(BPT) - Food insecurity is surging across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and fast-rising inflation is only exacerbating the problem. In the last year alone, grocery prices have increased by 9.1% — the biggest jump in more than 40 years. Food insecurity is especially prevalent in communities of color, with Black and Hispanic households experiencing food insecurity at a rate at least twice that of White households. Native Americans and Alaska Natives are two times more likely to be food insecure as Whites.
California is home to nine of the most expensive metro areas for food purchasing in the country compared to median family income. The cities of San Francisco, Napa, Sacramento, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, San Jose/Santa Clara, Madera, Santa Rosa, and Santa Cruz are among the most unaffordable, with the annual average cost of food ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 for a family of four. The unfortunate truth is that California produces nearly half of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, yet one in five Californians (8 million) struggle with food insecurity, according to the California Association of Food Banks.