I am a lunch lady on a path of finding a way to educate Food Literacy. The opportunity of being a Lunch Lady is giving me the availability of children who may or may not have access to nutritious choices at breakfast and lunch. These children may not have dinner available at night when they are with their family. They have an over abundance of food available to them too. I don’t know. But, any conversation I get to have with a child about choosing food that tastes good, is good for them, or even has a connection to someone they love is why I am there.
I grew up during the 70’s and 80’s in a home that was at times food insecure. We didn’t know it, but, it was. Our parents did a great job in hiding it. And as a single mother with teenage boys having to sometimes hide our own food insecurity along with going to college to learn Nutrition at St. Catherine University in St. Paul has given birth to a passion to help others understand their own food insecurity. I have observed, reflected, conversed, and shared what I have learned about food. The most important thing I have learned… A parents love at the core is providing shelter, safety and a meal made or provided in love. When a parent is unable to do that they feel shame, fear, and inadequacy in parenting.
My goal is shed a light on what Food Literacy is, what Food insecurity is, and what we can do to improve our understanding of these topics. Food Literacy is really just understanding:
Where food is grown, Who grows our food, How our food gets to the consumer, How the consumer can use the food available. Essentially Farm, Transportation, Processing, Availability, and How we get it to the table finally. It is a multi-level process that I don’t even understand completely, but if we can understand parts of the system then we start to make the best decisions for ourselves, our families, and our environment.
Food Insecurity is really just as it is said, insecure food. Food Insecurity isn’t just those who are impoverished. It is in all social classes, can happen in every household. If a family doesn’t know how to use a food available in their region, and have limited or no access to food they do understand, or there is no transportation to the nearest grocery store, or just basic lack of income to provide access to food. These can all be a situation of food insecurity.
I look forward to sharing my experiences with Food Literacy and Food Security. I hope you will share with me your experiences and we can find a way to educate and share with others.