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The Painful Truth about Hunger in America: Why We Must Unlearn Everything We Think We Knowand Start Again (Food, Health, and the Environment)

The Painful Truth about Hunger in America: Why We Must Unlearn Everything We Think We Know--and Start Again (Food, Health, and the Environment)

Current price: $32.95
Publication Date: October 1st, 2024
The MIT Press


A radical and urgent new approach to how we can solve the problems of hunger and poverty in the US.

Most people think hunger has to do with food: researchers, policy makers, and advocates focus on promoting government-funded nutrition assistance; well-meaning organizations try to get expired or wasted food to marginalized communities; and, philanthropists donate their money to the cause and congratulate themselves for doing so. But few people ask about the structural issues undergirding hunger, such as, who benefits from keeping people in such a state of precarity? In The Painful Truth about Hunger in America, Mariana Chilton shows that the solution to food insecurity lies far beyond food and must incorporate personal, political, and spiritual approaches if we are serious about fixing the crisis.

Drawing on 25 years of research, programming, and advocacy efforts, Chilton powerfully demonstrates that food insecurity is created and maintained by people in power. Taking the reader back to the original wounds in the United States caused by its history of colonization, genocide, and enslavement, she forces us to reckon with hard questions about why people in the US allow hunger to persist. Drawing upon intimate interviews she conducted with many Black and brown women, the author reveals that the experience of hunger is rooted in trauma and gender-based violence—violence in our relationships with one another, with the natural world, and with ourselves—and that, if we want to fix hunger, we must transform our society through compassion, love, and connection. Especially relevant for young people charting new paths toward abolition, mutual aid, and meaningful livelihoods, The Painful Truth about Hunger in America reinvigorates our commitment to uprooting the causes of poverty and discrimination, and points to a more generative and humane world where everyone can be nourished.

About the Author

Mariana Chilton is Professor of Health Management and Policy at Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. She founded the Center for Hunger-Free Communities, where she launched Witnesses to Hunger, a movement to increase women's participation in the national dialogue on hunger and poverty, and the Building Wealth and Health Network to promote healing and economic security. She has testified on solutions to hunger before the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.