Food Security

On A Global Scale:

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of food security is built on three pillars:

1.  Food availability: access to sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis

a.  Food insecurity can be a long-term or a short-term event.

2.  Food access: having sufficient resources and socially acceptable means (without the aid of emergency food supplies, stealing or scavenging) to obtain appropriate foods or a nutritious diet.

a.  For the food insecure, dependence on fast food or highly processed foods that would be deemed unhealthy for the human diet would not solve food insecurity.

b.  High prices of foods could prevent one from obtaining food, especially for those on supplemental or fixed incomes.

3.  Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation

Food Security within Lincoln County

Thirty-one percent of Lincoln Co. children receive SNAP benefits and 48% qualify for free and reduced price lunch. The poverty rate for children under 18 is 19%. The issue is also a whole family issue, so the absolute numbers are higher than simply the count of children

Feeding America, a nonprofit working on hunger issues, uses a variety of national sources to compute “food insecurity rates at county level for all US counties. The rate for Lincoln County is 12.1%. Though most Maine counties have slightly higher rates, all of New Hampshire and 11 of 14 Massachusetts counties have lower rates. In general, Maine’s rates are more comparable to the deep South

Lincoln County is also one of the wealthiest counties in Maine. The disparity between wealthy coastal residents and working families trying to survive creates a particularly challenging situation regarding public awareness and support for interventions. Further, the issue of food insecurity is not only lack of access to affordable nutritious food; it is also a lack of knowledge of how to prepare and store food, knowledge not passed down to heads of families with children for more than one generation in many cases.