ARTICLE BY ONE OF MY LOCAL COUNCILLORS-
𝗣𝗢𝗥𝗥𝗜𝗗𝗚𝗘 𝗔𝗡𝗗 𝗣𝗢𝗧𝗔𝗧𝗢𝗘𝗦 𝗪𝗢𝗡’𝗧 𝗦𝗢𝗟𝗩𝗘 𝗙𝗢𝗢𝗗 𝗣𝗢𝗩𝗘𝗥𝗧𝗬
Porridge and potatoes are being lauded by wealthy and privileged commentators and politicians as the answer to the country’s obesity crisis and food poverty problem.
People who actually know what it’s like to live with food poverty or work closely with those who do, have tried so hard for so long to make others understand what the real issues are but once again those with privilege are trying to make the debate one of personal responsibility.
I grew up in a poverty and this was most keenly felt around food.
My relationship with food was very much feast and famine depending on how close to pay day we were. Buying fresh fruit every week just wasn’t affordable.
The cost of eating healthily isn’t as simple as privileged people logging on to Tesco and pointing out how “cheap” fruit and veg is.
Sure, I can get cheap apples in season but apples aren’t going to fill up 4 people.
Five small apples costs around 80p and as a snack would last a day in my house with two children under the age of six.
Let’s not forget that as a minimum, we should all be eating 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. Throw in different coloured vegetables, a banana and an orange each day and you’ve easily spent a few pounds and no-one has even had a proper meal yet!
So it really rankles when privileged people think tackling food poverty and obesity is sneering about how much Pepsi and Pringles people buy.
Privilege isn’t just about family wealth. Privilege can be having your own transport, time to shop around and the knowledge and confidence to cook from scratch.
Having those things will help bring food bills down and give you better balanced meals but not everyone has that privilege.
If you want to tackle food poverty and obesity then you need to consider convenience, affordability and skills.
Give people the financial security, time and knowledge to shop/cook from scratch and they’ll do it. People aren’t eating chips and beans every day for the sake of it!
For example, I am privileged to no longer be in food poverty, to have my own transport, a stable modest income, and crucially the skills and confidence in the kitchen to cook from scratch.
So last night I made roast chicken with patatas bravas, baked feta and minted peas for 4 at a total cost of £8.21.
We have enough leftovers for dinner if I bulk it out with rice/veg for an additional 80p.
£9 for two dinners for four people. Sounds cheap, right?
Well for £9 I could buy enough beans, frozen chips, frozen veg, fish fingers/nuggets/sausages to feed 4 people dinner for 6 nights plus 2 packets of biscuits.
Nutritionally it wouldn’t be great but 4 people would be fed for almost a week on what I spent on two meals.
Cheap, calorie rich food is filling and people are feeding it to their children out of necessity.
Googling the price of fruit and vegetables to shame people is performative othering. It’s a way of saying to ordinary people that the issues we have aren’t structural but caused by a lack of individual responsibility. “THEY don’t buy fresh food because THEY are lazy and YOU are proof that THEY are lazy because YOU can cook and YOU don’t buy junk”.
I’m a very confident cook and I involve my children in my cooking so they can gain the knowledge and skills. Yet I know people from very privileged backgrounds who are unable to cook because they were never taught. They can afford Tesco finest dinner deals and Charlie Bigham’s ready meals and no-one criticises them for it. Yet the single parent working two jobs buying nuggets and chips is lazy and feckless.
These issues are often down to benefit cuts, freezes and sanctions, delays to universal credit, low and stagnant wages, zero hours contracts and insecure work.
Until the government and their commentators are willing to focus on the real causes of food poverty and obesity instead of labelling people as lazy and feckless they need to stay in their lanes.
Franbern Thu 30-Jul-20 09:31:28
GrannyLaine Thu 30-Jul-20 09:43:28
dizzyblonde Thu 30-Jul-20 10:06:05
Callistemon Thu 30-Jul-20 10:26:57
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midgey Thu 30-Jul-20 10:52:12
Callistemon Thu 30-Jul-20 10:56:06
Oopsadaisy3 Thu 30-Jul-20 10:58:04
Callistemon Thu 30-Jul-20 11:02:24
GagaJo Thu 30-Jul-20 11:03:51
paddyanne Thu 30-Jul-20 11:19:34
EllanVannin Thu 30-Jul-20 11:51:34
eazybee Thu 30-Jul-20 12:09:31
Chewbacca Thu 30-Jul-20 12:22:52
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Blinko Thu 30-Jul-20 13:12:49
Caramac Thu 30-Jul-20 13:24:34
Oopsadaisy3 Thu 30-Jul-20 13:25:32
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GillT57 Thu 30-Jul-20 13:39:06
Rosalyn69 Thu 30-Jul-20 14:19:03
watermeadow Thu 30-Jul-20 18:38:45
trisher Thu 30-Jul-20 18:53:35
rosecarmel Thu 30-Jul-20 19:36:20