A report released this month by the USDA's Economic Research Service shows food insecurity increased significantly in Florida from 2004-2006 to 2007-2009. Food insecurity means the inability, at times, to buy enough food for household members due to lack of funds or resources.
In our state, an average of 14.2 percent of households are food insecure, up from 8.9 percent from 2004 to 2006. In fact, Florida had one of the largest increases along with West Virginia. Only Louisiana saw a significant decline.
Child hunger is also high, with about one in four children in the U.S. at risk in 2009.
Luckily we've seen some local initiatives that can help. Food stamps are increasingly accepted at farmer's markets and chefs like Michelle Bernstein are helping schools to improve lunch programs. And hopefully Congress will get its act together to vote on Michelle Obama's "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act."
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Update: The House passed the bill Thursday afternoon.