Do you know where your next meal is coming from? Unbelievably, some 50 million Americans don’t.
“A Place at the Table” explores the issue of hunger in America, capturing the daily food struggles of Americans from coast to coast. This informative, well-paced documentary serves as a miniature sociology course unto itself, challenging viewers to examine the myriad social, political, educational and health implications of food insecurity in the wealthiest country in the world.
The film effectively balances emotions with education, daring viewers not to be heartbroken by the little girl who matter-of-factly talks about how much her stomach hurts when her family runs out of food. Or the mother of two who was able to provide more food for her family when they were on food stamps than when she finally landed a minimum wage job. These moments transform the very concept of hunger — traditionally associated with unemployment and welfare, hunger insecurity affects people who work one, two and three jobs trying to make ends meet so their children can eat.
The government receives a scathing review in the film, and rightfully so. The U.S. Department of Agriculture pours millions of dollars into commodity crops like soy and corn, which are then turned into fatty processed foods, while putting exactly $0 into fruits, vegetables and whole-grain crops. Simultaneously, it provides almost nothing in the way of school lunch subsidies, forcing schools to serve starchy, unhealthy lunches — which for many kids may be their only solid meal of the day.
The narrative woven in “A Place at the Table” is both shocking and sobering, yet reflects the daily lives of many Americans. Some 40,000 soup kitchens and food banks work to alleviate hunger, but until our elected officials take their heads out of the sand and speak up about this critical issue, we will live in a country where people starve because they have no other choice. Last time I checked, that wasn’t quite the American dream.
“A Place at the Table” is available on Amazon Instant Video.
Watch the trailer below.