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How We Survive: Sprouting Up in Empty Breadbaskets


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food line in Huron

Hundreds wait on line in the blazing sun to pick up food aid in Huron, California, a Central Valley town dubbed "the lettuce capital of the U.S." Source: Pauline Bartolone

The United States is one of the world’s major food producers, yet more than one in ten Americans live in households that are food insecure. And in today’s recession, access to enough food is even more difficult.

On this edition, we continue our series “How We Survive.” We explore the irony of food poverty in California’s agriculturally rich Central Valley. And, we look at community food initiatives popping up in both urban and rural food deserts.


‘Making Food Available in the City’

by Megan Martenyi

Urban landscapes may be littered with stores, but that doesn’t mean residents can find a healthy meal. Making Contact’s Megan Martenyi has more on a project bringing healthy food to low income neighborhoods in Oakland, California.

Voices: Michelle Obama; First Lady of the United States; Erica Torrence, People’s Grocery Community Outreach Coordinator; Nubia, Receives People’s Grocery “Grub Box”.


When Food Gets Trucked into a Breadbasket
by Pauline Bartolone,  narrated by Sandina Robbins

Food insecurity isn’t just a problem for city folk. Even in farm country, where food is mass -produced, there are problems finding healthy food that’s affordable. Take Fresno County, California. This rural region in the arid Central Valley is the most agriculturally productive county in the US. Yet, many households have trouble putting food on their tables. And lately, a mix of drought conditions, water rationing and the recession has made hunger in the valley, worse. The state of California declared a state of emergency in Fresno County, and from July to October, was trucking in tons of food to the hungry and unemployed. Making Contact’s Pauline Bartolone has this report about food insecurity in Fresno. Sandina Robbins narrates her story.

Voices: Rachel Klein, Fresno Community Food Bank Worker; Evangelina Zaragoza, Needs Food Aid; Nayamin Martinez, Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities Health Coordinator; Richard Yanes, Fresno Metro Ministry Executive Director; Tom Mattott, Fresno Metro Ministry Al-Radka Park Community Garden Manager.



‘A Look at Food Access in the U.S and Beyond’

produced by Pauline Bartolone, interviewed by Andrew Stelzer

Interview with Eric Holt-Giménez
Executive Director of Food First/the Institute for Food & Development Policy. The interview is 29 minutes long.


This program was partially funded by the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, and the Seed Fund at the Rudolf Steiner Foundation.

Production Assistance on this show by David Martinez.
Voicework performed by Sandina Robbins.

For More Information:

Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities

California Institute for Rural Studies

California Conservation Corps Foundation

California Food and Justice Coalition

Food First (Institute for Food and Development Policy)

Fresno Community Food Bank

Fresno Metro Ministry

Oakland Food Connection

People’s Grocery

The Ecology Center

Articles, Blogs, Films, Reports, Other

Added Value & Herban Solutions

California Institute for Rural Studies Study:
‘Hunger in the Fields – Food Access Issues Among Farmworkers in Fresno County’

The Heritage Radio Network
Internet-based radio station about food featuring leading farmers, food mavericks, filmmakers, artists and tastemakers.

Indigenous Permaculture Program
A fiscal-sponsorship project of The Ecology Center to gain food security and access to healthy and nutritious foods for local communities.

Native Recipe for Health‘ by Gabriel Thompson
Yes! Magazine  (September 13, 2009)
The Tohono O’odham Nation tackles diabetes with a return to desert foods.

Yes Magazine Food Issue (February 13, 2009)
Theme Guide: Food for Everyone


Warm Sound by Zero 7

Author: Radio Project

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