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Today’s news addresses important issues surrounding food insecurity and the return of land management to Indigenous people.
Food Insecurity Is More Common Than You Think—and Worse Now Than Before the Pandemic
- While many tend to think of the US as a rich country, that doesn’t extend to everyone. In 2019, more than 35 million people experienced food insecurity. This means being unable to reliably have access to or being able to afford nutritious food.
- Food insecurity can affect people for different reasons, but homes with children, particularly single parents, are at higher risk.
- Food costs have been going up in recent years, partly due to the fact that the market has become less diverse and profits are now spread between fewer and fewer agricultural businesses.
- Since the pandemic, food insecurity has only increased, with food banks and other assistance programs overwhelmed with demand.
- A more equitable food system would redistribute the burden of food supply to local communities, prioritizing locally grown and sustainably sourced food. Not only would this increase competition in the market, keeping prices affordable, but it would energize small businesses and lead to better quality food and nutrition programs.
- The pandemic revealed supply chain weaknesses that could, in part, be solved by a more locally-sourced food system.
- Read more from The Conversation.
Indigenous People Have Reclaimed Management of the National Bison Range
- The National Bison Range refers to nearly 19,000 acres in Montana that originally belonged to the Salish and Kootenai Tribes. In 1908 it was put under federal management by President Theodore Roosevelt—without consultation or communication with the tribe. They were barred from their own lands, including working there as part of the federal management program.
- For decades, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have been trying to regain management of these lands, and even won a lawsuit in 1971. The lands had been stolen, it agreed, but still, they were not returned.
- Ongoing systemic racism and prejudice against the tribes sabotaged efforts at co-management with U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
- In December 2020, a bipartisan bill that would return the lands back to Indigenous management was about to die once again, but at the last minute, it was attached to the critical COVID-relief package, which did pass, allowing the lands to be returned after 113 years of efforts to reclaim it.
- Read the full article in High Country News.