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.