It’s important and interesting to debate local and organic food; however issues of hunger and malnutrition must not be forgotten.  From my understanding it is not possible to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in a capitalist society because it is purely based on supply and demand.  Companies and corporations cater their products to consumers who they think will buy their product.  They do not consider moral or ethical impacts of their methods of marketing, distribution, or pricing.  Employees of the food system do not consider poor quality, limited access, and high prices for impoverished neighborhoods.  I have no expectations or beliefs that food companies will go out of their way to help populations in need.

Right now it is the US government, non-governmental organizations, and non-for profit organizations that are working to supply food to these areas.  The problem is that giving food stamps or creating soup kitchens is only a quick fix.  People need higher paying jobs or knowledge of how to grow their own food so they can become self sustainable.  The World Food Organization is a part of the UN that works with national governments and independent agencies to deliver food around the world.  Their program has the same problem as food stamps in the US.  The WFO is giving people food instead of teaching communities how to farm produce or raise animals.  People will only continue to rely on these systems until we create better economic and agriculturally aware communities. 

Our capitalistic system with government assistance is not working.  Americans are still going hungry at night.  We have the capacity and resources to feed all of our citizens and more, so why don’t we?

 

Nestle’s response The Lancet on nudging and nagging vs. environmental change makes fun of political simplicity in the UK.  Recently the government has realized that physicians in the National Health Service will not be successful in supporting healthy lifestyles through nudging patients.  It is necessary to nag patients about healthy eating and lifestyles.  Yet this is not enough, Nestle and The Lancet point out that higher taxes on unhealthy products are a more effective method of increasing citizens’ health.   Even these methods are not enough when the capitalistic system and a range of socioeconomic statuses prevent equal opportunity of buying healthy food.  Citizens need to be educated on how to eat healthy and be provided with resources to access that food.

 

The issue of health and quality of life addressed here is similar to the issues of hunger and malnutrition.  It would be interesting to learn whether these are also problems in the UK.  As for the US doctors I know from experience that they inquire whether you’re eating a balanced diet and exercise.  Nevertheless, many people who are not getting enough nutrients may not be able to go to checkups where doctors will tell them how to be healthier.  Even then if a person of lower socioeconomic status can go to the doctors it can be difficult to change your diet because your doctor says so.  It’s understandable that the UK and in some forms the US are trying to promote health, but at the same time there are better ways to address the system.

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