As we discussed in our blog earlier this month, the deep-seated obstacles that prevent people from eating nutrition-dense meals are too often overlooked. People are regularly shown images of what good nutrition looks like, but hardly anyone is showing them how to achieve it or considering the barriers they might be facing to do so. Meaningful solutions must go hand-in-hand with important nutritional messaging and advice. Telling someone to eat more fruits and vegetables can only accomplish so much if they lack access to a grocery store, means to purchase those food options, or any of the other complex factors facing too many Americans.
Over 1 million Arizonans are food-insecure. 26 percent of Arizona residents live in food deserts. 800,00 people in our state rely on SNAP/EBT (formerly known as food stamps). When we encourage others to “Go Further with Food,” those words are meaningless without the work needed to lift up those who are battling the complex barriers to eating healthy and feeling their best.
Policy at the state and federal level can go a long way in combatting many of the barriers to nutrition. Currently, the drafting of the 2018 Farm Bill is in progress. This bill influences food programs that make it easier for low-income people to have access to healthier food options. More proactive policies should be introduced and supported so we can uplift the growing population of people suffering from hunger and poverty.
Don’t just go further with food; recognize its significance to varying groups of people and understand how that significance changes one’s perception of nutrition. An alliterated title and a catchy slogan are not enough to solve the nutrition issues in this country; we must address the barriers to nutrition if we want meaningful change.
"Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women's empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all."