A while ago, I lambasted social conservatives who were using the fast food chain Chick-fil-A as a soapbox to promote their anti-marriage equality ideals. Instead of simply pointing out that their small-minded hatred of same-sex marriage was causing them to be on the wrong side of history, I resorted to fat shaming them as well. A friend posted this article on Facebook and I realized for the first time that I was calling out one injustice (bigotry) by committing another (name-calling). As I’ve stated before, this blog is intended to do one small kindness each week in the hopes of making the world AND myself a little more bearable, so I feel the need to correct this wrongdoing.
So I’m giving $5 this week to help with action, rather than hurt with words.
The problem? More than a third of all adult Americans are obese, treating obesity-related issues accounts for $147 billion per year, and the highest prevalence of obesity is among the lowest income families in our country. (These numbers came from the CDC, btw, not, like, Twitter.) And we got here a few ways, but certainly a big part of the problem is our national food industry. We gobble up bloated, genetically engineered chickens by the fistful because slim celebrities on our televisions tell us to. Our government subsidizes so much corn production that – I can almost guarantee this – pretty much anything processed that you put in your mouth today has some corn by-product in it, including your beef (which wouldn’t be so gross if our bodies didn’t REQUIRE nutrition from multiple sources to stay healthy). And how is it (HOW?) that a tomato, something I can literally grow myself, costs more per pound than a burger, smothered in condiments, wrapped in a fiberless bun? Ugh… I could go on and on, but just read this article from US News and World Report instead.
And, yes, I believe people are ultimately responsible for making their own decisions. But the poor and the uneducated are the hardest hit, and they don’t know what they don’t know. If you’re working 3 jobs, how much free time do you have to oggle pretty salads on Pinterest? If the only “social media” you participate in is talking to your neighbors, do you think you’ve necessarily gotten the message that some farmer’s markets accept food stamps? So this week I am giving my $5 to Philabundance to support their “Fresh for All” program, getting fruits and vegetables in the hands of Philly’s lowest income families. Because knowledge is power, and we have to start taking some of the power away from the billionaire food magnates and into the hands of the overfed and undernourished public.