Cory Booker, Democratic Mayor of Newark, NJ, is putting himself on food budget of $30/week, or the equivalent of New Jersey's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.
Undertaking what is referred to as the #SNAPChallenge began with a social media-based conversation on Twitter. A Twitter user tweeted me her opinion that "nutrition is not the responsibility of the government". This comment caused me to reflect on the families and children in my community who benefit from SNAP assistance and deserve deeper consideration. In my own quest to better understand the outcomes of SNAP assistance, I suggested to this specific Twitter user that we both live on a SNAP equivalent food budget for a week and document our experience.
His goal is to bring attention to the program and highlight the voices who are involved in the process. Booker hopes to help food assistance needs from a local level.
We have much work to do at the local level to address a legacy of structural inequities in the American food system. As more and more working people and families - many holding down more than one job - face greater and greater challenges to juggle housing, medical, and transportation costs, meeting nutritional needs becomes a serious problem and a social justice issue. The struggle of children, seniors, and families to have access to essential nutrition is a struggle we are all invested in and we all benefit when families succeed. Now more than ever we are all in this together.
Booker has been keeping track of his progress via social media. This morning, he ate chick peas and lettuce for breakfast.