Unhoused populations are struggling to find enough to eat. Farmers are faced with both surplus produce and lower incomes as they are left without places to sell. Individuals have a renewed desire to plant gardens as they grapple with long grocery lines and rising food prices.
In short, the pandemic is surfacing many of the systemic issues in the global food system that we have been mostly ignoring for a long time.
But what can we do about this at the community, town, or city levels?
One grassroots organization in the San Francisco Bay Area is attempting to answer that question.
NorCal Resilience Network is launching a new program, “Produce for the People” to activate their existing coalition of organizations and Resilience Hubs to address critical food security needs in a way that could be scaled up and replicated in a number of communities.
Produce for the People has 6 primary goals
- Address food insecurities and support grassroots organizations: Specifically offering support to groups who are providing food-insecure populations with fresh and healthy meals, including unhoused populations, elderly who have challenges getting to grocery stores, and undocumented individuals who have lost their jobs.
- Provide immunity-boosting plants: Encourage people to grow peppers, ginger, turmeric, and more.
- Use surplus produce: Many small farms have lost their sources of income due to closing restaurants. Their surplus produce is rotting in fields without a place to go, and many have been unable to quickly shift to CSA boxes, which are in high demand but difficult to organize.
- Grow more organic produce: Many individuals are catching on to the need to grow produce but don’t have the expertise to do so. Many sites have existing gardens and want to expand their efforts but don’t have the capital to do so. There is a major opportunity to bridge the gap between interest, skills, and resources in order to meet these needs.
- Support individuals wanting to make a difference: Many people want to help but aren’t sure how to do so.
- Document the process and support other regions to replicate the success: there’s an opportunity to develop a successful model in the East Bay that many other regions can replicate and adapt.
“Produce for the People: community resilience and food security” (Free Webinar)
Shareable is partnering with NorCal Resilience Network on this event to support the launch of this new program.
Please join us on September 22nd at 3pm (pst) to learn about resilience hubs and some of the replicable food security initiatives in the East Bay that are participating in this program.
The round table style discussion with East Bay food justice organizers will focus on difficult questions related to:
- The history of racial inequities within the food industry and how this intersection between food justice and racial justice could evolve moving forward
- How communities have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic
- What an equitable hyper-local food web could look like in the future (based on the building blocks that currently exist), including resilience hubs as centers for food growing and distribution
Featured Speakers include:
Keneda Gibson: artist, a community organizer with the East Oakland Neighborhood Initiative, and recipient of a Resilience Hub grant to develop a garden rooted in community at her house
Wanda Stewart: Executive Director of Common Vision and garden educator at Hoover Elementary School
AshEL Seasunz Eldridge and Xochitl Bernadette Moreno: co-founders of Essential Food and Medicine (EFAM) which reclaims surplus and locally grown produce to make juice, soups, smoothies, and natural medicines that directly serve the most vulnerable people in their communities for free.
Moderated by Ayano K. Jeffers-Fabro: independent consultant for community food initiatives (most recently acting as project manager for incubating a community-led grocery cooperative in East Oakland).
Eventbrite – NorCal Resilience Network presents Produce for the People: community resilience and food security – Tuesday, September 22, 2020 – Find event and ticket information.
Shareable is a member of the NorCal Resilience Network.
This article is part of our reporting on The People’s COVID-19 Response.