience higher levels of food insecurity than the general population but that it negatively impacted their grades and career prospects. They found that 51% of students who were food secure got As in class, as opposed to 30% of the food insecure population. They also found food-insecure students were more likely to report depression.
A typical college meal plan costs around $4,500 for the 8-month school year, in addition to education, room, and board costs as well. This adds up to approximately $18.75 a day, and many colleges require students to have a meal plan if they plan to live on campus. When students’ financial resources are limited, this is a lot of money to pay.
Colleges can do a lot more to support their food-insecure students than they currently do. According to the College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA), 43% of food-insecure students are on some type of meal plan but still experience insecurity. This is possible because of differing meal plan sizes and school breaks when many students cannot afford to return home or take time off from work when the majority of the college dining halls are closed. Additionally, while college students are eligible for certain types of government assistance, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that most students were unaware of their options. GAO recommends solving this problem by making this SNAP eligibility more visible to interested students, as there are currently two million eligible college students who have not claimed their benefits. Of the 14 schools GAO contacted, only nine were familiar with student SNAP benefit eligibility, posing a considerable barrier for eligible students.
There are a number of organizations and communities currently working to better support students and their basic needs in America. One solution is increasing the ease of access to food banks and food pantries. Larger food banks can be far from campus, making transportation difficult for students. Oftentimes campuses boast food pantries for students; for example, CUFBA runs a network of over 700 campus food pantries. While food pantries and banks are one option, another is increased SNAP and WIC use. SNAP and WIC have proven to be successful interventions to reduce food insecurity. While it’s disheartening to know the large number of students who are unaware of their SNAP eligibility, one solution is increasing educational materials surrounding the SNAP/WIC application process. One example of how this could be implemented is by adding a section to class syllabi highlighting the SNAP application process and the hours of the nearby food bank. However, these solutions require college administrators and policymakers to be aware of the widespread nature of student food insecurity and be willing to make changes to combat the ongoing crisis.
As an organization composed primarily of college students, it is vital that as we return to our campuses for the fall semester, we are aware of the dire prevalence of food insecurity among college students.
Here's a posting about how poetry contributes to anti-hunger efforts. Thanks to Madeleine Lee of Food Tank: The Think Tank for Food (Food Tank: The Think Tank For Food) for writing and sharing the posting.
You can reach it via this link:
Poetry X Hunger
Sharing our news and interesting articles, events and links.