Community Voices: Barriers to Feeding Your Family

Thoughts from Our May 2021 Meeting


The Community Voices in Food Movement project brings together representatives of food system organizations and a Community Advisory Board of neighborhood residents.


At our Community Voices meetings, we use check-ins as a way to share the highs and lows of our everyday food-related experiences and get a sense of where each participant is coming from that day. Through sharing short stories like this, we start bigger conversations about what we want our food system to look like and how we can make it so.


We asked the attendees at the May meeting,

“Did you have any barriers feeding your family (including just you yourself) this week, and if so, what?”

Here are some of the themes and answers that came up. Can you relate?


Brain Power

"It comes down to brain power. When you get to the end of a busy day, it takes so much brain power. And that’s what makes it tough to not turn to that bag of chips. My family does struggle with financial issues, but I am in a unique position of having access to food through my work. When it comes to the families I work with, I do think about having something reliable, familiar they can count on being there every week.”


Financial Challenges

“The main foods I give my grandkids are raspberries, grapes, those kinds of healthy foods. I have 13 grandkids. I try to keep it easy because they are busy. I am experiencing financial challenges, but I am fortunate to have resources in the community that I can call on.”


Transportation

“I have seven kids (three kids and one grandkid at home), and we don’t have a grocery store within walking distance. My husband has the car to go to work, and so we either have to order from grocery delivery or DoorDash. I have a health condition that means I have to eat healthy food, and that’s been a struggle for us.”


Cooking Knowledge

“My husband reheats meals during the week, and if I don’t prep the food over the weekend, the fresh vegetables will go to waste. He doesn’t know how to make it, and that lack of knowledge is an issue.”


Picky Eaters

“Having an 11-year-old child who is really picky, sometimes what she wants to eat isn’t in the fridge, and she defaults to eating noodles, which I don’t want her to eat. Sometimes not having one ingredient to make the dish can stand in the way. Sometimes we just eat out, because she does have a diverse palate. I try to make what she likes to eat out, like sushi or Chipotle, at home.”


Eating Alone

“I’m an emotional eater. Nothing makes me happier than when I’m sad and eating or when I’m happy and eating. During COVID, I’ve been eating alone, and it takes a toll. When it’s a decision between eating at home or going out to eat six feet from a stranger, I’m going to do the latter, even though that sometimes leads to food waste and stuff.”


Nutrition

“No food access problems, but I struggle with making sure I have nutritious food for myself is the biggest challenge for me.”


Mental Health

“Accessing food on my stipend, and mental health is also a challenge.”


Time and Energy

“Finding the time and the energy to eat and finding ways that are healthy. I can afford it, but I might not want to cook it. I really want my daughter to get all the nutrients, and then half of it ends up on the ground.”


Food Prep Takes Time

“A persistent issue ever since I became a mom is food prep. For whatever reason in our society, we always have to be busy.”


Feelings of Failure

“I'm privileged, but still have challenges, because struggling to get a three year old to eat something other than candy feels like a failure as a mom. Frankly, I struggle myself with making healthy choices.”


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Do you have a story to tell, maybe about a struggle with feeding your family or yourself? Or about a creative strategy you found?


Get in touch with us through our Food Systems Analyst, Maddie, at maddie@greenumbrella.org.