The good stuff happening in poverty and food justice….
♥ In September, West Virginia rolled out their non-income qualification free meal program in schools . Now , thanks to what’s called the Community Eligibility Option, more cities are offering free meals to kids. The program is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that authorized $4.5 billion in new program funding. So far, Boston , Atlanta, Detroit,Washington,D.C. , Grand Rapids, and Elmira . Jacksonville, Florida also has Universally Free Breakfast Program.
♥ I love seeing updates on my Facebook and Twitter feed from City Harvest. This NYC group rescues food that would otherwise be wasted and distributes it to people who need it.
“Produce can be hard to come by for New Yorkers in need. This morning we’re distributing 19,000 pounds of produce free of charge at our Mobile Market in Washington Heights/Inwood. We’re giving out nectarines, cabbages, peaches, onions and potatoes!”
♥ California is raising their minimum wage to $10 an hour. This isn’t as high as San Francisco’s $10.55/hour or Long Beach’s new proposed $13/hour but booya,California.
♥ Back in the 1970s, a town in Canada did an experiment which involved giving poor people money. The data is just now being put out there…
For four years Dauphin was a place where anyone living below the poverty line could receive monthly cheques to boost their income, no questions asked. Single mothers could afford to put their kids through school and low-income families weren’t scrambling to pay the rent each month.
Initially, the Mincome program was conceived as a labour market experiment. The government wanted to know what would happen if everybody in town received a guaranteed income, and specifically, they wanted to know whether people would still work.
It turns out they did.
Only two segments of Dauphin’s labour force worked less as a result of Mincome—new mothers and teenagers. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies. And teenagers worked less because they weren’t under as much pressure to support their families.
The end result was that they spent more time at school and more teenagers graduated. Those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did.
If a guaranteed income program can target more people and is more efficient than other social assistance programs, then why doesn’t Canada have such a program in place already? Perhaps the biggest barrier is the prevalence of negative stereotypes about poor people.
“There’s very strong feelings out there that we shouldn’t give people money for nothing,”
So here’s some evidence that unconditional benefits make people happier and healthier and do not lead to laziness.
In the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 per cent. An 8.5 per cent decrease in hospital visits across Canada would save the government $4 billion annually, by her calculations. And $4 billion is the amount that the federal government is curren tly trying to save by slashing social programming and arts funding.
India’s upper house is taking up a massive food security bill that aims to provide heavily subsidised food to two-thirds of the population.
It was approved by the lower house last week.
The bill intends to cover more than 800 million Indians and seeks to address the needs of some of the poorest families.
Each person qualifying for the aid will be entitled to five kilograms of rice, wheat and coarse cereals at a nominal price every month.
The programme has been estimated to bring food subsidy costs up to $19.6bn this financial year, almost $5bn dollars more than current spending.
♥ I’m a month late on celebrating this news but L.A. will now longer be fined for gardening the strip of land between their house and the street. Hey, thanks, Ron Finley!
♥ A documentary about an educational project called Barefoot University, that offers illiterate women living in poverty an opportunity to train to become solar engineers.
Know of any positive things happening in the area of food and poverty justice? Use the form below to send me a private email or scroll down to leave a public comment.