Distributive Justice with Food Distribution
Have you ever wondered how the food is distributed throughout our country? Have you ever asked yourself, if the distribution of food here in USA is done in a fair and equitable manner? Is there a process in place that assures that no family lacks fresh produce, quality meats and excellent dairy products? I am sorry to say NO. There is no such process in America, even though America is one of the richest countries in the world there continues to be food deserts in communities across our country.
This process would be called Distributive Justice. Distributive Justice has been applied to a society when all members are assured of a basic level of goods, an equal opportunity to acquire more goods and receive the same amount of work. The major components of distributive justice are quality, proportionality and fairness. As you and I know, America lacks these three components for distributive justice in our communities. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. However, there has been a slight turn of events with the COVID-19. Many hard working Americans and members in our community have had to depend on others to supply food for them. With the massive job loss and lack of money to purchase food, families experienced a process that looked almost like distributive injustice.
In these unprecedented times of severe food disparity and hunger, families have scrambled to identify ways of feeding their children. We have watched on television hundreds of families in line for free food because they were unable to purchase food, because of job loss due to the COVID-19 shut down.
At the same time we watched as diary farmers threw away hundreds of gallons of milk because of a lack of funds to transport milk and thousands of pounds of food being thrown out, because of lack of funds to get the products to the market place where they can be sold. Many farms had no helpers for harvesting the food. As a special bonus the food prices begin to climb in grocery stores, and families noticed the power of dollar had decreased. What a family normally could buy for $100 now could only purchase about $65 to $70 worth of food.
According to Feeding America, http://feedingamerica.org, over 70 billion pounds of food is wasted annually here in America. America still has over 50 million people who may be struggling with hunger. It's time to stop this madness! Did you know that 52 billion pounds of food from manufacturers, grocery stores and restaurants end up in landfills rather than the kitchen table? Did you know that 21% of landfill volume is food waste?
Has there been a better process across the country to distribute food in 2020?
According to a recent article in Feeding Texas.org, reports that since Covid-19 has swept across our country over 400 million pounds of food has been distributed to families from March to August of the 2020. That is a 60% increase over the same period in 2019.
According to an article in Feeding America.org, in the state of Kansas alone,
* 1 in 8 people are struggling with hunger - and of them 129,780 are children.
* 1 - 5 children struggles with hunger.
*People facing hunger in Kansas are estimated to report needing $181,639,000 more per year to meet their food needs in the state of Kansas alone:
Is there a solution to improve the food distribution process, allocation and destination??? Yes! I have listed 4 possible opportunities below:
Opportunity ONE - Farmers could distribute between 1-3% of their fresh produce to outlets in the Urban Core areas that suffer with food disparity. Farmers could have a wide network of volunteers locally who would be available to distribute and load the products on/off trucks. This would be a state effort.
All farmers who agree to distribute 1 - 3% of their products free to urban outlets and the farmers would receive a tax break and receive discounts on seeds and fertilizers.
A different process has already started by the Feeding American organization. Feeding America is focused on three areas, farms, manufacturers, and consumer-facing businesses. The Feeding America organization is partnering with leaders and local members of these industries to find ways to rescue food that would have gone to waste and feed more people in need.
Opportunity TWO All of the restaurants and food outlets like Panera Bread, Churches Chicken, Pizza Hut and other food chains develop in the community a network of receivers of their unused products.
To prevent waste the community food advocates could freeze food until it is received and distributed into urban communities food outlets in each county. There should be no cost to families. Volunteers would deliver the food designated to certain areas in the city and the food could be distributed to families as they have need and desire.
Opportunity THREE Dairy farmers could have the opportunity to give 1 - 3% of their dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter, baby formula yogurt, etc. allocated to be distributed in urban outlets. Diary farmers would receive a tax discount along with free products to feed the cows and discount on machinery. Volunteers and food advocates in the community form a network of volunteers, churches, and community members that continue the process of serving families who have no jobs, no transportation, suffer from mental illness, and etc. The volunteers would make sure that no molded cheese or spoiled milk, or other inappropriate food would be distributed.
Opportunity Four Manufactures of can goods could also give 1 - 3% of their products to the urban core communities. They too would receive tax cuts and a discount on supplies needed for canning their products.
What can we do to become part of the solution? Donate your time and resources to food banks and organizations the distribute food to families in need. Do more than just talk about it, sow your seed money and time into doing projects that matter, projects that help people in need. We can stop wasting food. Find a new way to decrease/stop food waste in your house.