More Iowans are going hungry according to a new report by the Drake University Agricultural Law Center. Susan Roberts, author of the "Hunger in Iowa" report, says her research involves data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Roberts says nationally, the numbers are improving. That’s not the case in Iowa.
"The data looks like it’s getting worse in Iowa," Roberts says, "we have more people who are food insecure than we used to." Her report shows nearly 11 percent of Iowa households have what’s classified as "low" food security. Three-point-five percent have "very low" food security. Roberts says the Iowa Department of Human Services is working to get Iowans who are eligible for food stamps enrolled in the program.
"But in addition to that, we can have other policies that are looking at this issue," Roberts says, "such as community gardens. How can we have farmers that are growing food that’s used by low-income families at farmer’s markets and programs such as that?" Roberts says another contributing problem is the fact that there are many places in Iowa where low income families don’t have easy access to a grocery store. The report also shows that many families that are going hungry also have problems with obesity.
"Intuitively, that doesn’t make sense," Roberts explains, "but the fact is the food that they’re buying tends to be less nutritious food because it’s the least expensive. Our policies in the United States have made the least expensive food the least nutritious food." The entire report can be viewed on-line at www.law.drake.edu .