Tag Archives: fruit

Thursday Congressman McGovern visits a food hub!

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Rosalie – and lots of her neighbors – would buy their produce at a Food Hub. (Rosalie’s shack!) pic:R.T.

Congressman McGovern will praise the work Daily Table is doing to help local families and highlight it as a model for other communities!

This Thursday!

DORCHESTER

2:15 PM – 3:15 PM

Visit of Daily Table Grocery

Congressman McGovern visits Daily Table Grocery, a not-for-profit retail store that offers our community a variety of affordable and healthy food for low-income families and works with a large network of growers, supermarkets, manufacturers, and other suppliers who donate their excess, healthy food in an attempt to help reduce food waste. Congressman McGovern will praise the work Daily Table is doing to help local families and highlight it as a model for other communities.

WHO: Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02), Daily Table Founder and President Doug Rauch, Community Leaders and Anti-Hunger Advocates

WHERE: Daily Table Grocery, 450 Washington Street, Dorchester

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Reposting Congressman McGovern’s speech: America Spends $218 Billion Every Year on Food That Is Never Eaten

Reducing Food Waste Is Key to Helping 50 million Americans Struggling with Hunger

Congressman Jim McGovern recently spoke on the House Floor to raise awareness about food waste in the U.S. and to praise efforts in Massachusetts and across the country to reduce food waste and help the 50 million Americans – including 16 million children – who struggle with hunger every year.

“American consumers, businesses, and farms spend an estimated $218 billion per year growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten. Up to 40 percent of all food grown is never eaten,” Congressman McGovern said. “Forty to fifty million tons of food is sent to landfills each year, plus another 10 million tons is left unharvested on farms. This food waste translates into approximately 387 billion calories of food that went unconsumed.

“With 50 million Americans – including 16 million children –struggling with hunger every year, these are startling figures,” McGovern added. “We know food waste occurs throughout the supply chain – from harvesting to manufacturing to retail operations and consumer habits. We must do more to reduce food waste at every stage, recover food that would have otherwise been wasted, and recycle unavoidable waste as animal feed, compost, or energy.

“Thankfully, there’s already a lot of great work being done to raise awareness about the problem of food waste,” McGovern concluded. “I’m pleased to see so many partners at every level of the food supply chain taking action to reduce food waste, but still, more needs to be done. Let’s solve the problem of food waste and let’s end hunger now.”

In his speech, Congressman McGovern recognized Massachusetts leaders and organizations like the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts for helping to reduce food waste as part of the larger push to tackle hunger. McGovern also thanked Becker College, College of the Holy Cross, Smith College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute for their work with the Campus Kitchen Project and the Food Recovery Network to provide hunger relief in their local communities through campus food recovery initiatives.

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Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Speech:

“Thousands of people will gather in Washington, D.C. this week for “Feeding the 5000” – an event designed to bring awareness to the issue of food waste.

“Participants will be served a communal meal made entirely out of food that would otherwise have been discarded – in other words, wasted.

“Since 2009, Feedback, a global environmental organization working to end food waste, has hosted dozens of “Feeding the 5000” events in cities across the globe.

“I’m pleased to see so many local partners – including government agencies, charitable organizations, NGOs, industry, and chefs – joining together to call attention to food waste.

“Because the truth of the matter is, we’ll need all of these partners working together to solve the issue of food waste.

“Last year, the USDA announced their first-ever food waste reduction goal, calling for a 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2030. USDA is working with charitable organizations, faith-based groups, and the private sector and I believe this goal is 100 percent achievable.

“American consumers, businesses, and farms spend an estimated $218 billion per year growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten.

“Up to 40 percent of all food grown is never eaten. Forty to fifty million tons of food is sent to landfills each year, plus another 10 million tons is left unharvested on farms.

“This food waste translates into approximately 387 billion calories of food that went unconsumed.

“With 50 million Americans – including 16 million children –struggling with hunger every year, these are startling figures.

“We know food waste occurs throughout the supply chain – from harvesting to manufacturing to retail operations and consumer habits. We must do more to reduce food waste at every stage, recover food that would have otherwise been wasted, and recycle unavoidable waste as animal feed, compost, or energy.

“Thankfully, there’s already a lot of great work being done to raise awareness about the problem of food waste.

“Just last week I attended a screening of the documentary film, Just Eat It at Amherst Cinema, organized by the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Just Eat It follows a couple, Jen and Grant, as they stop going to the grocery store and live solely off of foods that would have been thrown away. Jen and Grant were able to find an abundance of perfectly safe and healthy food available for consumption that would have been thrown away.

“It’s exciting to see new partnerships forming to study food waste and find ways to use this perfectly good food to reduce hunger in our communities.

“One such private-public collaboration, ReFED, has brought together over 30 business, government, and NGO leaders committed to wide-scale solutions to U.S. food waste.

“In March, 2016, ReFED released a Roadmap that charts the course for a 20 percent reduction of food waste within a decade.

“The Roadmap calls for farmers to reduce unharvested food and create secondary markets for imperfect produce. It calls on manufacturers to reduce inefficiencies, make packaging adjustments, and standardize date labeling. It calls on food service companies to further implement waste tracking and incorporate imperfect produce and smaller plates into restaurants. And it urges the federal government to strengthen tax incentives for food donation and consider standardized date labeling legislation.

“The good news is that many in the industry are already taking steps to dramatically cut down on wasted food by implementing robust donation programs.

“For example, Starbucks recently announced it will soon scale up its successful food donation pilot program nationwide. In partnership with the Food Donation Connection and Feeding America, Starbucks will donate unsold food from more than 7,000 company-operated stores –salads, sandwiches, and other refrigerated items – to the Feeding America food bank network. By 2021, that amounts to almost 50 million meals.

“Our college campuses are also stepping up. Both the Campus Kitchen Project and the Food Recovery Network work with college dining facilities and students to provide hunger relief in their local communities. In my congressional district, Becker College, College of the Holy Cross, Smith College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute all have campus food recovery initiatives.

“Over the past 35 years, Feeding America has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to ensuring food that would have otherwise been wasted makes its way to food banks across the country and into the homes of families in need.

“There are dozens of other industry leaders also taking steps to reduce food waste by implementing manufacturing upgrades, maximizing harvests, and utilizing recycling initiatives.

“I appreciate the efforts of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance in bringing together industry partners to reduce food waste, shrink the environmental footprint, and alleviate hunger in our communities.

“Reducing food waste is one step we can take toward our goal of ending hunger in the United States and throughout the world.

“I’m pleased to see so many partners at every level of the food supply chain taking action to reduce food waste, but still, more needs to be done. Let’s solve the problem of food waste and let’s end hunger now.”

From The Boston Globe: farmers markets and SNAP cards …

I’ve been meaning to post this BOSTON GLOBE editorial for weeks…   –    R.T.

EDITORIAL

Food stamps for fresh food: More produce, more benefits

THE SUPPLEMENTAL Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal food stamp program, has often struggled with the “nutrition” part of its mandate. The problem is that fresh fruits and vegetables are often too expensive for low-income families to afford, especially if they have to rely on benefits for most of their groceries.

The latest farm bill, signed into law earlier this year, offers a simple, innovative solution. The legislation doubles the value of SNAP benefits when they are used to purchase produce bought at local grocery stores or farmers markets who agree to participate.

The program, called the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive, provides $100 million over the next five years in grants to organizations that help make fruit and vegetables more affordable to SNAP recipients. The grant program is focused on encouraging people to buy more produce. …

CLICK HERE to read entire editorial!

Farmers markets in our inner-city that don’t take SNAP or WIC cards, don’t let poor seniors use their farmers market coupons to buy bread ….

… yet they receive non-profit sponsorship $$$  from Harvard Pilgrim health. WTF?!

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LEARN how to counter CLASSISM at FARMERS MARKETS when REC makes a presentation at …

… the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Massachusetts Chapter (NOFA/Mass) 28th Annual Winter Conference, Saturday, January 10.

At Worcester State University, Chandler Street.

Featuring 70 workshops, exhibits, an all-day seminar and keynote by Greg Judy, rotational grazier and carbon sequestration advocate.

The conference draws about 1,000 participants from Massachusetts and neighboring states, including seasoned and beginning farmers, urban homesteaders, backyard gardeners, food activists, and others.

2015 workshop topics include crop production, farm management, health, homesteading, livestock, beekeeping, policy, skill building, infrastructure, soil, urban/backyard gardening and organic land care.

The conference will be followed by a post-conference dinner with Greg Judy.

GENTRIFICATION IN THE FOOD SYSTEM: 

Members of [Worcester REC’s] YouthGROW will be presenting a workshop entitled Gentrification in the Food System.

The workshop will focus on:

the rapid growth of the food justice movement and “foodie” culture that has often excluded communities of color, youth and the poor

.. and the many ways we can work to reverse this trend.

Ralph Weah, Assistant Farm Manager, and Chad McClain, Assistant Youth Coordinator will share stories and strategies for dismantling racism and creating inclusive spaces.

We’d love to see you at our workshop:

1:30 p.m – 3 p.m. – Saturday, January 10, at Worcester State University! 

 For more information, please visit nofamass.org/winterconference

Community FRUIT orchard in Piedmont neighborhood to be planted! Hooray for the Jaques Ave Community Orchard!

Worcester Receives a TD Green Streets Grant to plant Community Orchard in Piedmont Neighborhood!

Tuesday, May 27, at 2:30 PM, Congressman James P. McGovern, Senator Harriette Chandler, and City Manager Ed Augustus will celebrate the planting of 20 fruit trees at the newly established Community Orchard at 9 Jaques Ave, Worcester. This project is made possible through a generous TD Green Streets grant.

Worcester Tree Initiative staff, volunteers from TD Bank, refugee farmers from Bhutan, and New Lands Farm staff will work together beginning at 10:00 AM to plant several varieties of semi-dwarf fruit trees at the site, including peaches, pears, plums, cherries and apples, thus taking the first step at establishing the newest EAT center in Worcester.

“Every person in this country should have access to locally grown, healthy food,” said U.S. Representative Jim McGovern. “I am thrilled to see fruit trees being planted in the Piedmont neighborhood and peach, pear and apple trees added to the already vibrant community gardening program in Worcester.”

The Jaques Ave Community Orchard project is a partnership of the Worcester Tree Initiative, Worcester Common Ground, Lutheran Social Services/New Lands Farm project, and City of Worcester and builds on a model launched in 2011 on Oread Place known as the Education and Agriculture Training (EAT) Center. The EAT center partnership includes the Regional Environmental Council.

Yvette Dyson, Executive Director of Worcester Common Ground, the property owner notes that “from a partnership perspective we all believe in land preservation and the cultivation of produce for the people we serve in Central MA. Securing these parcels [at 7/9 Jaques Ave] will help to eliminate trash problems, and eventually provide fruit and produce for farmers/neighbors to grow, feed their families and sell”.

The City of Worcester was awarded a TD Green Streets grant in the amount of $19,380 to create the orchard and has contracted with The Worcester Tree Initiative to implement the project. . A large portion of the funds will be used to purchase the trees, fence the lot, and pay for interpreters to work with the Bhutanese farmers who will care for the fruit trees over the long term.

Peggy Middaugh, Executive Director of the Worcester Tree Initiative notes that “we have given away and planted over 5,500 trees in the past 5 years, and lately more and more residents have expressed an interest in growing fruit trees. We’re very excited to expand our urban forestry efforts to include the food producing beneifs of trees”!. The Worcester Tree Initiative will continue to provide support to the refugee farmers for the care of the trees by providing tools, skills building workshops and hiring interpreters.

The Worcester Tree Initiative (WTI) was launched in January 2009 by Congressman Jim McGovern and Lt. Governor Tim Murray as a positive response to the devastation caused by the infestation and eradication of the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB). In the past 5 years, over 5,500 trees have been planted and thousands of residents, school children and community members mobilized to become stewards of the urban forest.

The Jaques Ave Community Orchard is the 2nd EAT center in Worcester and the first to include fruit trees.
The Education and Agriculture Training (EAT) Center was launched in 2011 as a joint partnership of the REC, Lutheran Social Services, Worcester Common Ground and the City of Worcester Mayor’s Office.

A pilot initiative, the EAT Center seeks to utilize undeveloped tax levy parcels in the city of Worcester that are suitable for agriculture by transferring ownership to this partnership for a nominal cost. Community members, including recently arrived refugees with an agricultural background identified by Lutheran Social Services (Worcester’s largest refugee resettlement agency), are provided an opportunity to receive training on urban agriculture and an opportunity to grow produce on a larger scale than is otherwise available via the REC’s community gardens network.

For Worcester Public Schools nutrition matters

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee

“The first and most respectable of the arts is agriculture.” -Rousseau

The Worcester Public Schools continue to achieve a balance between academics and wellness as we try to provide nutritious foods for our students. Recently Massachusetts celebrated “Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week.” Throughout the state local famers were delivering boxes and bags of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables destined for school cafeterias.

The kick off for the event was held right in Worcester at City View School. “Massachusetts Harvest for Student Week celebrated the wonderful connections that are being forged between school food services and farms all over the state,” said Kelly Erwin, Manager of the Massachusetts Farm to School Project. Worcester was chosen for the “kickoff” because it is a one of the leading schools in the state promoting health foods and as Ms. Erwin stated there is a School Food revolution taking place in Worcester. She went on to say that Worcester has emerged as a leader in the state. Ms. Erwin referred to Worcester Public School Nutrition Director, Donna Lombardi, as the rock star of nutrition for she has had Worcester well ahead of the curve on nutrition initiatives. Continue reading For Worcester Public Schools nutrition matters