We’re used to the kind of online quiz that informs us what our Vampire name is (Mysterie Ravenna!), or whether we are overly needy in a relationship (maybe a little!), or which Gossip Girl character we are (Blair! Thank god!).
But we like to switch things up a little, and we recommend that you take the Chicago Food Bank’s Hunger Action Month quiz for a sobering look at food-related poverty right here in town. We only got 3/5 correct, and that was entirely thanks to random guessing.
We’re embarrassed to admit that it’s only recently that we’ve been realizing that any conversation about being a responsible eater — which usually centers around ideas of local, sustainable, humane — should also include the notion of accessibility. Thankfully for our newly-awakened conscience, September is Hunger Awareness Month, and there’s a lot going on.
Forgive us our little tangent into polemic, but: Domestic hunger relief doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves — it’s easy for us to exoticize hunger and starvation when we think it only exists in famine-stricken third world countries, and so we’re less inclined to realize that there are people near us — literally, in most cases, within one block of us — whose fundamental nutritional needs aren’t being met.
A recreational love of food — fancy dinners out, arguing over the best gyro, even this very blog — is an exercise in luxury; we owe it to ourselves and our communities to ensure that our edible hobby doesn’t exist at the expense of others’ basic needs.
Update: It’s also National Food Desert Awareness Month. A food desert is “a geographic area with no, or distant, grocery stores often served by plenty of fast food restaurants,” and over half a million Chicagoans live in one. Read all about it at CHuffPo.