Review on the “Food is money:The Economics of nutrition” webseminar


Kevin Ashley, Staff Writer

COD Community Engagement Specialist Joan DiPiero noticed food pantries throughout DuPage County have higher usage rates because of COVID-19 and high unemployment rates. 

“We had an idea to do a series of activities in the spring,” DiPiero said. “We knew something needed to be done for our community.” 

DiPiero organized an event called “Food is money: The Economics of nutrition” on March 17. During the event, they discussed with a dietitian and people who run food banks, the health cost of starving people and the global effects on economies if people aren’t well fed. 

For example, when discussing the global effects on nations’ economies when people aren’t well-fed it was stated that a nation’s population is less effective when they don’t have enough to eat. When people have to worry about when their next meal will be they are wasting time and energy on trying to find that meal or they are less efficient at their job since they are hungry and not focusing. Also in the web seminar, the health costs were talked about because people who don’t have easy or consistent access to nutritious food tend to lack important vitamins and minerals in order to keep healthy. That lack of health has people go to the doctor more often and get more medical treatment more often. A starving population is a population that is very economically ineffective. A major point of the online discussion was the fact that making sure that people not only have easy access to good food is not only morally right but financially prudent in the long run.

All of these points were mentioned in an effort to understand how this rising food crisis is hurting the DuPage community. The argument was made that if you take this issue on the global or national level then you see how they have a big impact in the regional or local.

“Personally, as a community member, I am very concerned as to what is going on with my neighborhoods. Our role at the college as educators and community services and community partners. There is a need that we feel that we need to help our community in any way we can,” said DiPiero. 

COD is in a prime position to not only spread information about food security but to help provide a space and safe environment to do so. 

“When you are able to bring to light the services that we have in our area that is a good thing,” said DiPiero. 

In the trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic, DiPiero believes that a strong community should help one another and by helping to spread the word on a resource that many families need. 

If you are interested in the issues here is a video that the college made discussing how they are helping to fight food insecurity: