Hunger and food security are issues all over the world – affected by natural forces and human and political choices.  While the face of hunger varies from place to place, common underlying themes make this issue a compelling one to explore and contrast in various settings.

Sustainable food systems are a hot topic these days – from Michael Pollan to Barbara Kingsolver, leading writers have contributed to the conversation that has made terms like organic, locavore and sustanability common parlance in many circles. Branch Out has offered alternative breaks on this issue by partnering with Lynchburg Grows and Dayspring Farm for national and regional trips.


How Food Stamps Keep Families in a Cycle of Poverty,” Desert News, September 2013

The Disappearance of Hunger in America,” Patricia Allen, shared with us by our friends at Lynchburg Grows

Going to Extremes,” Darra Goldstein, shared with us by our friends at Lynchburg Grows

“Vote for the Dinner Party,” Michael Pollan, The New York Times, 10-10-12

Contradictions in the Anti-Hunger Movement,” Andy Fisher,, March 2012

“Hunger, Food Insecurity Cost The Country $167 Billion Every Year: Study,”, October 16, 2011

Out of Stock” – Food Deserts in Richmond Style Weekly, August, 2010

Divided We Eat” Newsweek, November 29, 2010

Food Stamped, a 62 minute online documentary following a couple as they try to eat a healthy, well balanced diet on a food stamp budget

How Change is Going to Come in the Food System, Michael Pollan, The Nation, September 2011

“The Causes Behind Hunger In America,”  Vicki Valentine, NPR, November 2005

Census: 1 in 2 Americans is Poor or Low-Income,”, December 15, 2011

“One Woman Makes a Brave Stand Against Factory Farms,” Kathy Dobie, O the Oprah Magazine, November 2011


Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver, Stephen L. Hopp, Camille Kingsolver.  HarperCollins, 2007.  Several smaller articles inside this book are accessible and eye-opening.

Videos and Films

The Lexicon of Sustainability,” a five minute video explaining what local eating, locavores and other terminology is about.

The Problem with Giving Free Food to Hungry People,”, Planet Money. June 2010. Aid group reponses to a disaster can cause more harm than good in a local economy; this story focuses on Haiti and the problems arising from donated and imported rice.

CBS News Report- Video and Article– on the food crisis affecting Somalians, specifically focusing on a refugee camp in Kenya.
Provided by Jan Rivero, contact at Stop Hunger Now

Hunger In America , Katie Couric 30 minute interview with multiple hunger awareness advocates (including Feeding America rep). Give a solid introduction to a lot of the issues regarding food insecurity and the broader factors involved.

“Food, Inc.,” Directed by Robert Kenner, 2009.

Fresh,” Directed by Ana Sofia Jones, 2009.

The Price of Sugar” In the Dominican Republic, a tropical island-nation, tourists flock to pristine beaches unaware that a few miles away thousands of dispossessed Haitians have toiled under armed-guard on plantations harvesting sugarcane, much of which ends up in U.S. kitchens. They work grueling hours and frequently lack decent housing, clean water, electricity, education or healthcare. Narrated by Paul Newman, “The Price of Sugar” follows Father Christopher Hartley, a charismatic Spanish priest, as he organizes some of this hemisphere’s poorest people to fight for their basic human rights. This film raises key questions about where the products we consume originate and at what human cost they are produced. from

Web Resources

Facts on hunger in America from Feeding America – a trove of information

Sustainable Table, a resource on food systems issues ranging from additives to workers

Nourishing the Planet, a project that assesses the state of agricultural innovations — from cropping methods to irrigation technology to agricultural policy — with an emphasis on sustainability, diversity, and ecosystem health, as well as productivity. The project aims to both inform global efforts to eradicate hunger and raise the profile of these efforts. [from their website]

Webcast of “Reforming the 2012 Farm Bill” from The Forum, Harvard School of Public Health, October 20, 2011

What is Sustainable Agriculture? from the University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program

Sustainable Agriculture on a College Campus, from Sterling College in Vermont

Skills Training

How to Grow & Harvest Sweet Potatoes

Nourishing the Planet, a blog from Worldwatch

Reorientation Resources

Hunger Challenge What Now, a resource created by Elizabeth Miller for participants in the OCE’s Food Stamp Challenge 2012