In “Hunting for Anthropologists: Deer Hunting and the Local Food Movement,” Elizabeth Danforth of the Iowa Food Systems Council makes a strong case that anthropologists can and should bridge the current knowledge gap between the culture of hunting and the local food movement. A powerful argument for connecting wild game, particularly deer, and the local food movement is the fact that deer herds multiply so quickly, doubling within three years, and hunters not only can help states prevent these rising deer populations from becoming a threat to travelers and farmers livelihoods but they can also provide relief to the hungry.
Danforth notes that hunters contributed 1.1. million meals in Iowa, and Virginia’s “Hunters for the Hungry” report that 1.6 million meals were donated in 2010. These donations are being made largely without fanfare, without any large media hoopla touting the benefits of donating venison to the hungry, and even without strong vocal support from the local food movement about the environmental and social benefits of donating local, wild food to the hungry.
With the rising numbers of hungry – now nearly 40 million hungry in America, including 14 million children – just imagine how many more mouths could be fed if a real campaign were launched! The potential is huge, and it’s waiting for different interest groups to realize the potentially powerful benefits of linking the culture heritage of responsible hunting to the environmental benefits for ecosystem management, the economic benefits of reduced damage to farm crops, and the social benefits of feeding our hungry. As a mediator, I believe we might call this one a win-win-win.