Press in Salon
Fark’ers got involved too
And in 2007 student/journalist Alex Rosenblatt interviewed me..
1. What is your name and title?
Owen Plotkin, founder, Hungrr, LLC.
2. What do you believe are the root causes of hunger and food insecurity in America?
Illiteracy. Poor public education. Loss of manufacturing jobs in the US. Low minimum wages in most states. Food stamp rules and application requirements that are too complicated for many uneducated, elderly and handicapped individuals. The general public’s lack of awareness of the facts surrounding hunger in America. An unwillingness on the part of politicians and corporations to acknowledge the facts surrounding hunger in America. And sadly, unrealistic yet rampant materialism, corporate greed and a growing meanness in our culture.
3. Does the term food insecurity differ from hunger and if so, how?
“Food insecurity” includes hunger and the specter of impending hunger, but the term is also used by the current administration to remove the politically dangerous word “hunger” from the discussion of poverty in America.
4. What part of the population would you say is most vulnerable to food insecurity or poverty?
Low income workers and their children, single parent households, minorities, the elderly, handicapped and disabled people.
5. Hunger in America does not manifest it self in the same way as it does in other nations (distended bellies and starvation). Is it as a serious of a problem?
It is not about starvation. Sadly, the problem is often hidden malnutrition, and that especially effects children, their normal development and ability to learn. There is the problem of obesity caused by people filling up on cheap junk and fast foods rather than eating more expensive healthy foods including fruits and vegetables. It is very serious because of the growing disparity between the rich and the poor and the disappearing middle class in this, the richest nation on Earth.
6. Do you believe that U.S. food assistance programs such as food stamps and the school breakfast program are effective at abating hunger?
Every little bit helps. Weekend and summer programs – where available – help too.
7. Are food banks effective at abating hunger?
Yes, but there is a growing need for assistance.
8. Some people say that food banks create a situation of dependency do you think that this is possible?
I think it is much more likely that a lack manufacturing jobs, career opportunities, training and adequate public education in poorer urban and rural areas, create real need.
9. Do you believe there are programs the government should implement in order to encourage food self sufficiency?
I think there are many ways government can help overcome hunger in America. And I don’t think it is necessary to create more programs or bureaucracies or “throw money at the problem” to do so.
10. Do you believe that empowering low income urban residents with the ability to grow their own food would be an effective way of solving food insecurity?
Yes, but another public garden was destroyed just a month ago in NYC. Skyrocketing rents and housing values in many cities are making urban gardens more and more difficult to sustain.
11. How important is increasing the awareness of the public? In my opinion, awareness is more important than anything else.
12. Is there anything else that you believe is important concerning the situation of hunger?
I think there is a socially destructive dearth of civic responsibility on the part of businesses in America and the world. I think that business must take responsibility for the society that allows it – by providing an open marketplace – to thrive.