Big Hunger Success Stories

Since April, I have been traveling across the continent promoting the release of my book, and also seeking to spark a dialogue about how we should direct our efforts as a society toward ending hunger.  I have been in Toronto, Boston, Seattle, Mt. Vernon, WA, Minneapolis, New York City, and Portland, OR.  

I met so many incredible people aligned with this cause, like Smita Narula, who participated as a respondent at a talk at the bookstore collective Bluestockings in NYC. Her powerful insights and passion for protecting food as a human right are influenced by her years fighting against human rights abuses in India. Or Fartun Weli, who works at Isuroon, who has shunned the corporate food pantry model to create a program that better meets the needs of the Somali community in Minneapolis (Profits from book sales from the Minneapolis talk are directed to support Isuroon).

I am also grateful for fellow anti-hunger authors and directors of innovative programs who may not agree with everything in the book—or maybe most of it- but still participated in the events, because they value a dialogue. Jan Poppendieck, author of Sweet Charity, and Greg Silverman, of the Westside Campaign Against Hunger in NYC, stand out. The dialogue is what is necessary to create the change.

And I am humbled by the support that friends and colleagues have provided in hosting events (and me), including Ellen Parker of Project Bread, Alison Cohen of WhyHunger, Wayne Roberts, and Nick Saul of Community Food Centres of Canada. Each of them is helping me in significant ways, joining in for interviews, hosting community events, and co-promoting the book. Thank you also to Marion Nestle for listing my book as her "weekend reading", and to Civil Eats, Mark Winne, Robert Egger and others for reviewing the book. Sirius XM Radio and Food Sleuth Radio among others for the opportunity to interview and have in-depth conversations about the book. 

Reflections From the Book Tour

It seems like every time someone introduces me, they refer to Big Hunger as a “brave” or “courageous book.” I don’t see myself as brave or courageous, just willing to tell a story that has been simmering under the surface for many years. 

Some people have attended my book talks at the risk of losing their job. One staffer from a national anti-hunger organization came to see my talk in NYC and explicitly asked me not to tell their boss that they had attended the event.I am encouraged that Big Hunger is providing a public voice to those who have dissented from their organization’s practices.

The response that keeps coming back to me is that the publication of Big Hunger ruffled some feathers. I was aware of the controversial nature of the book when I set out to write it. And that's why I am somewhat surprised by the number of people who work at food rescue or food banking organizations have responded very favorably to Big Hunger

One Denver-based food waste warrior said she felt compelled to email me after only 100 pages into the book because she had to share her experience:

"After working for alternative food organizations for several years and working on a food waste and redistribution study last year, this is the book I would have written.”

I am excited that the book is resonating incredibly well with so many folks across the country.

Finally, while on the tour I learned that Feeding America, the most powerful anti-hunger group and the trade association for the nation’s 200 food banks, is working on its strategic plan. Insiders tell me they are considering whether it should advocate for a higher minimum wage.  This is important because a stagnant minimum wage has been the main reason why food insecurity has not declined in the past 20 years. This change would be a monumental break from Feeding America’s past staying away from controversial policies that address the root causes of hunger. If food banks followed suit, it could provide new and powerful momentum to the cause for a living wage.