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Food insecurity continues to be issue here, elsewhere

Food insecurity has been an ongoing issue in Michigan, the United States and the world, but the situation has become even more serious during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michigan’s statewide food insecurity rates will increase from 13.6% to 21% this year, Feeding America predicts, according to an article published on page 9A in today’s edition of The Mining Journal.

Due to this, Taste the Local Difference, Michigan’s local food media and marketing agency, believes efforts to combat food insecurity are more important than ever this year due to the pandemic, and here at the Journal, we agree.

Many local food pantries have risen to the challenge in the Marquette County area amid the pandemic, helping to ensure our friends, neighbors and fellow area residents are supplied with nutritious things to eat.

But in addition to food pantries, Taste the Local Difference is spreading the word that “farmers markets are an important part of alleviating hunger, and various food programs can help.”

For example, shoppers who use Bridge Cards to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables can stretch their dollars further, as the Double Up Food Bucks program matches their purchases dollar for dollar, allowing people to purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables.

The funds spent by shoppers go directly to vendors, Downtown Marquette Farmers Market Manager Sara Johnson said, which means the community is supporting the vendors with their missions and livelihoods.

Johnson stressed in today’s article that eating fresh fruits and vegetables is key, as food can begin to lose its nutrients after its harvested.

“It’s vitally important, especially when we’re in the middle of a health crisis,” Johnson told the Journal.

Going to a farmer’s market is a win-win, as proper nutrition and food security are particularly critical amid the pandemic, as is supporting local farmers who provide these fresh fruits and vegetables.

We commend all who have been involved in local and state efforts to combat food insecurity and encourage our readers to donate or volunteer with a food pantry or similar organization if they are able.

We also encourage readers to reach out to a local food pantry or the State Nutritional Assistance Program if they are facing food insecurity.

Anyone in need of food assistance may apply for SNAP/EBT by calling the Food and Other Resources Helpline at 888-544-8773 or visiting https://newmibridges.michigan.gov/

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