How Communities, Unknowingly, Sustain Business As Usual

The "hunger problem." It's the object of marathon talking, anxious funding and sincere programs sincerely hoping more of the same will lead to different. One of the most effective ways communities, unknowingly, sustain business as usual is the deficit conversation of needs. We do needs assessments and base metrics on adressing needs. Until communities become asset based, they have no idea the needs focus actually sustains the status quo. Their narrative is that social problems like hunger are intractable, even when Federal policies wage, always unsuccessful, wars on these people who persist in the obesity of their hunger.

When communities become asset based, everything changes. Their conversations shift 180 degrees in the direction of business quite not as usual.

They talk about vacant land that could be a thriving oasis of crops. They talk about the underemployed, unemployed and working poor who could learn to grow and cook their way into unprecedented levels of wellness and community. They talk about the countless idle school and church kitchens that could process locally grown food for year round use. They talk about the talented young people who could do food and branding education for people who could become food entrepreneurs. They talk about the college students who could start up new urban farms and food literacy programs as ways to leverage experiential learning for their degrees and the closure of food deserts.

These are the conversations that engage assets, that shift conversations of hunger from conversations about people as problems to be fixed to people as gifts to be engaged. These are the conversations that make a difference.