Category Archives: Food Security

After 7 Years, Anti-War Group That Fed the Hungry Wins Fight With Fort Lauderdale

“We outlived and outmaneuvered the old mayor, city manager, and city attorney, who were all intent on policing us and the homeless out of existence,” said the local chapter of Food Not Bombs.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 1-5-2022 by Common Dreams

“It took seven years, but Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs’ federal civil liberties lawsuit against Fort Lauderdale for banning food sharings is finally concluding,” the group said on January 3, 2022. (Photo: Ft. Lauderdale Food Not Bombs/Facebook)

Anti-hunger and anti-war activists in Florida have reportedly won their protracted legal fight against the city government of Fort Lauderdale, which agreed to compensate the local chapter of Food Not Bombs after spending years trying to prevent the group from sharing free food with people in need at a downtown park.

“It took seven years, but Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs’ federal civil liberties lawsuit against Fort Lauderdale for banning food sharings is finally concluding,” the group said Monday in a statement. “After we won our second appeal in August 2021, the city has accepted a settlement that admits they were wrong to enforce the park rule against us and will pay us a small amount of damages. They will also have to pay our lawyers a great deal more!”

Last August, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th District ruled unanimously that “a rule limiting food-sharing inside Fort Lauderdale parks is unconstitutional as applied to Food Not Bombs’ hosting of free vegan meals for the homeless,” the Courthouse News Service reported at the time.

According to the outlet:

A three-judge panel of the Atlanta-based appeals court overturned a Florida federal court’s summary judgment in favor of the city, finding that a rule which banned the sharing of food as a social service in city parks without written permission violated Food Not Bombs’ First Amendment rights.

Fort Lauderdale Park Rule 2.2 requires city permission for social service food-sharing events in all Fort Lauderdale parks and allows officials to charge as much as $6,000 for the permitting process.

In a 64-page ruling issued Tuesday, the panel determined the rule cannot lawfully qualify as a “valid regulation” of Food Not Bombs’ expressive conduct due to its “utterly standardless permission requirement.”

In its statement, Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs said that the favorable settlement is “on top of the victories this lawsuit already accomplished in years’ prior, including the 2018 appeals ruling that ruled that the original sharing ban law was unconstitutional—[…] creating a strongly worded precedent about sharing food as protected free speech.”

“We had to bite our tongues a lot over the years to see how this would play out, but no more,” the group continued. “We outlived and outmaneuvered the old mayor, city manager, and city attorney, who were all intent on policing us and the homeless out of existence.”

“Let’s not forget multiple FLPD chiefs and captains who sent their goons to stalk and arrest us, all gone now!” the group added. “Nuts to all the narrow-minded fools who wanted to be rid of us.”

Decrying government efforts to crack down on those who feed the poor, Keith McHenry—co-founder of Food Not Bombs, which uses surplus ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away to provide vegetarian meals to people in more than 1,000 cities in 65 countries across the world—told the Institute for Public Accuracy on Wednesday that “sharing free food with the hungry is an unregulated gift of love.”

McHenry—currently in Houston, where another local chapter is risking arrest by refusing to comply with a city ordinance that seeks to move meal distribution from outside the downtown library to a parking lot near the courthouse—noted that in addition to worsening poverty, the coronavirus crisis has made obtaining assistance more difficult, underscoring the importance of Food Not Bombs.

“While most indoor soup kitchens shut down during the pandemic,” he said, “Food Not Bombs continued to share with the unhoused.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

 

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Corporate Donations Poured Into Manchin’s PAC Ahead of Final ‘No’ on Build Back Better

“This is the way things work when democracy has been weakened,” argued one progressive organization. “The powerful get special access to our government, while we’re told, ‘Sorry, we can’t help you.'”

By Jake Johnson.  Published 12-22-2021 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: ABC News

New federal disclosures reveal that major corporations poured donations into West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s political action committee in the weeks leading up to his pivotal announcement Sunday that he would oppose the Build Back Better Act, a stance that progressives argue is motivated by the senator’s deference to special interests.

CNBC reported late Tuesday that Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings show that donors to Manchin’s Country Roads PAC raked in 17 contributions from corporations in October and 19 in November as he pared back and repeatedly threatened to tank Democrats’ $1.75 trillion social spending and climate legislation. Continue reading

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“Four Meals from Anarchy”: Rising Food Prices Could Spark Famine, War, and Revolution in 2022

The political consequences of hunger are profound and unpredictable but could be the spark that lights a powder keg of anger and resentment that would make the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests look tame by comparison.

By Alan Macleod.  Published 12-17-2021 by MintPress News


Soldiers from the 1177th Transportation Company support warehouse and distribution operations at the Atlanta Community Food Bank as a part of the Georgia National Guard COVID-19 response force, April 2020. Photo: Georgia National Guard/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Already dealing with the economic fallout from a protracted pandemic, the rapidly rising prices of food and other key commodities have many fearing that unprecedented political and social instability could be just around the corner next year.

With the clock ticking on student loan and rent debts, the price of a standard cart of food has jumped 6.4% in the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the cost of eating out in a restaurant similarly spiking, by 5.8% since November 2020. Continue reading

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Shell Slammed for Plan to Blast South African Coastline for Oil and Gas During Whale Season

“We cannot allow climate criminals, like Shell, to plunder in the name of greed,” said Greenpeace.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 11-29-2021 by Common Dreams

Photo: Greenpeace Africa/Twitter

Environmentalists responded with outrage to reports that oil giant Shell plans to spend the next several months conducting underwater explosions to search for deep-sea oil and gas reserves off South Africa’s coastline—a move that threatens to worsen the fossil fuel-driven climate crisis, undermine the livelihoods of fishers, and harm marine life.

“The extraction [of oil and gas] would bring devastation to the at-risk marine life, to local fishers whose livelihoods depend on the natural ecosystems and fish stocks, and [to] the communities on the coast of the Eastern Cape,” Project 90 by 2030, a South African social and environmental justice organization, told Metro.co.uk. Continue reading

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Warnings of ‘More Death and Suffering’ in Yemen as US Moves to Sell Saudis Missiles

The Biden administration called the proposed sale of $650 million in air-to-air missiles “fully consistent” with its efforts to end the war that’s killed, wounded, displaced, and starved millions of Yemenis.

By Brett Wilkins.  Oublished 11-4-2021 by Common Dreams

A United States Air Force F-16 fighter jet test-fires a Raytheon AIM-120 air-to-air missile over the Gulf of Mexico near Eglin Air Force Base in Okaloosa County, Florida. (Photo: Capt. Justin Marsh/USAF)

Anti-war activists on Thursday accused the Biden administration of throwing fuel on the flames of the Saudi-led war in Yemen after the U.S. State Department notified Congress it approved a new $650 million missile sale to the repressive Middle Eastern monarchy.

Defense News reports the Pentagon said the Saudi government requested to purchase 280 AIM-120C-7/C-8 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles and 596 LAU-128 missile rail launchers in a deal that would also include spare parts, support, and logistical services. The missiles would be fitted to Saudi warplanes including Eurofighter Typhoons and McDonnell-Douglas F-15s. Continue reading

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‘Policy of Death’: Amazon Guardians Sue Ecuador’s President Over Oil, Mining Decrees

“We are fighting to defend our territory, our rivers, our forest, our fish, and our animals,” one Indigenous leader explained. “Without our forest and without water, we cannot live.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-18-2021

Indigenous Amazon protectors on October 18, 2021 filed the first in a series of lawsuits challenging a pair of decrees by Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso in service of expanding the fossil fuel and mining industries. (Photo: Amazon Frontlines/Twitter)

In a bid to halt what one Indigenous leader called a “policy of death,” communities from Ecuador’s Amazon region on Monday sued the country’s right-wing president, who is planning a major expansion of fossil fuel extraction and mining that threatens millions of acres of pristine rainforest and the survival of native peoples.

In the first of a series of lawsuits against President Guillermo Lasso, Indigenous nations, groups, and advocates allege that Executive Decree 95—which aims to double the country’s oil production to one million barrels per day by deregulating the fossil fuel industry—violates their internationally recognized right to free, prior, and informed consultation and consent. Continue reading

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Climate Emergency May Displace 216 Million Within Countries by 2050: World Bank

“The Groundswell report is a stark reminder of the human toll of climate change, particularly on the world’s poorest—those who are contributing the least to its causes.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-13-2021

Floods in Himachal Pradesh, India, July 2021, Photo: NDRF/FloodList

Underscoring the necessity of immediate and sweeping action to take on the climate emergency, a World Bank report revealed Monday that 216 million people across six global regions could be forced to move within their countries by midcentury.

Groundswell Part 2: Acting on Internal Climate Migration includes analyses for East Asia and the Pacific, North Africa, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, building on a modeling approach from a 2018 report that covered Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. Continue reading

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To Avoid ‘Spoiling’ Hungry Children, Wisconsin School District Opts Out of Free Meal Program

“No matter their family income, it’s unacceptable for any student to go hungry at school,” said the Wisconsin Democratic Party.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 8-27-2021

Image: Forest Ridge School District 142/Facebook

Hundreds of families and educators in Waukesha, Wisconsin are calling on the city’s school board to reverse a decision it made earlier this year to opt out of a federal meal program that was introduced at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, offering free food to students regardless of income.

As the Washington Post reported Friday, Waukesha is the only school district in the state to reject funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Seamless Summer Option program, which was praised by economists and beneficiaries alike for destigmatizing the need for public assistance and eliminating red tape. Continue reading

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With or without the Taliban, COVID and climate will inspire terrorism

Young jihadis across continents are turning to violence – and that will continue whatever the new old rulers of Afghanistan choose to do

By Paul Rogers   Published 8-18-2021 by openDemocracy

Screenshot: The Independent

Seventy-two hours after entering Kabul, the Taliban are effectively in control of all of Afghanistan. The chaotic and heart-breaking scenes at the airport stem in large part from appalling intelligence failures by the US, the British and their NATO allies, and it is difficult to see how their governments can make amends apart from providing emergency humanitarian assistance.

In the UK, there are also direct questions to be asked of Boris Johnson’s government. By last Thursday it was already clear that the Taliban were making substantial gains, but the foreign secretary stayed on holiday and Johnson took off for his own break on Saturday. In the wider international community, the UK’s standing is near rock bottom, and one suspects Johnson is not far off being a laughing stock. Continue reading

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Biden’s Permanent SNAP Boost ‘Will Transform Lives,’ Say Anti-Poverty Advocates

The USDA’s record 27% increase in food stamp benefits “is a large advance for poverty reduction, nutrition, and opportunity for children,” said one economist.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-16-2021

Progressives on Monday commended the Biden administration for approving the largest permanent expansion of food benefits in the history of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which anti-poverty advocates say will help improve health and educational outcomes for millions of low-income households in need of financial support.

Although the cost of a healthy diet has grown over time, the United States Department of Agriculture had not increased the value of the Thrifty Food Plan—its model for estimating how families could meet nutritional guidelines as inexpensively as possible, which is used to calculate SNAP benefits—since it was first established in 1975 based on 1962 prices, with the exception of adjustments for inflation. Continue reading

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