| FOOD.Corps -
The challenge? To ensure these jobs are attractive and of lasting value, not temporary, and to create them in industries that produce quality and needed products .. goods and services that can be sustained over time.
They should represent as broad a spectrum of employment categories as possible, so as to take maximum advantage of available American materials, talent and productivity.
As of this writing the National unemployment statistics indicate that over 10% of Americans are unemployed, millions of others are UNDERemployed, and uncounted tens of thousands are homeless (43,000
in Los Angeles alone according to the
LA Homeless Services Authority) or are otherwise "off the grid" to the extent that they can not be included in the auditing.
The Federal Government has set aside trillions of dollars of taxpayer money to shore up the American economy, and began the stimulus package with insuring the survival of Wall Street and the banking institutions. The Obama administration has hundreds of billions not yet spent in the stimulus package should be allocated toward this purpose. The President has called for ideas ..
At LACP we have a proposal that addresses all these concerns. We call it the FOOD.Corps.
We hasten to say that food production is the most basic yet by no means the sole product of our proposal, as in more developed steps it will also include other opportunities for American growth, notably in the area of significant and sustainable increased fuel production and for infrastructure improvements across the country.
FOOD.Corps is a comparatively low tech solution that takes advantage of U.S. resources we already have, and provides immediate opportunities for a very broad spectrum of employment types, raging from labor, transportation, manufacturing, processing, sales and management or executive positions.
We Americans pride ourselves on our freedoms, liberty and strength, and on being leaders in the free world. We might be described as generous to a fault, contributing billions of dollars worth of aid to less fortunate people across the globe, yet we now find our domestic economic situation has presented us with multiple problems we have to solve here at home.
According to the USDA, more than one in seven American households struggled to put enough food on the table in 2008, the highest rate since the Agriculture Department began tracking food security levels in 1995.
The report, posted on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website, blamed the current recession for the increasing number of people who are having difficulty meeting their dietary needs.
“The recent economic downturn has brought a sharp increase in the number of Americans who report having difficulty meeting their food needs,” said the report.
"The number of food-insecure U.S. households rose from 13.0 million (11.1 percent of all households) in 2007 to 17.1 million (14.6 percent) in 2008."
But 14.6 percent of U.S. "households" translated to about 49 million people, and things are even worse for households that include children.
The USDA continues, ".. the increase was proportionally larger for households with children. Among these households, the prevalence of food insecurity rose from 15.8 percent in 2007 to 21.0 percent in 2008.”
“My administration is committed to reversing the trend of rising hunger,” he said.
That's one in five families. Obviously there's a need for high quality nutritious and less expensive food products.
High food prices might be partially to blame, but the biggest culprit is clearly unemployment, which stands at a whopping 10.2% and is expected to keep climbing into 2010.
"The best thing we can say about the labor market is that it may be getting worse more slowly," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week. His less-than-stellar assessment of the recovery implies that inflation should remain low, but that won't put food on the table in jobless households.
It isn't just demand for government food assistance that's on the rise; charitable food banks and soup kitchens across the country are also seeing a big jump in traffic. According to the USDA survey, 4.8 million households -- which included 4.5 million children -- got emergency food from such services at least once in 2008, a 22% increase from the previous year.
That's putting a serious financial strain on the food networks.
In a prepared statement released by the White House, President Obama said his administration would work to create jobs and will work with Congress on a child nutrition bill.
America has been called the world's bread basket, and has an agricultural and production capacity far beyond that which we now use. In fact, our government pays some farmers to NOT grow certain crops (at least at certain times) in the hope that such practices can keep food pricing artificially high.
But this represents backward and old thinking, as America's capacity to feed all its own citizens as well as much of the world's hungry (as we feed ourselves, we'll also produce foods for export overseas) is unchallenged.
FOOD.Corps takes advantage of America's existing resources, capacity, and infrastructure .. and our amazingly diverse talent pool. .