A Place at the table (online writing)

Published December 2, 2014 by djlwsu

What did you learn from the film that you didn’t know already? How has it changed your perspective? How does this film connect with our reading about restaurant industry and our discussions about privilege and stereotypes? What can you do to change how food is produced, the privileges evident in both consumption and production of food, and the consequences of these inequalities?

Integrate readings

400-500 words

Last day to participate 12/10

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111 comments on “A Place at the table (online writing)

  • I have always had some sort of awareness of unfair distribution of food in America, yet, after watching A Place at the Table this issue holds so much more significance to myself. I learned the definition of the term “food deserts” which are places where there’s no fruits and vegetable available in a certain area. What is shocking about that is approximately 23.5 million people live in areas like these. Another surprising fact I learned after watching this video was that there actually is a strong connection between obesity and hunger. According to the video, they both stand as signals of not being able to afford food that should keep one on a healthy diet. To add on, the price of processed foods since the 1980’s has gone down by a staggering 40%, while the price of fruits and vegetables upsurge at about the same rate. Knowing all of this now, my perspective on hunger in America and these inequalities regarding it has increased the importance it holds to me. My eyes widen at the fact that so many families are struggling with minimum help from the government just to eat. Food isn’t a privilege, it’s a need and the lack of attention the government puts on quality of school lunches and qualifications for food stamps is extremely inadequate. Furthermore, this film goes hand in hand with the reading from Behind the Kitchen Door. One of the main things I learned after reading this was that it’s nearly impossible to earn a living and be able to support a family off a job paying minimum wage. This also connects to the in class activity and discussion we had when attempting to create a monthly budget as a single parent working at a fast food restaurant with two kids. It was literally impossible to afford all the basic necessities that a family needs. Additionally, this relates with class discussions regarding privilege and stereotypes because in many ways. Individuals belonging to the middle and upper class have privilege because they can afford to eat healthy foods, where as individuals in lower classes may only be able to afford processed foods, as stated in the video. In addition, many stereotype “the hungry” as extremely skinny and, as stated in the video, images of people from sub-Saharan Africa because of what the media has plastered into our mind. In order to change how food is produced, we as the people need to direct attention on this significant issue to the government.

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    • I found this film very enlightening. You never really know the struggles and stress that someone can go through to put a well balanced meal on the table for them and their family. There is so many links to poverty, food deserts, food insecurity, and starvation. Malnourishment, food stamps, even obesity are all intertwined with each other. Our government offers welfare and programs to help those who are in need, but are they really help those who are in need and struggling? Just because someone’s earnings may be a mere $2 over the limit to qualify for food stamps they can’t receive any. This film pointed out terrible flaws in our countries food stamp system and the way we provide food to areas. That brings up another point about food desserts. Before this film I never thought that a communities stores available doesn’t have any sort of fruits and vegetables in stock. Now that is just a concept that is so hard for me to grasp. That someone would have to travel 10 miles one way just to get to a super market that sells fruits and vegetables. And what if those people can’t afford a car, or the money and time to make that round trip just to have a few carrots and apples in the fridge. It is unfair that those who live in a poverty-stricken area have to suffer even more to receive healthy well-balanced food. The strangest connection this film brought to my attention was hunger being linked to obesity. Unfortunately the way our countries food production works is the more expensive foods are going to be an organic peach organic vegetables while the cheap foods like chips and cookies are going to be monumentally cheaper. And if your already shopping with a tight budget you are going to be more likely to try and make your money stretch with the quantity of food you buy not the quality of nutrition. If you can buy 5 bags of chips vs. one package of blueberries evidently you want to get more food for your dollar. This is how starvation and poverty lead to obesity. Leading to health problems which lead to poor performance in school which just turns into a giant snowball effect that can end up with a high school drop out struggling to make ends meet bussing tables with a pile of health bills. From the readings of Behind the Kitchen Door a majority of the workers are in poverty and struggling to feed their families on the unbelievable wages of about $2. Yet, the wages for restaurant workers has not moved up from that $2 minimum wage so these workers who are basically living off the small amount of tips they receive are also in poverty and face good insecurity. If our government were to raised restaurant workers wages and modify our food stamp system we could see a substation increase in our country’s health and food starvation.

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  • There were numerous eye-opening points made in this film, that made it very apparent how greatly hunger impacts the United States. It is often assumed that because we are such a developed country we would not suffer from this issue, which proves to be quite the opposite. In the film, numerous families were shown that struggle on a daily basis to acquire food, which was just a small representation of how extreme the problem actually is. One of the more profound things I learned was how extreme the criteria was to receive help from the government, for such a basic necessity of food. It has definitely changed my perspective to see how hard it would be for children to actually focus in school and get things accomplished if a majority of them are struggling to eat an adequate meal. The lack of assistance that families receive directly correlates to how the children will perform in school, which is not very well at this point. This film has numerous connections to our reading about restaurant industry and our discussions about privilege and stereotypes because of how many of the families presented in the film were individuals of color. This is ultimately rooted in the idea of white privilege that we learned about, and how white people are often afforded a better opportunity with jobs and housing. Much of the poverty that was presented in the film was representative of millions of others that suffer from the same problems, in which their poverty extends beyond food insecurity but into housing and education as well. The film also showed how especially youth from these inner city homes lacked the ability to acquire nutritious foods, because of their extremely high cost. Since any food at all is needed to feed children, families will always choose the cheaper option, despite how unhealthy it may be. This leads to sickness and the possibility of cognitive delay, which would all be preventable if healthier foods were made to be more affordable. One of the best solutions to solving this problem of feeding youth that are not normally able to receive a fully nutritious meal would be to stop subsidizing foods such as corn, rice and wheat, but rather fruits and vegetables that would provide nutrients to live a healthy lifestyle. With more foods like these being subsidized, children would be less likely to be sick, while small farmers would be supported more as well.

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    • I really like that you directed your comment towards how food insecurity impacts the youths education. These young people are the future leaders of this nation but we are not allowing our youth to reach its full potential. With that this is not so much white vs color but class based privilege. This food epidemic is a problem with every race and in order for it to be solved I agree we need to subsidized healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. It is a duty as a nation not just individuals to keep or people and especially our youth adequately fed.

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  • The video “A Place at The Table” exposed to me a lot of things that I didn’t know about hunger in the United States. To start with I didn’t know the sheer volume of people in the US that were deprived of sufficient food, I had known there was a hunger problem but I hadn’t expected it to be so wide spread. Being that we live in the US one would think that a matter such as hunger wouldn’t be as big as it is, we are regard as one of the most advanced countries in the world. I also had never thought that there was a direct correlation between obesity and hunger/poverty. After watching the video the connection between the two made perfect sense, foods with higher nutritional value tends to cost more while processed foods cost significantly less. Since 1980 the price of fruit & vegetables has risen by 40%, while the price of processed foods has decreased by 40%. If a family in poverty is constantly eating unhealthy foods health complications are bound to arise like obesity. Poor children being fed processed food or not even being fed three times a day are put at risk when it comes to their wellbeing. Mentioned in the video not being fed consistently (and nutritionally) leads to numerous health risks, from obesity, stunted growth, poor brain development, and other things, nutritional foods are crucial for the early development of a child. On that note, I also didn’t know that the price of a child’s school lunches for a week was almost the equivalent to the price of one large Starbucks coffee. That fact alone put into perspective for me how little we spend on school lunches in this country and how incredibly sad it is that we do not make a better attempt to provide better food for the nation’s schools. For some children living in hunger, school lunch may be the only meal they will eat in a day, and the budget for that kid’s meal is a dollar? That’s ridiculous, and frankly the fact that there are people hungry in US is ridiculous, when I know for a fact that every year in the US, Americans throw away billions of dollars’ worth of food. 165 billion dollars to be exact. This video has changed my perspective and opened my eyes to the reality of hunger in the US and our government’s management of food related programs. It seems to me that there is mismanagement when it comes to how our food is subsidized, what food is bought for our nation’s schools, how someone qualifies for welfare/food stamps, and underfunded food programs. Mismanagement is what I think of when it comes to hunger in the US, because there doesn’t need to be hunger in the US, but due to the mismanagement of perfectly adequate resources we unfortunately do have hunger in the US, and what a shame that is. If the problem of hunger was put on the agenda of things to eliminate for 2015, our government could very well accomplished it, all that is needed is proper management of food programs by elected officials who are passionate about ending hunger. Just really quickly, the talks about privilege and the restaurant industry do connect to this video. As we learned about the restaurant industry many people are severely under paid and we can see how under paid workers are more likely to have problems buying healthier food, and food in general. It all comes back to poverty and not being able to make enough money, leaving people to rely on government help in a system that is mismanaged in a multitude of ways. Leaving several Americans to struggle with hunger every day, but like I said it’s the mismanagement and lack of our governments programs that causes these situations.

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    • I completely agree with you about how surprising it is that food insecurity would be such a large problem in America, as we consider ourselves a very advanced nation. I also really like how you mentioned that while many people go without enough food others are wasting and throwing away food. It is a great example of how people are unaware of their privilege.

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  • What I learned from the film was about Mississippi was the leader in obesity in America, along with food deserts and how people have to actually spend more money to get there. Along with just increasing a single cent can mean so much to the people who actually pick our food. They get paid so less for the hard work that they actually do. For the amount of resources that America has that nobody should be going hungry or getting the proper nutrition that is need to survive. Instead of having about five supermarkets in one metropolitan area you can expand those food deserts. A lot of money that gets spent on food production goes to package goods, and not into the production of the fruits and vegetables that we actually need. The film put a lot more into perspective about how some people really do go hungry in America and are getting meals from gas stations and these ma and pa shops that people have in the outskirts of the city. The fact that most food desserts are in urban areas 75 percent, those are normally the most general population. There is so little that is given to help those who are really in need. And most people do not notice because they are themselves are too insecure about their problems and do not want to seem like a burden on people. Food production has to go from how fast something can be made, since that is a main focus of major food companies they invest in package goods and adding different chemicals to it. That’s why most of everything is artificially made and not made with real product. Take the chemicals that cannot be said unless you’re a scientist and put the natural back into it. Not feeding our people does not help our nation grow any larger, when a child is going hungry consequences they face is not having normal development and various health issues. And looking at Mississippi they have so much obesity is due to lack of healthy foods actually around for them and funds to buy them. The U.S makes eating healthy so expensive because not a lot of money and time is not invested into it. Then that ask the companies special groups to sign bills to raise food price so they can pay workers. But we can’t do that because the people can barley afford the food at the price that it is at now. The film put me into perspective of that the U.S has to do a better job at helping their people when they are need and have to start caring.

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    • Jamare

      I agree with your statement that supermarkets should be spread out so food deserts would not even be a thing. I also agree that even though the problem with food insecurity and hunger is a big issue there is nothing really being done about it. Processed foods should cost more because of all the different steps it has to go through and fruits and vegetables should cost less because the people being paid to pick them are being paid so little they can barely afford to survive off of it. I enjoyed your blog post!

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  • The film introduced to me many new ideas and evidence about the problem with food in the USA. I was surprised by many of the statistics that were given and the life stories of the people that are going through very tough times. One of the main things that stood out to me was the effect that food shortages have on children. Whether it is a problem with obesity or fatigue in school, it is apparent that children are being severely negatively affected by the food that is available to them in food deserts or low-income families. When the little girl said that she sometimes pictured her teacher as a banana it made me understand how devastating the situation is. Something that I really liked about the movie was that a lot of the time was dedicated to ways that people around the world are trying to make progress.
    I was surprised at the amount of effort that was needed to convince some people that the amount of money used for school lunches should be increased. There was hard evidence that suggested that people were consistently having struggles in school because of the amount of healthy food that they have access to. Even after all of the lobbying and convincing, the government still only raised the budget a couple of cents. The money that was given to school lunches was also taken out of the budget for the national food stamp program. That seems very counter intuitive to me because taking money out of one program just creates problems in the same area that they are trying to fix. Hunger is a problem that people should put at the top of their priorities in this country because the people that are being affected the ones that are going to be leading the country one day.
    I do not necessarily think there is much that I can do to change how food is produced in this country, food companies are only focused on making money and until the problem knocks on their door and proposes some type of threat to them. If people stop buying food that is bad for you then companies might start producing their food differently. But because of the fact that these foods that are high in sugar and fats are cheap, they will keep producing them and they will continue to be purchased in food deserts that do not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

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  • I learned from the film that if you really pay attention, the racial divides in the restaurant industry in America are pretty clear. I also had no idea how unfairly paid workers in the restaurant industry are, and apparently how easy it is for people who are in charge of restaurants to find their way around paying these people. It’s definitely changed my perspective because if workers are making most of their money off of tips, then I have a lot of control of how these people are getting their paychecks. The way this film ties into our readings and discussions about stereotypes is how restaurant workers can make different wages based on their race by the owner taking advantage of people working in different positions in the restaurant. If a majority of the hosts or hostesses are white, and a majority of the people in the kitchen are minorities, then the owner can pay them different amounts of money since they do different jobs and sell the minorities short and get away with it. I also didn’t know how poor the conditions are for some of the people producing the food. I knew a lot of the food in our society is very processed and fake, but it was news to me that people that handle that food at its origins and help process it along the way are often grossly underpaid and don’t have much of an option but to keep working in their current situation. A huge thing we can do to help change the ways our food is produced, processed, and served to us is by educating ourselves on which companies that we get our food from do things the right way, and giving our business to companies that we believe aren’t overworking and underpaying their employees. Something that goes hand in hand with educating ourselves about it is educating others about it so that they too can give their business to companies that are doing the right thing. Eventually if the most popular places are the ones that treat all their employees right and produce their food the best way, the places that are unfair to their employees and their customers will slowly go away. It’s not a process that can happen overnight, but giving success to the companies that deserve the most success will go a long way in making a better future for restaurant workers and everyone who eats food from these places too.

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    • Derek,
      I like what you are saying about educating ourselves of this problem but I feel like that will only go so far. Sure, if we educate ourselves we will be willing to tip a couple dollars more but I think it has to go up to the government. If the government doesn’t make or inform laws that require people in the food industry to make a livable income it won’t happen. At the end of the day restaurant owners are trying to make money and sometimes they do it in a way that isn’t ethical.

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  • Watching the film there were a lot of underlying issues that were brought up that many people here in the United States would not know about. One significant thing that I learned was the term food desert. Everyday you see the biggest truck with some sort of logo that represents a food company. Some of the trucks can’t make it to certain places in the United States because of the distance of their desired location. There are about 23.5 million people in the United States who are resided in the food desert areas. The problem that we have is the ability to find and eat healthy affordable food. Places where it’s considered food desert have the least amount of fruits and veggies for example. Learning this was a shock to me. I feel that it is a right for places in the United States to provide healthy foods to every part of the country. As a child I aways complained about not wanting to eat my veggies and my mother made sure that I ate every single bit of my veggies because she knew how important they were for me. Knowing that some people in the country are not getting the same respect to receive food is scary. Connecting this to the book I see the same struggle of being able to afford food that is good for you. The food that we consider junk is pretty much the most affordable items on the shelf in the super market than the most healthiest foods. You need to be able to afford the food to buy. This all comes back to the wages of how people get paid and the right assistance people need to receive is they are unable to acquire a job. The way food needs to be changed is by finding the different resources we have around us in our surroundings and invest in the time to help each other to find ways to live a better lifestyle to teach to the generations after us. Knowing that Mississippi is the state with the highest food insecurity and obesity connects to the funds of food that are able to be provided in and around out neighbors.

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  • One thing that I learned in the film is that the state with the highest rates of food insecurity and obesity was Mississippi. It wasn’t shocking that the state with the highest rates was in the south. Rural areas of Mississippi suffer from food deserts because of the lack of transportation on the back roads. Lack of fresh fruits and vegetables, including the impoverished lifestyle that many people in that area live by are all factors that lead to obesity. This really changed my perspective on the way I view our nation as a whole because we are supposed to be working on ourselves and bettering our nation, yet, people are starving and not getting the nutrients they need in order to be healthy. People are being diagnosed with diabetes at a young age because of the consumption, largely of processed foods. Other people in the United States are food insecure and are living off of government programs such as food stamps and welfare.
    I believe that this film relates to privileged and poor communities where nutritious food is available in large supermarkets and convenient stores. The poor suffer in many ways where it is already hard to find money in order to feed themselves and survive. The stereotypical down south way of cooking food is to fry food and eat less fresh vegetables. So, there is no fresh vegetables or fruit such as oranges, apples, carrots, and celery. The film said that the price of items such as fruits and vegetables have gone up 40%, and unhealthy food has gone down 40%. If you are living on a budget where you cannot afford to eat healthy because of the prices that fruits and vegetables cost. In some cases, the food that isn’t good for you, such as chips, soda, and majority of processed food is cheap and largely available, so people settle and buy it because that is the only thing they can afford. This is something that is a stereotype but more of a reality to these people living in this region of the country. They have no access and it makes it worse since they are poor.

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  • I was first handedly made aware of food insecurity in America growing up. Although I learned a lot about hunger in America, I never really grasped to what extent of a problem it was until I watched “A Place at the Table.” Before, I had never made the connection to the hungry and things like privilege and locked-in systems. The privileged get to ignore the issues. They get to use stereotypes as a way to blame and normalize food insecurity, poverty, and mistreatment. The hungry are typically stereotyped as poor, colored, lazy, addicted, unemployed, uneducated, unskilled freeloaders. But in the meritocracy of America the privileged don’t realize that the system creates a self-fulfilling prophecy only furthering the stereotypes and obscuring the truth. After I read Behind the Kitchen Doors I learned that the hardest working people are the ones at the bottom, and despite their efforts they do not have upward mobility. It has nothing to do with skill but the privilege of being a “white tall man.” If a person in food production is not a white man chances are they like the countless stories in Behind the Kitchen Doors where they are making an unlivable wage ($2.13 an hour, or a penny per pound) with no health benefits, unpaid overtime, stolen wages, unsafe work conditions, harassment, and a family to support. They find that they are stuck because cannot move up the ladder because they “don’t have the right look” and they cannot quit because they are living day to day, struggling feed themselves. Under these circumstances some people have no choice but to resort to help. Especially when in instances like Barbie’s a person will get more from the welfare than they do from their job, but the moment they get a job they are not eligible for welfare. So you can see the logic in being unemployed. Many restaurant industry stories involve someone with dreams balancing work and college, or becoming a manager, but the way the industry is set up that cannot happen. So now you have people who are unemployed, “uneducated,” “unskilled,” and stuck despite their efforts. But the stereotypes erase the “stuck despite their efforts” part. What can be done? As consumers businesses have no choice but to listen. If enough people demand a change then the businesses will have to comply or there would not be a business. Those with privilege need to take action. If the upper and middle class white folk demand better nutrition for our school systems then they shall receive. It is those who have more power that can do the most. To push awareness, and to talk about privilege. As humans it is in the effort we put into taking care of each other. We say we recognize food insecurity as a problem in our country, yet our Universities dining services throws out tons of uneaten food. Food that could be given to distribution center if people were willing to put in the time, and effort.

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  • As an international student, this film was formative and introduced to me some dark sides in some American communities. I would say it opened my mind to how food has caused crisis in one of the best nation in the world. Hearing the term “hunger” exciting in this country is not that much surprising, but what really bothered me is the rate of hunger and how it’s distributed unfairly among communities. Some rural areas lack healthy and fresh food, vegetables and fruits, although most of the farms surround those rural towns. It is sad that many children are growing up with lack of proper nutrition, inconsistently. Consequently, the film showed shocking and un-expecting causes of obesity in the US. It showed that some children are so dependent on some desert and junk food instead of some healthy and divert food, which contributes significantly to increase the rate of obesity in the country. On the same regard, the film also revealed that prices of fast food have decreased while the prices of fresh fruits and vegetable have increased, which lead poor people to focus more on unhealthy food. Another result of this mess is that most of those poor children don’t receive enough care and attention from their parents, who work around the clock to survive and still can’t afford enough food to her house. The single mother from Philadelphia and her two children are example that summarizes many Americans struggle. The film actually provided a lot of examples that proves the misery much family live in that left some impacts on me and changed my perspective. As I am an international student with the hope of reducing poverty, finding that a top country such the US has this high rate of “hunger” and “insecurity food” has deeply frustrated me and killed some hope. But to discuss this issue as an American, this food assistance program must be reviewed and fixed so that those starving people could get better chances to live. Youth are not in good physical and health conditions, and some parents with no chance to seek higher education for their children wealth. It is funny how some people who really need this assistance can’t be qualified for it because it required a very low wages. I think the government should start thinking of an efficient solution to this case.
    I think this issue is related to our readings about food industry and ‘Behind the kitchen door”. A lot of restaurant workers are from rural towns and travel daily to where they do their jobs, which cost them to be there. And then what, their managers would give them low wages and it would come down to not paying their full wage in some cases. The government, on the other hand, does not give them the necessary push to change their situations in a better way, like Barbie concluded. Stereotype and privilege is involved in this issue as people of color in small towns are considered to be the most people to use the assistance provided by the government. As a result, people would think they are fine and just need to be more productive to change their current situation.
    To get involved solving this issue, I would write my reflection on different websites to inform people who don’t know what’s going on. This is the available way I would do.

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  • Being an international student, I learnt that food insecurity in America was not much different than those in other countries. I am aware that this issue is a common problem that many countries currently facing, mainly due to weak economy and internal conflicts especially in third world countries, but I did not expect that food insecurity was as bad as explained by the film. This probably due to there were not much being covered in the media, and definitely changed my perspective in term of to not make any assumption simply because it was not covered by the mainstream media or covered in the news. Besides that, some of characteristics stereotype of “the hunger” such as poor, third world country and not educated as mentioned in the film did contributed to my assumption that this issue of hunger in America was not as bad as other third world country. To my surprise, food insecurity such as food desert affected about 2.4 million individuals in this country.

    In relation to our reading about restaurant industry and privilege as well as stereotype, food insecurity and restaurant industry both were having the same problem, in which still huge number of people had to struggle to put meal on their table. Despite it may not look bad from the outside, there were bigger picture that were not covered by the media. For instance, there was a police officer that had to rely on food bank since his salary was not enough as shown in the film, as well as those that work at the back of the restaurant that had to overwork and yet still barely able to pay for food. As explained in the film, media discourage food deserts and food insecurity especially in rural areas mainly because did not want to deal with the problem as well as it could cause one’s to blame one another. This could be change if there are enough demand and exposure from the public regarding these issues. Social media in particular, could put pressure on mainstream media to cover these issues, which in turn provide more coverage and educate other people. As the support from the public increases, this will affect the government’s policy to improve the problem with food insecurity, privilege and stereotype, which will result the change in how food is produced. Otherwise, these inequalities could contribute to increase in gap between the poor and rich, as well as could effect future development of this country since development of future generation (children) are largely affected as well.

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  • The film A Place At the Table showed many different perspectives of what hunger look like here in America. Before the film, I pictured a young woman of color, living in an urban area, with no job, kids living off of food stamps. This, however, is only one perspective of what hunger looks like. The film focused on a woman who fit this perspective but they also focused on a family living in rural america, specifically a young white girl named Rosie. Hearing Rosie’s story throughout the film changed my perspective of what hunger looks like. Rosie’s family lives in a food desert, which is a town that is miles away from a big city, therefore not a lot of produce is delivered to their town because it is so far out and costs a lot. Because of this, the town lacks a variety of nutritious food and if they do have it, it is often expensive. Many of the families there including Rosie’s are poverty stricken and have a hard time affording food, especially healthy food because it costs more then the less nutritious food.This is how 23.5 million Americans live, with no access to nutritious food or ability to attain it. Many of the families also receive food from the local church to help provide for their family which often consists of highly starchy food. This side of poverty is often not shared and has changed my view of what a hungry family looks like. This directly correlates to how the people in the restaurant industry because both stories show America is in need of a change to how our food industry works. The people who grow and serve our food are often the people who can’t afford to eat themselves and are the most hungry. One major thing we can do as a country to help these people is to provide them with a higher wage to work. This can be achieved by paying them just cents more or allowing them to move up more often, especially if they are a minority that is deserving of a promotion. Often times, in the restaurant industry, minorities never receive any sort of promotion or raise, even if they have been there the longest of their coworkers, a prime example of white privilege. The consequences of this is that these people often end up hungry and in poverty. Food should not be a privilege, but a right that is extended to all people, not just Americans, however, we can be the prime example if we can change our food industry.

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    • I agree that after hearing Rosie’s story, it changed my perception of what actual hungry families live like. Before watching the film A Place At The Table, I always pictured a hungry family would have food stamps due to their living situation but that’s not always the case, for example when Barbie received a full time job she was incapable of receiving food stamps because her wages exceeded the welfare limit. Barbie came to find out that life would actually become somewhat more difficult because she was making more money as a waitress with her food stamp money than she does with just her full time job pay. Barbie then struggles to feed her two kids that constantly are telling her they are hungry and she is unable to do anything about it. As for Rosie she was aware of her situation but at such a young age she continues to find the bright side in everything she does.

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  • During and after watching the film A Place at the Table I spent a lot of time reflecting on my own situation and relating this film to struggles of my own. 23.5 million People live in food deserts, over 5% of our nation’s households suffer from food insecurity, our schools spend less than a dollar on our student’s meals per day; these are statistics that I learned but the connections and understanding I made was the real knowledge. My family was unfortunately one of the 6% that suffered from food insecurity but I had no real understanding of the problem at hand. Where I’m from situations like the ones in this movie are normalized, often people struggling with these issues have always been in that environment and grow content with the life style. I personally was always taught to deal with your circumstances and make the best of them, but is making the best of nothing really the way to progress? Seeing people like Barbie and other individuals in the film bringing these flaws of a broken system to public attention shows me that we cannot just accept these issues but must work to resolve them. There are countless reasons why America is suffering from this food epidemic, things as simple as minimum wages for tipped workers not being sufficient enough to support and feed their families when there job is to feed others. A statistic that was unsettling to me was the price of produce since the 1980’s has jumped 40% and processed food has dropped by 40% yet we continue to search for ways to end obesity. The money cuts on food stamps, the rise in processed foods, obesity, food insecurity have back lashing effects on communities and people we are not fully aware of. The ones suffering, the people who are hungry and wondering how they are going to get by are not the ones making cuts or talking about the issues, they are swept under the rug left to “make the best” of the privileges and opportunities they have. We tend to put blame on individuals for the inability to provide for themselves, its one’s own responsibility to create their success which would be an excellent idea if we all started from the same position. I look at the situation like any kind of set competition, for example in track everyone lines up at the same point and the fastest person wins, normally the one who worked the hardest, is just superior or some other outside component . Life is just like a competition and the system is set that way but one key component to being successful in life is often overlooked, and that being privilege. In reality not everyone lines up at the same starting point, people are born into different financial situations, come from different places, raised with different morals and don’t have the ability to make the same efforts to prepare for “competition”. If we as citizens want to stand true to this idea of equality we must level the playing field but in order for that to happen people must be aware of the problem and that responsibility to inform falls to anyone who wants to fix this issue.

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  • The issue of hunger, especially the one within our own country is a subject I have not paid nearly enough attention too. Growing up I was always aware of assisted pay for school lunches and donating towards food banks when the holidays rolled around, yet I had no idea of the true weight of the issue. At countless points in the movie I found my self struggling to believe the outrageous conditions some Americans are expected to endure. The particular story of the ten-year-old girl from Colorado sunk in with me because my own little sister is only 11. The expectations that are required to receive subsidized government assistance astound me. In many situations it seems as if the fine line between receiving assistance and being denied it proves to be a difficult decision for many single parents to deal with. Another point of the film that stood out to me was the relationship of food insecurity and obesity, two traits many people would not match together. This is due to the inconvenient fact that beginning in 1980 the prices of Organic Foods have steadily increased while the prices of processed foods have inversely decreased. As one of the mothers said in the video “When food is scarce, you buy what is cheap… not what is healthier.” This of course leads to an unhealthy diet for all families involved. To combat this, different advocacy groups have fought to raise the food quality standard for public schools but most efforts have been continually shot down because these acts would negatively impact the agricultural industry. One of the most shocking claims made was the comparison between the average amount spent on a child’s school and the price of a large Starbucks coffee. At what point will our country pay greater attention to the ever growing problem of hunger amongst our people. It is a problem that is difficult to comprehend if not put face to face with. Honestly my understanding of the hunger issue was quite pathetic prior to watching the film. Growing up I had one close friend who my mom persistently provided dinner for when it was not available at his own house but outside of that I never was exposed to true hunger problems. Then again, I probably grew up far from the nearest food desert, in fact that term was non-existent to me until quite recently. My perspective has not just changed, but been truly transformed and I hope that I soon can make some sort of positive impact on this problem.

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  • The film “A Place At The Table” helped me to understand numerous issues our country faces as we have significant problems when it comes to feeding our citizens. Food should be a basic right to everyone who lives in America, but not even this is easily accessible for millions of people all over the country. I knew hunger was a very serious issue, but not nearly to the extremes the movie stated. An interesting thing I did learn a lot about was the theme of the movie, food insecurity. Basically what this theme exemplifies is the fact that many people don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and they have to rely on financial aid such as food stamps. The problem with many of these people in need of financial assistance for food is that they currently have jobs that make too much money to qualify for this assistance and actually are ending up worse off than the people that qualify for food stamps. Many people are only a few hundred dollars above the cut off point to qualify for these financial aid benefits, and as a consequence, aren’t able to feed themselves and/or their children nearly as effectively as they should be. Another interesting point that was brought up in the film and something I didn’t know was the absurdly low amount the government pays for a child’s school lunch. $2.68 per child. This low budget has forced the schools to purchase cheap, unhealthy food to serve to the children and it doesn’t bode well for the future. The consequences of these food choices the government has neglected to pay for so long will cause detrimental nutritional deficiencies to many children not to mention potential health issues. I found this extremely important to note because we are the future of this country, and to think this little amount of money is being used on our generation, yet billions of dollars on other things is worrisome. My perspective on America as a whole has changed entirely, not just because of how the government is spending it’s money, but because of how it’s treating its children; it’s future. In relation to “Behind The Kitchen Door” and the restaurant industry as a whole, the current financial situation for many restaurant workers is extremely bleak. The federal minimum wage for waiters and waitresses is a staggeringly low $2.13 an hour and hasn’t been changed for nearly 20 years. This is an unacceptable pay, and for these people to essentially live off tips is almost like making a living gambling, you just never know how much you’re going to make, any given day. What can we do to change this? Voices need to be heard, and the important people for some reason aren’t hearing them or even worse, neglecting them. To change how food is produced, more money needs to be invested in the food program for this country, and if that means more taxes, so be it. This country needs to change its attitude about food, before things get any worse.

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  • I was always aware that many in the U.S. were struggling with food insecurity. However, after watching the film A Place at the Table I learned more on how exactly people are suffering. This was an issue that I certainly didn’t pay enough attention to. The statistics were shocking and it was almost unbelievable. For example, to me someone who was “starving” I would consider being really skinny. Which is an example as to how people stereotype. But now I know the real issue. I have learned that just because you’re not “skinny” it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not starving. Many can’t afford foods that are healthy for you. When grocery shopping it’s a lot cheaper to buy a bag of chips rather than fruits and vegetables. The prices have gone up by 40% as to processed foods have gone down by 40%. The statistics are unbelievable and it’s a clear example as to why our nation is suffering over food insecurity. Another thing our country doesn’t realize is the amount of people who live in these food deserts and how badly they are being affected by it. Having to drive over 30 miles to go to a grocery store that carries fruits and vegetables can be hard for those who can’t afford that kind of money for gas. This affects many in a health perspective. This film really ties into our readings over restaurant industries because many restaurants in the South, their food mostly are all fried. You don’t see many restaurants where there will be fruits and veggies. Which ties up to the fact that most of these families and individuals that are suffering from these issues are from the South. One of the biggest issues that really stood out to me and made me change my perspective drastically was the welfare subject. I always misunderstood how it worked so I never put much thought into it. Many argue that a lot of the families and individuals applying for welfare are taking advantage of it or aren’t working hard enough. However, after watching this film and being able to see how badly Barbie was struggling really made me realize that it is really hard to keep a family going when the money you’re making isn’t enough. Having a full-time job means you don’t qualify for welfare but a lot of times a full-time job can’t afford you groceries for an entire family aside from also having to pay for rent and etc. I think the way that program works is almost unfair. It’s another reason as to why our nation suffers from obesity; because they don’t have enough money to afford anything else other than canned foods and junk food. There isn’t many ways on how to stop this issue. Other than lowering the prices of fruits and vegetables and being more understanding on the limit to qualify for welfare.

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  • This film truly opened my eyes to the true meaning of “hunger”. With me growing up in a pretty small town and living a very average life i never really saw the poverty in our country. I always imagined someone who is hungry to be completely starving, and thin, on the verge of death. With this film it showed me the problems that our country is facing, and showed me how many people struggle due to the policies we have set. How our policies are set up make it very hard for poor families to benefit from our food stamp program. With majority of the money going to large corporations that create the most inexpensive but profitable crops it not only doesn’t help the people of our nation but forces the poor to eat the unhealthy foods. Since these large corporations are being funded, it has made it so what is affordable for many of those who are living in poverty are all unhealthy food, and fruits and vegetables have become more expensive. Since this is the case, many of those who are “hungry” may actually be overweight due to the poor food choices that are being offered to them. This connects to the idea of stereotypes since the stereotype of those going hungry is far from what is actually relevant in our country. Many people imagine people who are skin and bones, and don’t eat day after day. But that is clearly not the case in our country, and that is why it is so “invisible” in so many ways. It is much like how many people don’t see the racism that goes on because it has become so built in to our society. Just like with racism, all that people see now is the stereotypes, which is discriminating against those who don’t live up to the stereotypes. With hunger, many people only see the stereotype making them blind to the problems at hand. To fight back against all of these problems at hand, we must go straight to the source: chafe our policies. Instead of having majority of our funding go to corporations, we need to have more of the funding going towards food stamps. Also make food stamps available for more people, even if someone has a full time job doesn’t mean that they can fully support their family, which is why food stamps should be more available. Another way to go about this is try to make prices of fruits and vegetables go down, instead of funding the production of grains, funding the production of fruit and vegetables could allow prices to go down. These may be hard to go about but these changes need to happen in order to help our country that is abundant with food to stop hunger.

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  • I learned many things from the film but one main take-away I had was the connection between obesity and hunger. Junk food is very inexpensive and very easy to get, much easier than healthy food. The good food that everyone should be eating is way overpriced for most people who are struggling and especially those who go meal to meal every single day. The price of processed foods has also gone down by a whopping 40% since the 1980’s. On the other hand, the price of vegetables and some others have risen by some 40%, most people would say these two results should be flipped if we want a healthy America but in reality that is not the path we are on. This has changed my perspective because these individuals are basically forced to buy unhealthy food because it is all they can afford and it gives them the most products for their money. I also had no idea that 23.5 percent of American’s live in food deserts, which is very surprising considering how developed our nation as become. I feel like most people who live in the suburbs and the city what not know the problems thousands face everyday just to get the food they want, let alone pay for it all. This connects to the reading we did because it taught me that the minimum wage people are suppose to be living off of is nearly impossible. The government for the most part has turned a cold shoulder to this whole scenario not making much to any changes. We talked in class about privilege and I believe the middle and upper class are really not aware of these problems because of how lucky and privileged they really are just having guaranteed meals, a fixed income, and a happy family. Also, when we discussed a single parent working in a fast food restaurant for minimum wage we discovered it is near impossible to provide everything your children need off that wage, let alone what you yourself need. There are a few different things I can do personally to change how food is produced, and the privileges evident in both consumption and production of food. Getting your voice out is step one because many others will follow and want a positive change once they get wind of what is really going on in America. I would also start posting to other websites and groups because every new voice they add is power to change what has been going on.

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  • When I saw this movie it really made me think how hard families have it. When my parents got a divorce my mom became a single parent. She worked hard out never asked help from the government. We always had everything we wanted. After seeing that the government is so harsh about giving food stamps to single parents thinking that they make “enough money” is just not right. The government is spending so much money on other stuff that aren’t necessary but they can’t just give single parents and families’ food stamps. I also never thought about how Americans ate, there are so many children who go without food for days. This film showed that there are stereotypes for “the hungry” which are skinny, not educated, poor, unemployed and disabled. This just compares how people can stereotypes hunger just like they can stereotype racism. This connected to the book, Behind the Kitchen doors because these families can’t earn a living and support their families off a job paying minimum wage. Barbie was getting food stamps which was helping to give food to her kids but as soon as she got full-time job a double wage she no longer received food stamps and her kids stop getting free breakfast at school. This just shows how minimum wage just doesn’t support a family of there. Just because they are making the right amount doesn’t mean they can afford food and plus they have to pay bills. When we did the activity in class, to make a monthly budget, it was hard to even out everything. We got paid minimum wage but that made no difference and it was hard to make decisions on how I spend my money. Now I know what families go through when they have to make decisions on how to spend money wisely. A way to change the policy on how families and children can go without hunger is changing the minimum wage in states so they can apply for food stamps. So if a family of three with a single parent is earning minimum wage they can still apply of it because it doesn’t mean they can afford to buy food. Also the price of food could go down, this will help by families being able to buy fruits and vegetables. I never thought how many children had never had fruits and vegetables it honestly is sad to see this. Shows how bad United States cares about its children’s.

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  • I learned a lot of new things about hunger from the film “A Place at the Table” that I did not already know. One of the first things I learned from the video was what food insecurity meant, which is when you do not know where your next mean is coming from. This made me change my perspective because I have never really thought about hunger being that big of an issue in the United States but learning about how some people don’t even know where their next meal is coming from makes me realize there are huge issues with food. Another thing I learned was what a food desert is, which is when it costs too much for the drivers to drive fruits and vegetables to smaller cities so they are not able to even sell healthy foods to the people that live there. This goes along with privilege because people in bigger more wealthy cities are getting unearned rewards. I also learned that the connection between obesity and hunger is that they are both signs of having inefficient funds. Inefficient funds will result in food stamps and since food stamps do not give you a lot of money the people using them are forced to buy the unhealthy and cheaper food, which cause the obesity. This film connects to learning about the food industry because we learned that restaurant workers use food stamps at 2% the rate of everyone else because their pay is so low, and the restaurant owners get away with paying their workers so low because they are in desperate need of the money so they will not quit. Also the families like Barbie’s where she does not make a lot of money but is still over the limit for food stamps struggle everyday because she does not know how she is going to feed her children. Wealthier people are able to buy more expensive food so it gives the people that do not make as much money the chance to be health, I think that food producers need to find a way to lower their prices on the healthier foods. They need to realize that the health of America is more important than putting money in their own wallet and they can definitely find a way to still make profit off of the food they are selling.

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    • Emma, I really liked how you incorporated privilege into the meaning of a food desert because that is very true that people who like in wealthier cities have all the necessities possible for a healthy lifestyle whereas some places do not have that opportunity. I also agree with the section you mention about how when people are in desperate need of money they are willing to do the worst jobs for long hours just to get paid the bare minimum. This is frustrating to me because even though they deserve a lot more, they will probably not receive anymore than that because that is how things are ran. Overall, I completely agree on your side of the issue because hunger should not have as high of a percentage as it is, and everyone deserve the opportunity to be able to afford food, and if lucky, healthy foods.

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  • The film “A Place at the Table” was a video that really inspired me and opens up my eyes to a lot of things I never thought about before. I knew world hunger was an issue, and I knew a lot of families struggle everyday with money and how they are going to provide for their families, but I never knew the actual numbers or saw the lives of people going through it. As I watched the video my perspective changed completely, the way I look at just buying a snack when I am hungry has even changed. There are so many families out there struggling to have breakfast, and I feel like I take that for granted because I can buy something here and there whenever I want. Food insecurity is a global problem, which I hope can be addressed and fixed sometime in our future. When I was watching the part with Barbie and her kids it broke my heart because she has children that can barely talk and they cannot be fed, and if they are fed, the meals are not nutritional in any way.

    This film connects to our discussions about privilege and stereotypes because if you are looking at this issue in a racial matter, people can think “Oh it only happens to this race but not this race.” Or “This race has power and money so that will never happen.” But the video gives you the outlook, and shows you that it does not matter what your race is, food insecurity is a problem that can happen to anyone. In the video the story went back and forth to both black and white families dealing with the same issue. In this video there is no white privilege or racial discrimination, it shows both races being treated the same, undergoing the same problem and having to do the same thing to get by. For example, food stamps is not given to someone based on their racial background, it is based on the number of people per household and the income. An equal way to get help for everyone, whether or not one qualifies for it, it is based on their own information.

    The only way to start making a change in foods being consumed due to hunger is changing the prices; the prices of fruits and vegetables went up 40% while processed foods went down 40%. In the video with Eva Longoria she talks about how vegetables and fruits cost so much, but the people picking those groceries are getting paid less than a dollar to do all that hard work, meanwhile chips and soda are manufactured through factories and cost so much money to manufacture the bags, and content yet it cost so much less to actually buy. Unless the world starts changing this problem, food insecurity linking to obesity will remain a problem.

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  • Before watching this film I was aware of food insecurity in the nation but definitely not to the full extent. I did not know that there are 23.5 million Americans living in small, out of the loop towns called “food deserts” that have no fruits or vegetables. I also learned that since the 1980s, the price of fruits and vegetables increased by almost 40% while the price of process foods decreased by 40%. This change in prices really took a toll on the overall nutrition of the people living in these food deserts. For example, Mississippi now has the highest rates of food insecurity and obesity because of the food deserts and the amount of processed foods being sold in them. Learning that such a large portion of people in this country are living with little to no food, and the only food they do have is unhealthy processed foods really opens my eyes to this issue. These people are living off of Ramen noodles and chips while other families in America are throwing away whole meals. Children aren’t eating nutritious meals so they aren’t developing mentally and or physically and are constantly sick which also can really effect a child’s education. This film also related very well with our readings on inequality and the restaurant industry in many ways. Most of the people living with food insecurity in the film were of color and struggling to find a job or working at small restaurants because they don’t have the same opportunities given to white families living in the big cities. This inequality is being created by the low income jobs minorities are receiving because of the lack of opportunity given to them and also stereotypes ignorance holds against them. Working at a restaurant you make a good portion of your money on tips and statistically, a waiter or waitress of color gets tipped less than a waiter or waitress who is white. When they aren’t being tipped well enough their income cannot support their families or afford healthy food. Making a change and helping these millions of Americans eat is very simple but it starts with the people, especially those who are more privileged. Along with more food banks, donations, and hot dinners, people need to stand up and ask for the help from our government. People need to bring to attention as to how little $2.68 for a lunch for each child just is not enough and children are very unhealthy because of the cheap processed foods being served. Our government needs to spend a lot more than $4.5 billion over 10 years, which is only about a 6 cent increase per meal, to fix the food insecurity in our nation, the people just have to open up the governments eyes.

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  • From the film, A Place at the Table, I learned that the numbers surrounding food insecurity are higher than I once thought they were. An example of these numbers would be the fact that of the families that are considered food insecure, eighty-five percent have at least on person working. This amazed me because I thought that most of the families that had this problem would have it due to a lack of wealth but that is not necessarily the case because people like Barbie in the film would have a job but not be able to buy food because they were not making enough money and now that they are employed they no longer qualify for government assistance in the form of food stamps and child care. I was also completely unaware of the fact that nearly 23.5 million Americans live in areas called, “food deserts”, which are areas where fresh fruits and vegetables are extremely rare and are too far of a drive to make it worth the expense, in these areas the only food that is around is foods that are highly processed and provide little to no nutritional value. Due to the food desert effects places like Mississippi have both the highest rates of food insecurity and obesity. This shifted my personal perspective by exposing the harsh reality that food insecurity is real in the United States and not just limited to the undeveloped and developing world. It has also showed me that government assistance doesn’t help all those in need like Barbie who had a job but made too much money to qualify for assistance. This concept of food insecurity is linked to stereotypes because white people are not the ones stereotyped to be on government assistance therefore the assumption is that only minorities need the aid of the government, which we see as false with the story of the small town of Colburn Colorado where most of the town is white and a large portion is food insecure due to a lack of sufficient income. What I can do to change this problem and how I can change how food is processed is pretty limited. Due to the fact that I am an 18 year old, unemployed, college student the only truly affective thing I can do is to vote for bills that increase government assistance, along with this I can give larger tips at restaurants to help those employees who depend on tips as a source of significant income.

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  • Before seeing the film, I had never heard of the term ‘food desert.’ After hearing about it, it basically just sounds like an issue of money. Food deserts are off-the-beaten-path areas that only have small shops that do not sell fresh fruits or veggies, mainly because it would cost too much money to transport those kinds of goods to these areas. Going off of this, I learned that obesity and hunger are actually neighbors. The cheapest foods are processed and unhealthy for you while fruits and veggies are much more expensive. When on a limited budget, you can get more calories for your dollar if you buy processed foods. And in these so-called food deserts, there is no choice between processed foods and fresh goods, so that leads to the consumption of unhealthy foods as well. Sure, you can get unhealthy foods for cheaper, but that doesn’t do your body any good. But what are you supposed to do when thats your only option to survive? Going off of this again, I learned that it is extremely difficult to qualify for food stamps. In the movie, Barbie barely qualified for food stamps and she was a single mom of two children without a full-time job. But once she got a full-time job, she no longer qualified for food stamps. Even with a full-time job, she still struggled to feed her children on her own. Also in “Behind The Kitchen Door,” it is evident that it is our food service workers in the United States that are in need of food stamps! How ironic is that? It is even mentioned that servers in the restaurant industry use food stamps at about double the rate of the rest of the U.S. workers. So the people that put food on our restaurant table can’t put food on their own. It is also said in the reading that more than 80 percent of food service workers (even those waiters in the big cities) don’t even earn a living wage. It was found that a full-time restaurant worker (40 hours a week) would have to be paid $18.25 an hour to even afford a little two-bedroom apartment. With paying for rent that expensive, how does one have money for food? It’s mind boggling. And on top of that, white people are more likely to be hired as “front-of-the-house” workers, because that is a stereotype upheld in restaurants, so the even worse paying jobs are given to those who are not white. I think that the only way to fix hunger is to have the government actually do something about it. More money needs to go towards food stamps because there are people who really need it. And hunger wouldn’t be solved by the poor simply getting jobs. There are self-fulfilling stereotypes that prevent certain races from getting jobs, so the poor stay poor. Something must be done nationally to change this.

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  • I Learned a lot from this video but the biggest thing I learned, that I didn’t already know was how much restaurant industries workers made per hour and how much they actually relied on the tips they make. my perspective was that they made at least regular minimum wage around $9.00 an hour, and that the tip is just like an added bonus. But in reality the majority of money they take home each month comes from the tips they make. Another thing I learned in the documentary that was mentioned in the lecture is that the 80% of “front of the house” workers are young white females and white males. any one else would usually work in the “back of the house” I had never really noticed this before so I have been paying attention when I go out to eat, and its mostly true. So far in the last week or so the only African American worker I saw working in the “front of the house” was a busboy at South Fork in Pullman. Something else that I learned and was concerned about is that most restaurant workers don’t receive sick leave, meaning a lot of workers can and do, continue to work while sick and this is very worrying. this also can cause other employees and customers to easily become the sick. when going to a restaurant I would be willing to pay a few dollars extra to know that no one making or handling my food is sick. Just to have the peace of mind, with 10 million Americans working in this industry, it should have already been figured out that employers should help out there workers with sick wages for days they cant work or pay them more so they might actually be financially stable enough to take a few days off each a year.
    learning about this topic it has changed my perspective not only on how restaurants function, and the employees that work them but also America as a country that we allow this many people work full time for such a low wage most servers don’t even bring home stranded minimum wage after tips. Only 20% make a livable wage in there full time jobs, even worse 90% don’t have health insurance. since learning these things i have made sure to always tip the suggested amount depending on the service provided and remembered to notice the inequality’s in industry’s.

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  • This film helped me to understand that why so many people go hungry in a country with more than enough food to go round.Statistically there are enough resources that the united states should have no one going hungry.Amount to one in six people in America face hunger every day.20.6% of U.S. homes with children suffer from “food insecurity”. 50 million Americans struggle to put enough food on their family table.Over 20 million children receive free of reduced-price lunch each day. Less than half of them get breakfast and only 10 percent have access to summer feeding sites. 40 percent of food is thrown out in the U.S. every year, or about $165 billion wort. All of this uneaten food could feed 25 million Americans.This film has changed my perspective. The united state does not realize lots of people who live in food deserts. Food is one of the importantest things in our life that supports the body. This film stated that since 1980, fruits and vegetable costs have increased 40 percent while processed foods have decreased 40 percent.This affects amount of people’s health. Instead of production of the fruits and vegetables that people actually need, a lot of money which are wasted on packaging food.This flim strongly compares with the food industry reading. Lots of restaurant workers get low wages instead of full wages in some cases. And the film stated that 85% of families who undergo food insecurity which have atleast on member of the family working. About the stereotype, most people think people who are hungry ar e skinny when they are overweight.For changing how food is produced,the privileges evident in both consumption and production of food, and the consequences of these inequalities, we can buy the food in season. Mosts fruit and vegetables are not harvested year round,yet we buy whatever we want, no matter what the season. Or buy organic. Buying organic absolutely invokes change, because companies listen to consumers— the increased interest in eating organic over the last few years is the reason Wal-Mart now sells a large selection of organic products. Shopping at farmers markets is also a good choice.Farmers get to keep 80 to 90 cents of every dollar spent by consumers at farmers markets. So while a dozen eggs might cost you a dollar or two more, you are not only getting a higher-quality product, you are keeping the people responsible for providing us with real food in business.

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  • Watching this film made me realize a lot, about food and hunger in the United States. When I typically thought about obesity, I just assumed people who are obese ate a lot of food. But watching the film, it demonstrated people that live in poverty are often obese because processed food is simply cheaper than healthy food. Over 23.5 million people live in an area that is referred to as “food deserts”. Food deserts is something else I learned in the film. A food desert are small towns that do not offer fruits or vegetables within the stores in that town. They are unavailable because it costs too much money to transport fresh fruits and veggies to those small town locations. When you are only allowed a certain budget you are able to buy more processed food than fresh healthy food. When living in a food desert you have no option to decide between healthy food or processed food so you are forced to go the unhealthy way. You have the option to drive to bigger towns that do offer vegetables and fruits but then that takes more out of pocket because not only do you have to pay extra for the fresh goods but now you have to pay for the gas that it takes to get to the other town. The film also changed my perspective on food stamps because I used to think it’s their own fault for not being able to pay for food. The film and our readings about the restaurant industry showed how little waitresses and waiters make for a living.They are treated horribly and get paid very little, not even enough to provide for themselves so many need to rely on food stamps. But in the United States qualifying for food stamps is very difficult. As shown in the movie Barbie did not have a full time job, she was a single mother of two kids and she barely qualified for food stamps. Even when she did have food stamps she was still struggling the last week of the month. Once she had a full time job, the food stamps were taking away, and then she had very little to provide for her children. When it comes to the food industry it is said waiters and waitresses use food stamps more than anybody else in the United States. It is also said 80% of servers don’t make enough for a living wage. So not only are they unable to pay for housing but also food. Stereotypes and privileges come in when whites are able to do the social work as said in class as “front of the house” work when many people of color have to do the work in the back. I am an eighteen year old unemployed college student, there isn’t much I can do but one thing I am going to start doing is giving higher tips to servers because I see how difficult it can be for them.

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  • From the film, A Place at the Table, I’ve learned just how many people in America live without enough money to feed themselves and their families. Before watching the film I had never heard of the term “food deserts”, which are places where there is a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. On top of this I did not know that 23.5 million Americans live in places like this. The reason food deserts exist is because these places are considered to be to far away for deliveries to be profitable to companies. To me it seems that companies are placing a higher emphasis on costs and profits than actual people and their well-being. One thing that surprised me is the connection between obesity and hunger, but after thinking about the differences in price between fruits and vegetables and processed foods it made sense. However, I never knew that the reason for the large difference in prices between fruits and vegetables and between processed foods was due to government subsidies of certain crops like rice, corn, and wheat. According to the film the price of processed foods has gone down by 40% since 1980 while the prices of fruits and vegetables has gone up by 40%. This means that those who can’t afford to buy fruits and vegetables have to sacrifice healthy options for affordable ones. This made me think of our reading Behind the Kitchen Door, from which I learned that it is nearly impossible for workers to make a living off of minimum wage, which means sacrificing fruits and vegetables in their diet. Besides this I also learned that 85% of families have at least one person working in their family and are food insecure, which means that they don’t know where your next meal is coming from. This number was shocking to me as I never considered hunger a large problem in America. It is also shocking considering all of the negative consequences hunger can have, such a obesity, stunted growth, and delayed cognitive development, you would think that it would be a higher priority of the government to make sure that its citizens aren’t hungry. This, however, reflects what we’ve learned in class about privilege and locked-in systems. Those who can’t afford to buy fruits and vegetables don’t have the means to evoke change, while those who are privileged enough to be able to afford to eat healthy don’t feel the need to do anything to try to change the system. If awareness about food deserts and food insecurity were raised then perhaps people would step up and try to change the system.

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  • I learned from the film that people who work in restaurants are underpaid and are often scraping money together to feed themselves and families. It makes me stop and think about the people who are serving my food every time i go out to eat. This connects to the reading material because its shows how privilege works in the food industry,its kinda the farther from the front of the restaurant you are the darker the skin color becomes in the work force. the stereotypes are are definitely based on gender and race because with gender females tend to tip more to males than females and vice versa with males tipping females more than males. Race comes into the matter because people tend to tip white workers more over black and Latino workers. One of the ways i can change how food is produced is to tip better so that the people making the food can eat and be healthy themselves. one of the in class projects we had to do is budget money to support ourselves plus two kids and there wasn’t always enough so you had to take money away from a category to cover health,food, or another category. from the video i learned that there is a certain amount of money you have to earn to be eligible for food stamps and if you go over you aren’t qualified for help. i also learned that many small towns cant provide healthy provide or are in the poverty area because they don’t have the money and food delivers are not willing to drive through them with out a certain amount of pay. the privileges that are involved with consumption and production are the places available to some races and not to others because of discrimination against that particular race. many restaurants wont hire people unless they to some level allow the managers to get away with things because they need that money. i cant really change that because if i were to give them a really good tip its usually not spent on that server but rather their taxes or for something else. Of all the the inequalities there are there is definitely consequences that are involved like poor health, high medical bills with no insurance, scraping money to get food, and more.

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  • The film that we watched in class really changed the way I looked at people who suffer from food insecurity. In a country as successful and wealthy as the United States, not many people think about those that suffer from lack of food. There are a variety of reasons as to why these people are lacking food, but they don’t matter. The only thing that does matter is that they lack food. Food stamps are a huge issue in America and are inconsistent with how they are dealt. Food insecurity also has lead to younger, poorer children becoming obese. With the lack of funds for healthier foods to fulfill a diet, poorer families are buying the cheapest food possible to fill their stomachs and is causing health issues as well. These children also suffer psychologically when they are constantly hungry, especially young children. The government has plenty of ability to help these kids get fed, both through school lunches and food stamps, yet have not provided much in either. It is at a point now where the people who have plenty of food do not worry about those who don’t have enough and makes those people suffer more. Without help from the government or those who are not food insecure the problem will never be fixed. I had no idea how bad this problem was until we watched this video and really opened my eyes. The inequalities of the people that have enough have hurt all those who don’t and worsen the problem constantly. A change is needed. These people are still working hard yet are not rewarded and will never will be with the way things are now.

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    • There is a large need for change in this country, I agree, but in an age where people are as disenfranchised with government as the government is invested in corporations where will this change originate? One point you made that I enjoyed was how the government has not provided much in either food stamps or school lunches. It seems like the current system is just half-assing both, cutting one to fund the other and calling it progress.

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      • Yes the government hasn’t done the job well enough to fix the problem, if our current behavior and food trends don’t slow down in the next decade we could be a food-insecure county. Where will this change originate I don’t know for sure but it could be a gov. budget shortage to agriculture and food. Maybe if congress or some office could pass a new law for higher minimum wage and raising the amount of money spent on school lunches so that students would eat healthier; giving our younger generations a chance at a better lifestyle and quality of life, because nobody deserves to be food-insecure.

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  • After watching “a place at the table”, I learned a lot. The video showed/taught me things I had no idea happened in the U.S and changed my perspective on things. The woman in the film that didn’t have a job, Barbie, was struggling because she and her two little boys were relying on food stamps to survive. Then when she did get a minimum wage job she was no longer eligible for food stamps, so she was still struggling with the little money she got from her job. This is because the government feels like Barbie makes too much money to have food stamps. I feel like this is crazy! She is a single mom that needs help. Also, the little girl named Rosie’s story touched me. Its crazy how strong she is! The book we are reading in class (Behind the Kitchen Door) talks about food insecurities and that about 16% of American struggle with it. That were Barbie and Rosie differ. Barbie has food insecurities and hates asking people to help her out with food whereas Rosie likes getting help from people. It makes me think about the people around me that I don’t know and how they live there lives because just looking at them, you would never know if they had the same life styles as Rosie and Barbie. That’s what I think, but many people think that they can just look at a person and judge them without even knowing them. Most people just think that since that person works at a restaurant that they are poor or even worst, that person is black and lives in the ghetto so they are poor. I just don’t understand why people have to make those types of stereotypes.
    When you asked how I could change how food is produced, the privileges evident in both consumption and production of food, and the consequences of these inequalities, I thought that I could maybe write letters or even protest but I feel like even if I tried to do anything, no one would listen. In the video it tells us that political people always feel like they are helping the schools out with the foundations they are making to make school lunches better but in reality its not helping at all because the foundations are just dipping into the food stamp money that the children’s parents are trying to get. I’m really glad you showed us this documentary because it opened my eyes on how this country works and how hard people have to work in this country to actually live and stay out of the horrible stereotypes.

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  • I was genuinely surprised by the film “a place at the table”. I knew that there was still hardship and disparity in America but this film really opened my eyes to how much people are struggling and how the systems put in place today are allowing people to slip through the cracks and live hungry and impoverished. The issue of hunger and poverty is one that is rarely talked about and therefor kept away from the public’s eye for the most part. This film changed that for me. Before this film I had a clouded and uninformed perspective that people in food stamps and public welfare systems were for lazy and not wanting to be self sufficient hoping that the government would pay their way through life. But after this film my perspective took a 180 degree turn. For example when the film was focussed on barbie and how she was struggling to feed her kids depending on food stamps to get by and even then they were struggling severely. You would think that after barbie got a job that she would be better off but that was not the case. Because she was making more money she no longer qualified for the assistance that she was receiving previously. The system was put in place to help those in need but in this case and many other’s it was basically useless. This was enlightening because i thought originally that these systems were mostly successful in providing aid to those in need but this film really showed me how many people are still hurting. Another thing that touched my heart was the little girl Rosie. She is so young and the only thing she has known is hunger and poverty. This really made me appreciative of how much i have and how lucky i am to not have to go through the day and daydream about food. It was hard for me to watch her story because she was not depressed or brought down by her surroundings and that was really inspiring. In the film they addressed how Barbie did not want to be a part of the single mother, drop out and have babies stereotype. She had so much pride and went through so much hardship but she still tried to stay strong and go against the stereotype and be the one that stands out and does not take the easy way out. Another thing i realized was that this film and the “Behind Kitchen Doors” This film showed how it is basically impossible to support a family. The activity in class when we had to live on a certain budget and how we would have to make major cuts and live without many necessities and even then it was basically impossible. When asked how could i change how food is produced, the privileges evident in both consumption and production of food, and the consequences of these inequalities i am left feeling powerless. I feel like I could tell as many people as I could and even protest, but even then i feel like my efforts would go unnoticed and have no impact. Personally i feel like the only way to make a difference would be to gain some pull within the government and policy makers to influence those in congress to bass bills giving more aid to those in need and to narrow the gap between those who are okay and those who are in need. Another thing that i could do is start a donation food bank that takes house calls and brings food to those who are in need and do not have the means to get help. To solve this problem it will take time, effort, and the influence of higher ups to impact the lives of the struggling and stop the drastic food issues in America.

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  • The film, “A Place at the Table” without a doubt opened my eyes to a whole new perspective. I was introduced to food insecurity, which is the idea of not knowing where your next meal is coming from. I was aware of how of world hunger and how it is increasing every day, but I never knew that 85% of families that have at least one person working are food insecure. After hearing Rosie’s story in the film, it opened my eyes to how “hungry” people are not all homeless and their living situation is not the reason for why they are unable to attain food. My perspective has made me realize how privileged I am and how every time I waste money on unnecessary things, there are people that are struggling just to eat. There are so many people that are eating junk food because they cannot afford nutritional food not because they want to, but because they have to. Families are having to buy processed foods rather than nutritional foods because of the major price different and because of food deserts. “Food deserts” are urban and undeveloped communities that are unable to attain fruits and vegetables because of their location. What surprised me the most was that food insecurity and obesity are so closely related because of inefficient funds. People are unable to provide their families with food or having to feed unhealthy substitutions such as chips, spaghetti o’s and other processed foods because it is the only thing that they can afford. An unhealthy diet can lead to many disabilities, infections and for many children their physical and mental state is unable to develop correctly. In the book, “Behind the Kitchen Door” it discusses how hard it is to have a minimum paying job and supporting their family at the same time. In the film, right after Barbie got a new full-time minimum wage job, she was struggling to feed her kids because she was ineligible to receive food stamps based on how much money she was making. For many struggling consumers, it is nearly impossible to stop buying processed food because any food is better than no food. But as a society, we can bring awareness to others that may not know much about the reality of hunger and food insecurity. By funding more nutritional foods and spreading knowledge of how more and more people are starting to be a part of the “hungry” stereotype, we might be able to make a difference.

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  • This film was able to open my eyes a lot more. I knew that many people suffered from not having enough food but I was never put in the position to watch a documentary about it. People can go through a great amount of stress trying to provide for themselves but mainly their families. The film only presented a small amount of families that go through food insecurity and obesity which makes you wonder how many more. The case that really got to me was when the little girl started talking about how she would get distracted and started seeing her teacher and classmates as foods and fruits. I never knew it really got to that extent, you would only see these situations in animated movies but I had never known of a person that it actually happened to. I was also able to see how strict the government had the criteria to receive help. For example when the woman was about $2.00 over the requirement and was unable to qualify for food stamps. I found that outrageous. I was also able to make the connection with obesity and poverty. People can only afford a certain amount, fruits and vegetable prices have increased 40 percent while processed foods decreased 40 percent. In other words it is cheaper to buy fattening foods. This goes against a great stereotype that people who are unable to eat because of low income are very skinny but shockingly it proves they tend to be obese. Educating ourselves and the public on which companies that we get our food from do things the right way, and giving our business to companies that we believe are not injusticely overworking and underpaying their employees. This will help by getting employers who work in small companies the opportunity to maybe even receive raises because the company is doing well. Food banks help families in need but they will not solve world hunger.

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    • I think your summary hits a lot of good points Rafael. I also thought that the correlation between low-income/food insecurity and obesity was shocking, but the logic is there to support the conclusion. I couldn’t agree more with your last sentence: real solutions to hunger will not come from private charities.

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  • The film, A Place at the Table, sheds light on the plight of food insecure families in a personal way. By examining the hardships of different families of diverse backgrounds the film seeks to show that hunger is not just a black problem, a 3rd world problem, but that it is an American problem. The most interesting point of this film for me was how it raised greater issues of power and social justice. By disconnecting from the typical dogma of how “there’s enough food for everyone” in America, A Place at the Table forces viewers to acknowledge that the cause of hunger in America (or anywhere for that matter) is poverty. There seems to be a definite underclass in our society which absorbs financial losses while the upper echelon reaps financial gains.
    Furthermore, this underclass is disproportionately composed of urban blacks and rural whites. Strangely, this seems to indicate that geography may have as much impact on privilege as race. Redlining practices which furthered the cause of segregation (even in light of new integration policies) also greatly devalued some properties. These devalued properties went on to become the urban centers and food deserts discussed in the film. Stereotypes about the hungry and America’s meritocratic delusions also help to lock-in geography-based privilege by normalizing the inequalities experienced by Americans of many races. There is a perception that hunger is a problem of “ghetto” blacks, but this is misrepresentative of reality. Hunger in white rural communities receives no face in the media and has therefore become invisible in the public eye: this invisibility serves to normalize the inequalities experienced by both hungry white and hungry black Americans by suggesting that hunger in America is a community (and therefore not nationally serious) issue.
    When it comes to what I can do about these inequalities, the most immediate thought that springs to mind is to write my state legislator. A representative or senator in congress could conceivably bring the issue of nation-wide hunger (and its systemic, geographic origins) to light on a national stage. Further, supporting groups like the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) can help give these fair-work organizations the leverage and support they need to continue informing the public about these issues. Consumers can pay a little more for quality goods that are produced through socially responsible business practices (such as fair-food tomatoes) to support livable wages for workers. If the economic response is large enough, companies will take notice.

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    • I like the way you interpreted “how will you change the way food is produced?” It led me to think about how our country is so reliable on big-business crops and agriculture. If each city could grow locally and buy organic instead of paying the price of shipping to food deserts we could be more self-sustainable. Of course this idea is hard to imagine considering vastly growing populations in larger cities. However, with a decrease in shipment across the country food costs would lower and so would our food debt and dependency on large corporations.

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  • By watching this film, I was truly enlightened on a problem that I did not think was relevant in our country. I suppose I was so oblivious to such a serious issue because of the way I personally was raised, as well as the way the United States is perceived to be such a developed country. When thinking about the issue of hunger before this film, I would have been naming off underdeveloped third world countries, and just like the film stated, the typical characteristics of someone who is thought to be hungry: people who are skinny, not educated, poor or unemployed, disabled, or in a third world country. I was quick to realize not all of those cover the vast number of people who are hungry or food insecure in the United States. I had no clue that there are so many people in our country that do not know where their next meal will come from, and that if they want assistance from the government, they have to meet a ridiculous set of criteria to do so. When the young woman who has two toddlers at home was denied after spending a whole day trying to get assistance, sacrificing time she could have used to work and put food on her table, I was honestly appalled; if she were making any less money she would be on the streets. I was also able to learn about the 23.5 million people that live in food deserts across our nation, where areas do not have access to various foods such as fruits and vegetables due to the cost being too high to transport them out to these food deserts. These ideas all were startling to me, and made me more conscious of such a huge issue in our country and made me think of what can be done to improve the situation. While watching the film, I could relate it directly to Behind the Kitchen Door; a lot of these families suffering from food insecurities are working minimum-wage earning jobs, similar to the cooks and servers in the reading who were trying to make ends meet. It made me realize how impossible it is to truly support a family off of wages like that, and then the in-class activity where we had to manage a budget off a minimum-wage income made it all the more real. When relating the movie and reading to our discussions about privilege, it is easy to relate the cause of minorities working low paying jobs when better paying jobs are disproportionally given to white people. To try and change the situation that is at hand, we need to promote awareness of food insecurity, unfair wages, and how our government is poorly handling a serious situation and demand change. By utilizing those with power and those who are privileged, change will come quicker as it goes through the higher ranks of business and government. If we can demonstrate the desperate need to change policies, we can make a change. We need to make business owners aware of the situation at hand; they need to raise pay for servers who live off solely their tips. We need to make the government care about this situation; not just cutting funds from food stamps to pay for school lunch support. Food should completely accessible to everyone, no matter the circumstance.

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  • I always knew there was hunger around the world and millions of people suffered from it but I never knew that there was such a heavy presence of it in the United States. In the United States alone there are about fifty million people that suffer with food insecurity. Food insecurity is when you do not know where your next meal is going to come from or how you are going to pay for it. The movie outlines the consequences of this which include issues with cognitive development, more struggles in the ability to get along with others, constantly being sick or getting infections, and more. Another thing I learned from watching A Place at the Table is what a food desert is and how many people live in them. Food deserts are towns where it is difficult to buy good quality and affordable fruits or vegetables. There are about 23.5 million Americans living in food deserts. This contributes to the nations obesity rates. This movie has drastically changed my perspective on how lucky I am to not be food insecure or live in a food desert. I could easily drive somewhere that sells fruits and vegetables at a reasonable price in order to maintain a balanced nutrition. I also can go to one of the on-campus markets and see that it is true that the price of healthy snacks are extremely overpriced compared to a bag of chips or cookies. This affects how children are raised and become overweight because their parent(s) can’t afford to pay for the right kinds of food. This connects with what we have learned in the course with how people who are paid minimum wage can barely afford to pay for their food let alone for their kids. Only twenty percent of restaurant workers make a liveable wage. Restaurant workers use food stamps two-three times more than other workers. There is a controversy with this because most of the time they make just barely over the limit to be eligible for government aid such as food stamps. This is what leads to parents buying chips and cookies for their children over healthy snacks because it is the cheaper more affordable route. This also is what contributes to obesity because there are insufficient funds to get the proper food to stay healthy. This adds to the inequalities in our nation because the people who are at the bottom of the food chain are stuck there until there are changes made in the wages given in the food industry.

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  • The movie ‘A place at the Table’ was very appraisable. I myself have not thought much about food desert places. Urban areas in which it is difficult to buy good-quality fresh food. I found it surprising that approximately 23.5 million people live in this type of environment. The relationship between hunger and obesity may seem counterintuitive. However, hunger and obesity can coexist in the same individual. About 30% of low-income children are overweight or obese. Why is this? Why are low-income families who live in a food desert places gaining a substantial amount of weight? In my perspective I always assumed it was because they ate too much. After watching this film, my perspective changed the way I saw obesity. I learned that not having enough money to eat a nutritional meal can cause people to gain weight. Low-income families are bound to buy cheap foods to feed their families. A great example that was included in the film was the cost of healthy eating. In the film it showed how two litters of pop, a bag of chips, and a couple of top ramen equaled the same price as a small portion of grapes and broccoli, and a glass of juice which was three dollars. The difference in calories was 3,436. The junk food had a total of 3,728 calories while the total of calories in healthy snacks was 312. Living in pauperism is a struggle. Since the 1980 the price of fruits and vegetables has increase substantially. On the other hand, processed food had gone down about 40%. Having said this, there is not a lot of variety of healthy choices. Obtaining this knowledge now stimulates my mind to think openly about the social economic status of others.

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  • There are several viewpoints that I took in from this film. I was always aware that food wasn’t always distributed evenly throughout the United States but for some reason I removed the image that white people also suffer from poverty and lack of food. I have always kept an image that minorities are the only people that are living in poverty and are food insecurity. This film was truly eye opening about the struggles of low-income families trying to make a living off of minimum wage, government help and charity. There was a great deal of information that I took in from this film. About 30% of Americans suffer from food insecurity and at least 50 million Americans are living without any food. Many Americans don’t have any means of transportation that will access them to a decent grocery store. In many small urban areas they only have small stores that do not have fruits or vegetables. These are referred to as food deserts. Nearly 23.5 Americans live in food deserts. Low-income families live off of low minimum wage jobs that don’t allow them to have enough money to purchase healthy food items. The prices for fruits and vegetables have increased dramatically by 40% and at the same time the price for processed foods has decreased. This is allowing families to be able to access unhealthy food instead of healthy food causing obesity and child obesity. Children who do not have a well-balanced meal are in danger of lifelong consequences. I feel as if I can relate to this because as a child my parents weren’t able to feed 6 children a well-balanced meal because they worked a minimum wage job. There was just too many of us and too little money. I know what it’s like not being able to concentrate in class as a result of being hungry. Minimum wage jobs really play a big part of raising a family. I now understand how important it is for restaurant workers to receive all the money they deserve and how hard it is to live off of tips. One just isn’t able to live off of tips and raise a family. I think that if subsidized food was reduced and working something out with farmers so that fruit and vegetables wouldn’t be so expensive, families would be able to receive a decent diet.

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