As many of you are aware, food insecurity is a detrimental issue that affects many in the state of Michigan and around the country. This is especially true among youth, as kids may miss meals or pick less nourishing options such as fast food in order to spend less money. While it is common to think of urban areas such as Detroit and Flint as locations struck by this problem, it can be easy to forget that this is a serious issue for families in western Michigan and the Upper Peninsula as well.
In an article published in 2015 by Feed America (linked below), it was recorded that over 330 thousand people are food insecure in West Michigan and the U.P. This amount represents a growing number of individuals without the money or access to better meal options, and because these people are spread out unlike in cities with higher population density, it is not an issue that is addressed by the state very often.
There have been several efforts over the past few years to minimize the damage of this problem. For instance, Food Bank distributes millions of meals at over a thousand locations. This, however, becomes challenging and expensive for the state, as they are impacting fewer people with each effort. I'd love to hear some interesting and innovative ideas for how to address this problem, given that these are rural areas. Please consider some of the following questions among others when forming your responses.
- How can food insecurity be solved in these rural areas?
- How should the state of Michigan allocate resources to these areas?
- How much is a solution going to cost, and where to draw that money from?
- Why do you think this problem hasn't been solved in the last decade?
I'm looking forward to reading your ideas and suggestions!