Food sovereignty is the answer
Re: Letters to the Editor: “Food Insecurity U” (Oct. 5, 2023)
In response to the letter by Wang Thao focusing on student food security, their sad story is only too indicative of the fragility of our current food system. Food is expensive and could double again in 2024 due to a number of factors: supply-chain disruptions, wars, gas prices, inflation, changing weather patterns, destruction of crops, etc.
There is very little the county can do to supply food. Food programs come from the federal level and are at the whim of who is in DC. We come to rely on them and are devastated when they go away.
While there are many food pantries here (the Hungry Wildcat food pantry at Chico State, the Roadrunner Hub at Butte College, plus churches and sites throughout the county), many students don’t know they’re available. But is dependence on food pantries the answer?
The Butte County Local Food Network has an exciting project that encourages us to grow “1,000 Acres More” of our own food. During the last century, our country mobilized and grew 42 percent of our produce in back yards and in community, church and school gardens. What would happen if neighborhoods ripped out their lawns and grew food together?
Food forests cut down water usage, feed us, and create cooler microclimates. Neighborhood and community gardens also have the capacity to bridge political and cultural divides. We invite students and the rest of us to become part of a community that grows food together. Join us at bclocalfood.org .
[Larry is the director of Butte County Local Food Network.]
Winter is coming
As winter approaches, those of us dedicated to aiding in the recovery from last winter’s storm damage are facing a formidable challenge and striving to resolve it urgently. Our waiting list for Disaster Case Management includes several hundred households, with approximately 30 percent of them comprising disabled and/or elderly residents. Given that our Disaster Case Management Program only commenced at the end of August 2023, these households are rapidly running out of time to get the necessary repairs to their home before winter. Our case managers are working to assist as many as possible.
Compounding this issue is the fact that some of our clients face significant mobility challenges, while others suffer from lung diseases that make residing in moldy conditions extremely hazardous. Most lack the financial resources to hire contractors independently, and even those who can may require assistance deciphering paperwork or identifying trustworthy companies.
Furthermore, the 52 percent of homeowners who have been fortunate enough to maintain their insurance coverage in recent years are understandably hesitant to file claims out of fear that it will jeopardize ongoing coverage. But if they do not file a claim, they cannot receive FEMA assistance.
The current situation presents an alarming scenario. Numerous households, many of which include elderly and/or disabled persons, are residing in homes with roofs compromised by last winter’s storms, and are not prepared for another winter like the previous one. Yet an even heavier winter is predicted this year. Unfortunately, for the majority of these households, there will not be time to complete the necessary repairs in time.
The community urgently needs funding, reliable and trustworthy contractors, and proactive planning for alternative temporary housing options. While we can anticipate this scenario, a larger disaster may unfold. If we are to build a resilient community, conversations around these issues are imperative.
In last month’s Editor’s Note (“September ends,” Oct. 5), a picture of Jenise Coon should have been attributed to Caitlyn Young. It’s been corrected online.
Also, in the Best of Chico winners supplement (Oct. 5), the write-up for Nurses and Professional Healthcare—winners of Best Local Healthcare Provider—should have read “leading healthcare staffing agency in the North State” (not “North America”).
Write a letter
Tell us what you think in a letter to the editor. Send submissions of 200 or fewer words to email@example.com. Deadline for December 7 print publication is November 20.