By Daniel Meyer
Read enough articles about the inequities of the American food system and you are likely to come across something like this: “Lacking sufficient access to real, healthy foods, low- and middle-income Americans rely on inexpensive fast food to feed their families.” (My paraphrase.) It’s a common conjecture that’s neither entirely true nor entirely false, but a survey released yesterday by the anti-childhood hunger organization Share Our Strength gives us reason to believe that low- and middle-income Americans are cooking more than many of us thought.
The survey, commissioned by Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters program, and conducted by APCO Insight, is called “It’s Dinnertime: A Report on Low-Income Families’ Efforts to Plan, Shop for and Cook Healthy Meals.” It polled 1,500 low- and middle-income families from across the United States (low-income was defined as less than 185 percent of the poverty line, or less than $42,000 combined income a year based on family size, and middle-income was defined as between 185 and 250 percent of the poverty line, less than $60,000). Thirty-one percent of the respondent families received SNAP benefits, and a high rate of food insecurity was reported among those surveyed.
The survey clearly wasn’t focused on the poorest Americans, and families at or below the poverty line are likely to follow different patterns, but that doesn’t make the results less encouraging:
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