Technology Impact on Hunger – positives and negatives
Posted by Amy Wilson on November 21, 2008
Yesterday, the Fusion talent team volunteered at the Alameda Food Bank. After we finished up our work, we chatted with a staffer. In this short conversation, I was struck by the indirect effects of technology on people, namely people who need food.
1) The high-tech inventory systems that grocery stores now employ mean that very little food is left over. Great news, right? Not so for the food banks who were the recipients of this left-over food. On the bright side, the high tech inventory systems have not solved left-over produce, so food banks have switched their business model to include larger produce donations. This is good for people’s health, but makes food banks much more expensive to run.
2) Food stamps have now largely converted to an electronic system, allowing bearers to merely swipe their debit card when at the grocery store, alleviating much of the stigma of food stamps. That said, the immigrant population is wont to use the electronic system for fear their information is easily accessible and can be turned against them. Education and legislation is key here to allay fears.
3) Applications for food stamps can be done electronically. Food bank personnel can take a laptop out to any neighborhood, anytime and get people a food solution that serves them far better than a box of canned goods and cereal ever can.