A Clear View


There’s no food justice

Calories are often thought of as the enemy, but what they are is units of energy that food provides our bodies. It’s best to get as much nutrition from calories as possible. Ideal foods in this regard are fruits and vegetables, which are low in calories but are chock full of vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function at their best.

The unfortunate thing is that $3 only buys us about 312 calories of fruits and vegetables. On average, a person needs 2,000 to 2,500 calories a day and half of them, according to USDA nutrition guidelines, should be fruits or vegetables.

Three dollars can also buy 3,707 calories, which is more than a person who isn’t training for the Olympics should eat. Where do these calories come from? Highly processed food and fast food. This food is often referred to as junk food for a reason — it is high in calories but the nourishment our bodies need is often absent.

The food justice movement believes that everyone should be able to access healthy food that nourishes the body and is produced sustainably.

In Maine, one in four children lives in a home that is food insecure. The definition of food insecurity is a household that lacks access to enough food to ensure adequate nutrition.

In 1965, Martin Luther King led a March on Poverty and declared that “No American parent should have to skip a meal so their children can eat.” Fifty years later it is still happening, with more children living in poverty than during the Great Depression.

When looking at food from this angle, one can see that obesity is really an economic issue. People often make poor nutrition choices because that is what they can afford. For more information on food justice, please watch Smita Narula’s keynote address at the University of Vermont Food Systems Summit on YouTube.

Kate Goldberg is a nutrition educator with SNAP-Ed for Healthy Oxford Hills, your local Healthy Maine Partnership and a project of Stephens Memorial Hospital. You can contact her at [email protected] or by calling 739-6222.