A Place at the Table
"Top Chef" top dog Tom Colicchio produced and is featured in the documentary "A Place at the Table," which illuminates the 50 million Americans who don't know where their next meal is coming from, in a country where "emergency food" has become chronic dependency.
Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush follow at-risk families in Colorado, Philly, and Mississippi, which has the country's highest obesity rate, to explore the shocking statistic that 1 in 4 American children live with food insecurity (for which the U.S. ranks as the worst offender among the IMF's advanced economic countries).
The gorgeous pan shots of America's lush farmland don't jibe with the food desserts where many poor Americans try to eke out a living and find sustainable nutrition. Due to food subsidies going to corn and soy agribusinesses (which have powerful lobbies) instead of family farms, the price of processed foods has decreased 40% since 1980, while the cost of fruits and vegetables has risen 40%.
Congress awarded $700 billion for the TARP bank bailout, Bush gave $1.3 trillion in tax cuts to the top 2% wealthy, and the government allots only about 95 cents for a child's meal. The Child Nutrition Act just added another 6 cents to that total, and they got those funds by cutting the food stamp program.
"A Place at the Table" is poignantly human and features activist actor Jeff Bridges plus a group of women who share their "Witness to Hunger" stories on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. The numbers conveyed in the accessible graphics are staggering: 1 in 3 children born in the US in the year 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes, because hunger and obesity go hand in hand. Hunger and food insecurity cost the US $167 billion annually. In 1980, there were 200 food banks. Now there are 40,000.
Even President Obama received food stamps as a kid, a Philly advocacy poster notes, and struggling single mom Barbie wonders, "What defines starving?" Unlike terrorism, AIDS and climate change, Americans know how to end hunger, and it starts with not being afraid to talk about it. Watch this film and text "Food" to 77177 to learn more.
"A Place at the Table"