Archive for category Context
We can usually only see the present – so we can see a statistic such as unemployment or we can see a graph that is just a line. But when we can see the spread of something on a map in color, we can feel the change. So here is a map of America showing the growth of unemployment since 2007 – it struck me to the heart. And it shows the power of the trend. And so does it not show us what we have to do – we have to be part of the reinvention of our communities.
This is going to be a huge issue
KERA on point for what is really going on – has this on the state of hunger in the State:
A report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture released this week shows that Texas is the second worst in the nation when it comes to hunger, with some 16.3 percent of the households surveyed reporting low or very low food security for the period between 2006 and 2008.
Families facing very low food security in Texas reached 5.7 percent.
Overall, the percentage of families facing hunger reached 12.2 percent.
Mississippi reported the highest percentage of families facing hunger at 17.4 percent.
This year, agencies working with the North Texas Food Bank reported demand from families seeking help for the first time rose 36 percent, and distribution has grown by 46 percent.
Sharply rising unemployment and lengthy administrative delays processing food stamps have exacerbated the situation for many families.
Read the entire report from the Department of Agriculture and learn more about how community organizations are helping struggling families in North Texas on the Community Voices page of KERA’s Economy Web site.
Representatives from several organizations, including 2-1-1 Texas and the North Texas Food Bank and Tarrant Area Food Bank, can help families locate food pantries in their area and help them apply for food stamps.
Several stations are now following the local urban farming movements in their communities. Urban Farming is emerging as a response to blighted neighborhoods, unemployment, poverty and hunger.
How bad is the issue of Food Insecurity and real hunger in America? Will this grow as an issue? Will this become part of our work to help our communities look after themselves? Here is data that suggest that the issue is large and growing: From Economic Pic
The US Department of Agriculture highlights how the United States in the last decade, despite increased aggregate wealth, slid back significantly in terms of food insecurity as measure of poverty. With everyone now focused on the unemployment situation, it bears noting that even before the downturn in the economy there had been a large surge in food insecurity nationwide.
What is food insecurity?
Food insecurity – defined by the USDA as when “food intake … was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food” – afflicted 14.6% of Americans in 2008. i.e., some 50 million people were too poor to guarantee being able to put food on the table.
Only three of the worst 17 states in terms of food insecurity showed an improvement over the past decade and my guess is things have gotten a whole lot worse.
|VIDEO: Nearly half of all US children will be in a household that uses food stamps at some point during their childhood, according to Mark Rank, Ph.D., poverty expert at the…|
Holidays and tables full of delicious food usually go hand in hand, but for nearly half of the children in the United States, this is not guaranteed.
“49 percent of all U.S. children will be in a household that uses food stamps at some point during their childhood,” says Mark R. Rank, Ph.D., poverty expert at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. “Food stamp use is a clear sign of poverty and food insecurity, two of the most detrimental economic conditions affecting a child’s health.”
According to Rank, the substantial risk of a child being in a family that uses food stamps is consistent with a wider body of research demonstrating that U.S. children face considerable economic risk throughout their childhood years. “Rather than being a time of security and safety, the childhood years for many American children are a time of economic turmoil, risk, and hardship,” Rank says.
Rank’s study, “Estimating the Risk of Food Stamp Use and Impoverishment During Childhood,” is published in the current issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Other study findings include:
- 90 percent of black children will be in a household that uses food stamps. This compares to 37 percent of white children.
- Nearly one-quarter of all American children will be in households that use food stamps for five or more years during childhood.
- 91 percent of children with single parents will be in a household receiving food stamps, compared to 37 percent of children in married households.
- Looking at race, marital status and education simultaneously, children who are black and whose head of household is not married with less than 12 years of education have a cumulative percentage of residing in a food stamp household of 97 percent by age 10.
“Understanding the degree to which American children are exposed to the risks of poverty and food insecurity across childhood is essential information for the health care and social service communities,” Rank says. “Even limited exposure to poverty can have detrimental effects upon a child’s overall quality of health and well-being.”###
The study, co-authored with Thomas Hirschl, professor at Cornell University, is based on an analysis of 30 years of information taken from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), and looks at children between the ages of 1 and 20. The PSID is a longitudinal survey of a representative sample of U.S. individuals and their families interviewed annually since 1968.
As the Food Banks reach out for funds for food – others start to grow it – I think we will look back at this time and see that it birthed a whole new approach to food – local community grown food. A revolution as great as agriculture itself.
by Jennifer Guerra
Joanne Palek and her brother, Richard, have lived on West Court Street in Flint for 10 years. A few years ago, the abandoned house next door burned down. So they bought the empty lot from the Genesee County Land Bank for exactly $1.00, and then they started to plant.
“We had carrots, we had green beans, we put in broccoli this year, but it didn’t do anything,” explains Palek.
There’s yet another abandoned house on the other side of Palek. As soon as the city pays to tear the house down, Palek says she’ll likely buy that lot too.
“And I know that it’s gonna cost me in tax money and I’m not that flush,” says Palek. “But I would make sure the taxes were paid and Flint got the money for it, whereas right now they’re not getting anything.”
She’s right. Vacant land doesn’t bring in any money for the city. In fact, an Emory University study shows that failure to collect even two percent of property taxes from abandoned houses translates into $3 billion in lost revenue for a city.
It’s the Land Bank’s role to find new uses for all that foreclosed property.
Christina Kelly works at the Land Bank. She says they’ve sold more than 400 empty lots to residents like Palek, though the lots are more this year. They cost $25 instead of $1. But she says it’s still a good deal, not only for the person who buys the lot, but for the neighborhood.
“It actually is very transformative in a neighborhood when you have lots that are gardened and cared for by the community, you can really see visual changes in the surrounding properties,” says Kelly.
The Land Bank has teamed up with a bunch of other groups to form an umbrella organization called Edible Flint. It’s basically a one-stop shop for all your urban gardening needs. The Land Bank provides the land, some materials and support.
“Michigan State Extension provides training and seeds and plants as they are available,” says Kelly. “The Ruth Mott Foundation provides training and technical assistance, and Salem Housing has a tool bank. Any one of those is not as valuable as all of them together.”
And it’s not just for people who want to buy property. Groups can adopt lots for free and get help from Edible Flint. Edible Flint will supply seeds, plants, tools, even a master gardener, anything to get people to care for the vacant lots in their community and help cut down on the city’s huge blight problem.
Bobby Jackson runs the Mission of Hope Day Shelter in Flint. He adopted two vacant lots and planted all kinds of veggies.
Jackson points out all the vegetables in his garden: kale, collard greens, broccoli, cabbage, basil, cilantro.
Anyone in the neighborhood is allowed to come and pick vegetables. Several churches brought their entire congregations to eat from the garden. But Jackson says it’s not just about food.
“The neighbors commended us for making the whole area look better because it was just overgrown and nothing there. And now they had opportunity to have a place to come and share in the work because people that didn’t know their neighbor four houses down met in the garden.”
And he says, since the garden went in, there’s been hardly any vandalism in the neighborhood.
Now, it’s important to note that not every vacant lot can grow vegetables. And while Edible Flint tests the soil, the still a chance of lead and PCBs and asbestos, since Flint was a big manufacturing town back in its hey day.
Still, Joan Nassauer, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Michigan, says rust belt cities like Flint and Detroit can still turn all those vacant lots into natural assets, even if it’s just a pleasant open green space that gets mowed on a regular basis.
“In a kind of ironic way,” says Nassauer, “these cities that are facing abandoned property, they have the opportunity right now to pause and do it better.”
So, there may not be a lot of hope for all the abandoned and dilapidated houses in Flint that have fallen into foreclosure, but the land still has room to grow.
I am picking up a pattern – do you see what I see? The issue is food. With millions unemployed or under employed, feeding the family is becoming a real worry. Food Banks are getting pressed. The old donate cans of beans or getting old food from retailers is not keeping up. My bet is that this crisis will morph into a new opportunity – for people to grow food in the cities for themselves and for their community.
What are you seeing?
Officials say the face of hunger in North Texas is changing, thanks to historically high unemployment and the nation’s deepest post-WWII recession.
As a result, thousands of North Texans are finding themselves seeking food assistance for the first time, thanks to unemployment, a reduction in pay or work hours and lengthy delays in the state’s food stamp program.
For the North Texas Food Bank’s partner agencies, the number of first-time clients has risen 36 percent.
Among those first-time clients is Plano resident and former healthcare administrator Ray, who shared this story. Ray and his wife volunteer at the food pantry as he continues to look for work.
“When I was laid-off from a well-paid position and my financial obligations began piling up, my wife and I ultimately had to choose between eating and paying the bills. It was then that I shook off my pride and sought assistance from Minnie’s West Plano Food Pantry.”
Overall, food distribution for the North Texas Food Bank is up 46 percent over the same time last year.
Unfortunately, the fast-rising demand has forced some agencies to turn people away due to short supplies.
With help from the campaign launched Tuesday, the North Texas Food Bank hopes to raise $5 million – enough to distribute 20 million meals –by the end of the year.
Learn more about the North Texas Food Bank’s campaign and hear some of the stories from your community here.
The North Texas Food Bank and Tarrant Area Food Bank are part of KERA’s Advisory Group for its Economy Project. Learn more about what non-profit groups are doing on the Community Voices page of KERA’s Economy Web site.
The unemployment rate rose from 9.8 to 10.2 percent in October, and nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline (-190,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The largest job losses over the month were in construction, manufacturing, and retail trade.
Household Survey Data
In October, the number of unemployed persons increased by 558,000 to 15.7 million. The unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage point to 10.2 percent, the highest rate since April 1983. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has risen by 8.2 million, and the unemployment rate has grown by 5.3 percentage points. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (10.7 percent) and whites (9.5 percent) rose in October. The jobless rates for adult women (8.1 percent), teenagers (27.6 percent), blacks (15.7 percent), and Hispanics (13.1 percent) were little changed over the month. The unemployment rate for Asians was 7.5 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little changed over the month at 5.6 million. In October, 35.6 percent of unemployed persons were jobless for 27 weeks or more. (See table A-9.)
The civilian labor force participation rate was little changed over the month
at 65.1 percent. The employment-population ratio continued to decline in October, falling to 58.5 percent. (See table A-1.)
The number of persons working part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in October at 9.3 million. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
I think that Mark Ramsey is one of the best thinkers about radio today – here is a very helpful post that I think sums up what we are all trying to do in the FTMC project. His focus is for profit – but the ideas remain true for all of us.
As we come to the end of the year – I look forward to looking at what we have learned – my bet is that it is more than we think!
- We are solving problems
- We are organized around an audience/people versus a platform
- We work directly with our partners – some of who will fund the work
- We are creating whole channels and platforms for content
- We are measuring outcomes rather than ears and eyeballs”
He starts with this provocation:
“Don’t read this if you don’t care about radio’s future or if you’re counting down the days to your retirement.
Every now and then some thinking comes along that puts it all in perspective. This piece from Ad Age is one such summation of thinking that has been bubbling up over the past few months from folks like Tom Asacker and others.
What is the blueprint for what radio will need to be to compete successfully as a vital enterprise in the years to come?
The trajectory of our future can be summed up as follows:
Almost every consumer marketer I’ve spoken to…is moving toward the goal of making marketing more outcome-specific, targeted, useful and conversational, and less about blasting of what we’ve generally called “brand” messages via specific platforms. They see some of today’s media companies as shaping into useful potential partners in those efforts, and others as increasingly redundant — and they’re spending less and less with the latter.
The radio – media – company of the future will:
1. Act more like a marketing company than a media company.
Says Ad Age: “Good partners will be marketing companies, operations set up and focused on solving brand marketers’ problems by means of the connection they can create with an audience and results that connection can deliver.”
In other words, the model will shift from selling access to listener ears in bulk toward selling solutions to marketers’ problems via connections. That is essentially the difference between “advertising” and “marketing,” so choose your side of the fence wisely.
2. Be organized around an audience and not a platform.
Broadcasters frequently talk about being “platform agnostic,” but too often what that really means is putting our radio signal in other places or on other devices. That’s just transporting the problem, not solving it. Your job is to rally an audience of raving fans and satisfy the appetites of those fans while connecting them to the marketers who crave them. Period.
3. Work directly with marketers.
Being bought off a ranker is not the same as working in partnership with marketers. Increasingly, the ranker-buyers will be the obstacles to our success, not the reason for it.
4. Not just create spaces for ads next to content, it’ll create whole media channels and platforms for brands
Writes Ad Age: “Brands want to be at the center of content and communities and they’re going to create these channels with or without media companies.” It’s up to us to bring the talent to the party and to build these channels in concert with advertisers. Or they will simply build them without us.
5. Employ technologists who can build device-agnostic platforms for marketers.
Note the distinction between building these platforms for marketers and building them for your radio brands. Recognize above all else who is in the driver’s seat. Hint: It’s not your radio brand. It’s your radio brand’s customer base, the marketers.
6. Know how to deliver instantaneous gratification when it comes to measurement, and it’ll be measuring outcomes not outputs. A rating…stat is not going to be enough in the future, and certainly not when it’s presented weeks after the fact.
The dawn of the post-Arbitron world is before us”
Monday on The American Experience: The 1930s:
Civilian Conservation CorpsIn March 1933, within weeks of his inauguration, President Franklin Roosevelt sent legislation to Congress aimed at providing relief for the one out of every four American workers who were unemployed.
He proposed a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to provide jobs in natural resource conservation. Over the next decade, the CCC put more than three million young men to work in the nation’s forests and parks, planting trees, building flood barriers, fighting fires and maintaining roads and trails.
Corps workers lived in camps under quasi-military discipline and received a wage of $30 per month, $25 of which they were required to send home to their families. This program interweaves rich archival imagery with the personal accounts of CCC veterans to tell the story of one of the boldest and most popular New Deal experiments, positioning it as a pivotal moment in the emergence of modern environmentalism and federal unemployment relief.
The five-part series, “The 1930s,” draws parallels between our current age and the Great Depression era, examining the political and cultural life of America during one of history’s most tumultuous decades.
Learn more about the series and watch films online here.