Photo: Dan Gold on Unsplash
There has been a lot more news recently about food droughts. A food drought is when there is a lack of food; essentially, food is very hard to come by for many people in a certain area. This may have to do with the environment whether the area is dependent on agriculture and crops for their food. This may have to do with location, and in many parts of the world, a food drought could have to do with an armed group preventing people from obtaining food.
In the United States, the news we have been hearing about food droughts is in regards to the unavailability of food. Some people, mostly in rural settings, live hours away from the nearest grocery store. These people for the most part live in agricultural areas where they are growing crops, but because of the contracts they have established with those they grow for, they cannot actually eat any of the crops they produce. These people’s jobs are to produce food that they are not legally allowed to eat. Not everyone finds themselves in this situation, but quite a few do.
Those who do find themselves in this type of food drought have very minimal access to food. As mentioned, they are hours away from the nearest grocery store and do not have restaurants or the ability to order meal prep services. As seen on an episode of The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network, when you live in a food drought like this, you are grocery shopping for at least a month because it is usually too difficult to make a couple hours drive to go to the store. A lot of the times we take advantage of how accessible our food supply can be and forget what it is like for those who do not have access to food regularly, even within the United States.
For those who live in a food drought or are going to be relocating to an area that is considered to be in one , here are a couple of tips to make sure you do not run out of fresh food in between grocery store trips.
1. Do not be shy about buying frozen produce: Frozen fruits and vegetables are always picked at peak ripeness so when you are buying frozen, you are actually buying the freshest produce at the most affordable price. As long as you do not mind the textural difference, this is a wonderful way to save money and to stock up on veggies and fruits!
2. Go shopping with a friend: Grocery shopping when you are in a food drought in the United States can be at least a day long venture. Remember when you go shopping, go with a friend or loved one so you have some company and do not fall asleep when driving and it can make the process a little bit more fun. If your friend also needs to go shopping, the two of you can possibly split the cost of gas to make the trip a little bit more affordable.
3. Non-perishables are your friend: This is a simple and an almost obvious tip, but sometimes we forget the durability of non-perishables. Non-perishables are going to have the most longevity out of everything you buy and can last you through times where you have to go longer than your normal set time to go grocery shopping.
These are just a few quick tips to make it a little easier for those who live in a food drought. One thing that the rest of the country can do is waste a little less food and only buy what we really need. Part of the issue of farmers not being able to eat their own produce is the high demand from the buyers. If we do not buy and waste so much food, then there will be less of a demand, allowing farmers to be able to cut down on some of their production, saving some space for the Earth to grow back, and allowing them to utilize their own crops for themselves. If we can all be just a little bit more mindful, then we can really benefit more people nationally and globally.
Elizabeth Coleman is a passionate writer from Massachusetts. She is twenty three years old and is currently working on her MS from Nova Southeastern University in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. She graduated last year from Keene State College with two BAs, one in Holocaust and Genocide Studies with a minor in history and the other in Criminal Justice Studies. Elizabeth loves to read, but her all time favorite book would have to be "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. In five years, Elizabeth hopes to be investigating extremism and hate groups in the United States. Elizabeth steps up for justice, equality, and making the world a bit better for everyone.