Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Food Security in the Wealthiest County in the USA

Loudoun County, VA -- an hour Northwest of Washington, DC -- where my husband and I have lived for 5 years was once again ranked as the "richest county in the US" by Forbes Magazine. So when Alchemy said our mission was to investigate food security in our own community -- well, I felt like it would be waste of my time. But... maybe not. Look, I know where my passion is -- to be part of the solution for the poorest billion on the planet [and none of them live in Loudoun County -- heck none of them live in the USA!] But I decided maybe there was something to learn by investigating what was going on in my own backyard. And so I did.

Is there Food INsecurity in Loudoun County?

Short answer? Yes. Yes of course. Even in here there are children who go to bed hungry at night. And since the economic downturn, the numbers are -- of course -- growing.

What's concerning us now is that demand is growing at a faster pace than we've ever seen at the food bank," said Martin L. White, chief executive of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network, which distributes food to people in Loudoun and 24 other counties in northwestern and central Virginia.

Officials at the network said they are getting requests for assistance from almost 4,000 people a month in Loudoun, up from about 2,000 in November. For years, the nonprofit organization has served mostly Loudoun residents who are poor enough to qualify for government assistance. But with rising food and fuel costs, network officials say their clientele has expanded in recent months and includes many people whose incomes are higher and who had not sought help before...

"In addition to the increasing demand from wage-earners, the food bank network said it is fielding more requests from elderly people who rely on fixed incomes. For example, the network's Winchester branch, which serves people in seven counties including Loudoun and Fauquier, provided food to nearly 33 percent more elderly people in March than it did in March 2007, officials said.

From a Spring 2009 Newsletter of Loudoun Interfaith Relief:

Here is the reality of today’s economy: In December 2008 Loudoun Interfaith Relief served 4,273 people; in December 2007 it was 2,696—an astonishing 59% increase! In December 2008 LIR provided meals to 1,830 children, up from 1,115 children in December 2007—an unbelievable increase of 64%!

And here is a local newspaper article from February 2010 about a new food pantry opening as the need continues to grow. This county paper doc**ents basic demographic info for Loudoun county in 2006 and finds that 2.9% of the overall population and 2.9% of the children live below the US poverty line. But as any social/economic activist in the US can tell you the poverty line is a joke. [Meaning it is way too low. In reality people who make twice what the poverty line is in Loudoun County might still have a hard time making ends meet.] So in reality it's more like 8% of the county's population that is eligible for food assistance.

Finally, access to some VA demographic databases yielded this info:

A definite trend.

So. Yes. There is a food security problem in Loudoun County.

I know we are supposed to doc**ent an innovative solution in the same piece of evidence -- but this is getting too long. So I will address local solutions in a follow-up post.

Views: 29

Comment by Jane A.W. on March 12, 2010 at 4:29am
And I bet alot of your neighbors don't think there's a food security problem in your area either.
Comment by Sara Wickenberg on March 13, 2010 at 4:27pm
Thanks for sharing your research, Ayala! I am facing the same "problem" doing this mission. Living in Sweden where we have a social welfare system that offers support for unemployed persons or those suffering from long-term sickness, it would be easy to say: poverty and food security isn't a problem here.

But of course it is. One of our biggest problems is distributing/sharing the food supply. Between countries or within the same local area.
Comment by Fleep Tuque on March 13, 2010 at 10:09pm
I had the same reaction when doing research for Cincinnati. I had no idea my township has "food deserts" or that 31 neighborhoods in Cincinnati don't even have a grocery store in them. I guess it's shocking what you can find in your own back yard!
Comment by Jane A.W. on March 14, 2010 at 4:12am
While I know a goal of this wh*** project is to build social innovation and aid for Africa - I think Americans can start by finding out how the 'other half' (or whatever fraction) lives like in their own country. Maybe they won't discount social problems as just the inescapable nature of 'backward countries' and 'backward people' that way.
This made me think of the weirdest thing - I recently watched a movie aimed at kids (Kitt Kittredge: An American Girl). It's inspired by the Doll set, but it is set during the Great Depression and shows people finding poverty in their own neighbors.
Comment by Michele Baron on March 16, 2010 at 4:32am
food insecurity in Fairfax County, too. It is a tough place for many people to live--and the working poor and disadvantaged must compete for the same few jobs as the large ranks of similarly unemployed, underserved poor in DC, Baltimore, etc. small steps, backyards, local efforts are needed here, as elsewhere. And there are so many language challenges here, as well. People able and willing to help other people are certainly to be valued!


You need to be a member of Urgent Evoke to add comments!

Join Urgent Evoke

Latest Activity

Ning Admin is now a member of Urgent Evoke
May 17
N updated their profile
Sep 25, 2020
Sophie C. commented on Asger Jon Vistisen's blog post Stinging Nettle
"I love that you've brought this to attention. An extensive database of uncommon but resistant and hardy plants/foods could be developed and organized by climate. Ease of growth and processing should also be taken in to account. I will try to…"
Aug 19, 2020
Meghan Mulvey posted a blog post

Fourth of July on the Lake

This past weekend was the annual celebration at the lake house in Connecticut. It is amazing that the lake is still so clear and beautiful after all these years. The watershed association has done a wonderful job protecting these waters from the damaging effects of development.The wood grill was finally ready to cook on, so we didn't miss the propane tank fueled grill anymore. The food actually tasted fresher than in the past and was easy to keep fueled.Dad was very proud of the solar hybrid…See More
Jul 6, 2020
Asger Jon Vistisen posted a blog post

Stinging Nettle

In this blog post I will focus on a plant that is abundant in our nature, and which is immensely nutritious. It's of course the Stinging Nettle. Let's start with the chemical constituents of this plant:37 % Non-Nitrogen-Extracts19 - 29 % Ash9 - 21 % Fiber4 % Fat22 % ProteinOnce the leaves are drid, their protein content can reach an astounding 40 %, which is much higher than beef, which even under the best of circ**stances can never exceed 31 % protein. In addition the Stinging Nettle consists…See More
Apr 13, 2020
Jonathon McCallum posted a blog post

The meal

It is 7'oclock, I was late home from work due to an assignment that i wanted to get ahead on. By the time I get home I am feeling extremley tired and I cannot be bothered to make a proper meal. I walk to the fridge and open it to see what there is for me to eat. All of the out of date foodstuffs have been automaticaly thrown away by the fridge, they will be recycled tomorrow as animal feed or something. I see i have organic local eggs and some local cheese. Foods are vacc** sealded for easy…See More
Mar 10, 2020
Jean Paul Galea shared a profile on Facebook
Mar 1, 2020
Kevin posted a blog post


FutureToday is 2020/1/1. It is just like yesterday. The war is still continuing. It has started since 2010. In 2010, that year was a horrible year. Almost every energy ran out. Every country’s governments were crushed down at the same time. There were riots everywhere. All of the big company’s bosses were killed xdeadx in the riots. Troops fought each other everywhere. Food was bought up xawayx at once. There were no more food supplies in any shops. The economy was all crushed down. All the…See More
Jan 1, 2020
Namwaka Mooto posted blog posts
Jan 13, 2016
T D updated their profile
Sep 3, 2015
Brook Warner posted blog posts
Aug 25, 2015
Santiago Vega posted blog posts
May 5, 2015
Santiago Vega commented on Santiago Vega's blog post Act 8
May 5, 2015
Santiago Vega posted photos
May 5, 2015
Rico Angel Rodriguez posted blog posts
May 2, 2015
Rico Angel Rodriguez posted a photo

public servants

The exchange works directly for state and public workers and servants. It gives them credit in exchange for the amount of public work they contribute to the community. The more constructive they are based off a base rate the more credit they recieve.
May 2, 2015

Follow EVOKE on Twitter

Official EVOKE Facebook Page

EVOKE RSS Activity Feed

© 2023   Created by Alchemy.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service