Toensing, McMillan: Hunger no longer affects ‘marginal’ populations


Photo by Rachel LeGoubin, Chautaqua Daily staff photographer

The Chautauquan Daily  • July 2, 2014

In 1968, CBS Reports showed a documentary called “Hunger in America.” The film illustrated the face of late ’60s poverty: uneducated, unemployed men and women raising skinny-legged kids in run-down shacks. Senior citizens and children were the worst affected. One in 20 Americans at the time struggled with hunger, a figure just above the unemployment rate.

That picture has changed.

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Cheat sheet: Myths about hunger in America

The Chautauquan Daily • July 1, 2014

When we talk about food in America, it’s often to celebrate our abundant agriculture or explore a cuisine. When we talk about hunger, we often turn our eyes abroad to developing nations. But there is a quiet, persistent problem with hunger here at home — and last fallNational Geographic sent me to explore it.

For the magazine’s “Feeding a Hungry Planet” series, I visited three parts of the United States — rural Iowa, suburban Houston and New York City’s Bronx borough. Building on the field work of photographers Amy Toensing, Kitra Cahana and Stephanie Sinclair, I met with food bank directors and elementary school principals; shared meals with families who forage for vegetables in the woods and families who subsist on food bank mac and cheese; and talked to experts from around the country.

Once on the road, some of the most basic ideas I had heard about Americans and food were turned on their head.

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Morning lecture to address American food insecurity, hunger

The Chautauquan Daily • July 1, 2014

Hunger in the United States looks different than anywhere else in the world, according to National Geographicphotographer Amy Toensing.

“Most of the time, you wouldn’t even know your neighbors were struggling,” she said. “How could you? Some of these people are overweight, and most are employed. They just can’t make ends meet.”

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