Food Security has various definitions, but an uncontroversial one describes a situation where individuals have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to maintain a healthy life. In an age where security against all manner of menace–from nuclear peril to disturbed gunmen to viral pandemics–clamors for attention, a simple notion like food security incites less passion or outrage. Yet food insecurity is a real problem everywhere: in 2011, almost 17 million Americans frequently skipped meals or did not eat for entire days because they could not afford to buy food. That’s more people than live in Sweden and Denmark combined.
For a human being, not being able to get enough to eat may be the most savage of privations–a constant, numbing, atrophying indignity. Consider that it is the skin-and-bones aspect of prisoners that strikes the mind first and most wrenchingly in photographs of mass imprisonment, whatever other tortures we imagine the prisoners subjected to. The bread of life is more than metaphor. This month, well-meaning people have recruited thousands of restaurants to help with the mounting crisis in the US–each restaurant will donate proceeds from its patrons to help assuage this debilitating national hunger. Get involved by dining out and doing good, is the campaign’s call-to-action. It is something, at least. Bon appetit.