Basic physical human needs: food, shelter, clothing, water.
FOOD: What next? Stone Soup?
A very wise nutritionist tells us that the price of corn has gone up. While this may seem insignificant to the rest of us, it affects our ability to deliver quality services to our schools. Corn feeds animals that produce much of the foods we require to balance our nutritional services to our students. The rising price of corn affects the farmer who sells it and the farmer who buys it. It affects the livestock, the milk, the eggs, the wheat industry and it ultimately trickles down to the consumer, us. On the homefront, the PSS homefront at least, we have had to scale down our meals for students because we can no longer afford to feed them certain foods for more than a few days at a time.
The price of fuel has made feeding our families harder to do because we have to chip in to cover the cost of getting it here in the first place. When it finally gets here, we chip in again to keep it fresh at the grocery store where the price of electricity to keep the place running adds another few cents. That's just the cost of buying food in general; buying healthy food is an entirely new dilemma. The luxury of preparing a nutritionally sound meal is almost impossible for families in the lower end of the socio-economic scale, for the rest of us it is a trade-off. Families have been forced to choose between buying that 49 cent bag of chips and fresh produce in order to survive. I don't have to elaborate on the implications this has in regards to health care or the conflict it causes with the implementation of a wellness curriculum in most schools. How do we encourage parents to cook only healthy meals when two cans of SPAM and some rice will feed the entire family and help free up some money for other bills?
We used to gossip about people who balutan at parties and professional rosary scouts. Now I wonder if we weren't prematurely judging them. Could it now be that because we all have to conserve food we can identify with the need to hoard it? Might we all have to bite our tongues one day as we shove that bread roll from the buffet table into our pockets? Sustenance has never been so complicated.
I would like to learn more about what our Health, Education and Welfare committee are doing to address wellness from the economic, educational and legislative standpoints. Programs aimed at overall wellness, whether they come from the schools or the health care industry are useless if we do not have safeguards in place to prevent price gouging, protect our local farmers, protect our natural resources, provide or support/incentives to businesses who promote and market better products, etc. Who is paying attention to how we feed ourselves?
Pay attention. Because we can't afford to live like this any longer!