Our response to the London Assembly’s recent report on food poverty; “A Zero Hunger City”.
Kids Company’s Plate Pledge campaign has been raising awareness of the reality of hungry children in the UK, and this helped push The London Assembly to investigate the issue of food poverty in London. You can read the report here.
A ‘Zero Hunger City’: Our response
This report has discovered things that were in front of our eyes all along but have been ignored.
Who in London and our country is responsible for making sure that this report is followed up and the suggestions are introduced? We agree this should be the responsibility of the London Food Board. We agree that each borough needs a food poverty action plan. It’s time to stop looking the other way.
We need to promote fruit and vegetables instead of junk food. In the long term it’s better not only for the planet but for growing kids. We need to make people aware of simple things, like that nutritious food promotes growth and a healthy brain and increases attention span in young kids so they can be calmer in the classroom. Because going hungry is one thing, but it’s the start of a massive spiral.
A lot of people are working so many hours to earn just pennies to support their families, that they don’t have time to cook healthy meals. The healthy options are also a lot more expensive, so already deprived children don’t grow properly and end up being more disadvantaged in the long term. Having time to cook a wholesome meal might sound small but the change could be massive. Poor areas have the most fast food shops. We have noticed kids and young people in chicken shops where you can get a meal for two pounds that fills you for an hour – what does that say?
Schools are already saying that they do not get paid enough for what they’re already doing, so what can the Mayor do? We agree that the Mayor needs to think about what can and should be put in place so the schools can cope better and help the kids they are in charge of, especially in the holidays.
We agree that everyone should come together to do something, people in general have a responsibility to help their neighbour. That is made harder in areas like Brixton and the south where we have grown up, because too many problems can create selfishness. But that selfishness is everywhere – there are many resources that are being wasted, such as some school kitchens barely in use, and the masses of food binned on a daily basis that could be donated.
What’s stopping the government from following in the footsteps of Fareshare, that collect good food that doesn’t suit some people’s tastes and distribute it to people who need it. They could support supermarkets to make this easier. Supermarkets should be banned from destroying or binning good food. We know of a mother at Kids Company who told us she used to jump the back gate of a supermarket at 3am when she knew old stock would be thrown out so she could feed her children.
Taking money away from poor families to reduce the country’s debt has been more important than hungry kids. But then, what would the politicians who went to private schools know about hunger! They are supposedly working for us, but what do they know about what’s going on? With the way things are going it could be any one of us ending up hungry.
We agree that charities are best for the role of reaching groups that are difficult to get to, because they have a lot of staff that have come from the same backgrounds. People in food poverty are dealing with everything else that goes with coming from a deprived background, so who better to support them than people that understand. Kids Company is already working with vulnerable people on issues like food poverty.
A ‘zero hunger city’ sounds like something from the Olympics. We need this report to be taken seriously!
Courtesy of Urban Wisdom