New Dictionary Entries ​Acknowledges ​Food Security Concerns

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - The English language is an ever-expanding ​landscape of words and expressions​ and every year new entries make it into the Merriam-Webster dictionary, one of the leading reference books on the English language. In a recent blog post, Merriam-Webster presents some of the more than 1,000 words that have been added. These include entries taken from sundry fields, such as ppo culture (fac​​epalm, throw shade), politics (FLOTUS), science (CRISPR) and social issues (food insecure).

Regarding the latter, it made it into the dictionary because being food insecure, sadly, is the reality of millions of Americans. In fact, according to the USDA, 50 million Americans are struggling to get adequate nutrition and this includes 13.1 million children.

The ​dictionary defines food insecurity as follows:

"Unable to consistently access or afford adequate food. According to data released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 17 percent of Americans—more than 50 million people—live in households that are “food insecure,” a term that means a family sometimes runs out of money to buy food, or it sometimes runs out of food before it can get more money. — Lisa Miller. "A food-insecure household may be faced with the difficult choice of paying for basic necessities, such as health care and housing, or buying nutritionally adequate foods. — Elyse Miller."

Nourishing Minds, an organization funded by Hersheys that brings nutritional aid to those in need, welcomed the move by Merriam Webster as it helps highlight the issue. The organization’s first focus was on West Africa, where it managed to reduce rates of anemia and school performance, thanks to a nutritional supplement called ViVi, distributed to 50,000 school children everyday.​

Now the organization has partnered with Feeding America to help elementary schools to serve fresh milk and produce for the first time. It is also looking into new ways to link food banks and schools. The Food Banks Canada, for instance, launched Food Explorers to teach basic, healthy cooking skills to school children. In China, it modernized 11 school kitchens in Henan province where a quarter of kids suffer from anemia. Besides, several partnerships in different communities are taking nutritious food to those in need.

Food is an urgent issue. Those who lack it cannot wait. Being food insecure is not just an entry in the dictionary: it is a threatening reality that wipes out dreams and possibilities that must be eradicated.

Image credit: Hershey