Abstract: Food hunger in wealthy nations is generating a variety of responses from citizen, states and corporations concerned about the growing and sometimes desperate inequality in their jurisdictions. The meteoric rise of food bank use in New Zealand is ref lected in state, market and community discourses of explanation, justification and sometimes challenge. In current approaches to food distribution to those in need, money and resources increasingly go into a food bank system that may increase dependency or co-dependency, and may not lead to increased food security for the vulnerable and hungry.
We suggest the embedding of food banks and similar food assistance programs should be re-examined. We recognise, however, that the impulse to give to those in need is strong in many people. It is a desirable aspect of our humanity. It is essential to put food into homes that regularly go without. We do not advocate for the denial of the impulse to give to those in need. We posit, however, that the place for food banks in a socially just New Zealand must be one of emergency food assistance only. We advocate for the need to eliminate hunger through access to incomes through appropriate means - be that through well-paid jobs that match the circumstances of the employee, or through benefits that assure a life of dignity - not the extension of the size and scope of food banks. The downward pressure on incomes and conditions of service that accompany the dominance of neoliberal economic, social and political directives obscures a raft of dynamics contributing to this disparate access to food, and must be brought into the discussion at all levels.
To cite this article: Dey, Kahurangi and Humphries, Maria. Recounting food banking: A paradox of counterproductive growth [online]. Third Sector Review, Vol. 21, No. 2, Nov 2015: 129-147.
[cited 23 Jun 17].