Okay, when you saw the title above you probably assumed that I was going to talk about the latest hit movie “The Hunger Games”. Sorry, I’m not. Not really. Actually, I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I HAVE read the YA series by Suzanne Collins that the movie is made from. (I work at the library, which means you are “required” to read the novel before you see the movie if you don’t want to be subjected to all kinds of ridicule.)
The book follows Katniss Everdeen, a 16 year old girl who lives in the post-apocalyptic world of North America, now called Panem. Panem has been split into 12 districts which are controlled by the Capitol. As punishment for a previous rebellion, each district must send a boy and a girl to participate in an annual televised event in which contestants are forced to kill each other until there is only one survivor.
By United State Department of the Army
Simply essential disaster preparation kit by Catherine Stewart
The theme of the book is poverty, oppression, hunger and survival. Pretty grim topics, but for some people these are not fictional issues. They exist here and now.
I’ve been thinking about the “Hunger” part lately. Not the “wondering what to fix for supper” kind of hunger, but what it would be like to really BE hungry. (The kind of hunger that I, thankfully, have never known. ) Maybe it’s because the Chesapeake Public Library system is currently hosting our annual “Food For Fines” event, where library fines are waived for patrons bringing in food items for donation to Chesapeake food pantries.
Do a good deed and all is forgiven. Libraries dispense absolution? Yes, but this small sacrament alone will not solve the problem of hunger. More needs to be done.
Recently, I was part of a panel which discussed a library partnership with the Chesapeake Agriculture Department and the Plant-A-Row program. (See Links) June through September every year the excess produce grown by Chesapeake residents on their own land can be donated to the city’s hungry through this group. This is an easy way for those who have more than they need to help those who need more than they have.
As you can see from the linked calendar, however, Seasonal Produce Calendar people cannot survive on the leftovers from local gardens alone. Plans are in the works at Central to provide storytimes and workshops centering around gardening and food production. We envision programs that will teach patrons about beekeeping, edible landscaping, butterflies, vermiculture, and seed saving techniques.
Meanwhile, the library has lots of free information available on these topics and many more.All you need is your library card.
EDIBLE LANDSCAPING BOOKS
Eat Your Yard by Nan Chase
Garden Anywhere by Alys Fowler
The Small Budget Gardener by Maureen Gilmer
Though many could surely benefit from having the knowledge needed to grow their own food, some do not have the space needed or lack the ability to maintain a garden. What we need are some community gardens where the spaces are tended collectively by one group – or else allotments, which are parcels of land made available to individuals or families. Many European countries use these systems successfully.
Hunger is a result of poverty, but poverty has many causes. The best cure for poverty is work. Right now, many people are out of work. Either they cannot find a job or they had one and lost it due to the economy. It’s hard to keep food on the table when you don’t work. Chesapeake Public Library offers help in this indirectly by assisting patrons in their job search by providing free internet access, offering classes on how to write a resume, and updates job skills by teaching basic computer classes in Word and Excel. (See Video Link)
Job Help at the Library
— Jeff Bridges