The USDA found that in 2020, over 38 million people in the U.S. were living in food insecure households.
The fight against food insecurity has been an ongoing part of the food justice movement since the 1960s. However, food insecurity is on the rise as higher temperatures, rising sea levels, droughts, depleted soil, and unprecedented precipitation due to climate change threaten global food systems.
If you want to help combat food insecurity, here are some ways you can get involved.
Community food gardens are a great way to increase access to food. Volunteering at your local community garden is vital because community gardens are dependent on volunteers. Without volunteers, sufficient food production isn’t possible.
If you don’t have a community food garden near you, consider starting one. Starting a community garden requires time and resources, lean on your neighbors for help. For more detailed step-by-step instructions on how to start a community garden, visit seedmoney.org. Alternatively, local food pantries and food banks are always in need of helping hands.
Fundraising is extremely impactful for local food banks that need extra resources. Joining local fundraising campaigns is especially effective because you can lean on the people in your community! When you know the people you are approaching about donations, they are much more likely to contribute to the cause you are supporting.
If you are extra ambitious, you can start your own fundraiser through Feeding America. For some tips and tricks on how to successfully fundraise for food banks or food relief initiatives, Donorbox wrote a great article with tips and tricks called Top 12 Fundraising Tips for Food Banks and Hunger-Relief Nonprofits.
When it comes to combatting food insecurity, donating money is a quick way to make an impact. You can donate to your local food bank or find a mutual aid fund to support. To find a mutual aid fund near you visit Mutual Aid Hub.
Donating food requires a few precautions to keep in mind. If you donate perishable food or fail to follow the compliance guidelines of the food bank, you may accidentally contribute to food waste. For a list of places to donate canned goods and non-perishable goods, research your local food banks or donate to networks such as Feeding America.
When a large number of constituents contact a representative about a certain policy or act, they are more likely to take action. Elected officials know that if their constituency is displeased with their service, their position is at risk. So, make calls and tell your friends to demand action along with you!
You can find your local representatives at https://www.commoncause.org/find-your-representative/. If you are nervous about calling your representatives, you can email them as well. Feeding America has a great template for emails to Congress. However, personalized emails make more of an impact. If you want more information on specific policies, Bread for the World has detailed descriptions of important food insecurity legislation that you can use as a resource to inform your correspondence.
Local food banks can run low on certain items or lack culturally diverse options. Food drives can help solve this. If you want to support your local food bank beyond making personal donations, start a food drive in your community. Starting a food drive is a great way to bring a community together to combat food insecurity.
Today, it is easier than ever to start your own food drive with the option of virtual food drives. For instructions on how to get started building a food drive in your community, Feeding America and Move for Hunger have great options for you to think about. Move for Hunger is especially helpful in reducing food waste due to its method of targeting surplus food belonging to those who are moving homes. You might consider starting a Move for Hunger drive if there are a lot of individuals moving within your community.