MUSCATINE, Iowa–For 30 years, journalist Roger Thurow covered international events for the Wall Street Journal. For much of that time, Thurow focused his energies on highlighting the plight of hungry people in a world with enough food to feed them and of the real efforts to help them taking place across the globe. More recently, Thurow started exploring hunger in America. Now a Senior Fellow on Food and Agriculture for the Chicago Council on World Affairs, Thurow has further dedicated himself to fighting hunger. At the virtual March 1 Muscatine Rotary Club meeting, Thurow gave members an overview of his work and discussed some ways to fight hunger in the United States.
Thurow explained domestic hunger as, “our American oxymoron.” Despite the United States’ large harvests and leadership in agricultural technology, many people still go hungry. Though communities across the country have their own food pantry and numerous school districts provide free and reduced lunches to low income students, many people did not think of hunger as an issue in the United States until the COVID-19 pandemic drove more people to require food assistance than ever before. Many also realized for the first time that working people and not just those without jobs often need food pantries to survive.
Having seen for himself the scope of hunger in the United States, Thurow considers it an issues that needs structural change to ensure that all working people make enough money to feed themselves and their dependents, and that any hungry person can get the nutritious food they need to live a healthy life. He also considered the growth of community medicine, in which doctors partner with other local organizations, including farmers, farmers markets, and stores to provide food for malnourished children, an important and sustainable way to end hunger.
Reflecting on his career writing about world hunger, Thurow said, “my mantra as a journalist is to outrage and inspire.”
In discussing domestic hunger with the Muscatine Rotary Club, he hoped to encourage them to work for a more just and equitable world in which everyone had the food they needed to thrive. “In the new normal that comes after the pandemic, regardless of when it come, I hope it will eliminate hunger,” he stressed.