Tag Archives: produce

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.”

Today! Congressman Jim McGovern Puts Spotlight on Hunger as  Health Issue!

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ICT editor Rosalie wishes there was a REAL, PHYSICAL FOOD HUB in Worcester – like they have in Greenfield. Fresh, locally grown produce sold at low cost to working families – or anyone. Surplus, slightly bruised produce sold in a no-nonsense warehouse open regular biz hours. That’s the ticket for so many folks in Worcester! pic: R.T.

McGovern Joins New York Hunger Summit with National and Regional Health & Hunger Leaders
 
National Hunger-Related Healthcare Costs Estimated at $160 Billion Annually
 

NEW YORK, NY – Today Congressman Jim McGovern will join national health and hunger leaders at the New York Hunger Summit to highlight the staggering costs of hunger as a health issue.

Joining today’s summit will be leaders from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), AARP, Feeding America, Hunger Free America, Harvard Law School, Yale University, Columbia University, United Way, as well as elected and anti-hunger leaders from across New York and the region. The summit is hosted by The Root Cause Coalition and the Alliance to End Hunger.
 
· WHO: Congressman Jim McGovern, National and Regional Health and Hunger Leaders
 
· WHAT: New York Hunger Summit: Hunger as a Health Issue
 
· WHERE: Westin New York at Times Square, 270 W 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036
 
·  WHEN: Today, April 4, from 9 AM to 3 PM
 
Congressman McGovern has long been a national leader on hunger, keeping the issue in the spotlight in Congress and calling for strong investments to help the 48 million Americans who struggle with hunger every year.

A recent report estimates that hunger-related healthcare costs the U.S. economy $160 billion annually.

Today Congressman McGovern will speak about the need to focus more on hunger as a health issue.
 
Excerpt from Congressman McGovern’s New York Hunger Summit Speech:
 
“Thanks to our federal anti-hunger programs like SNAP, or food stamps, WIC, and the school lunch and breakfast programs, we’ve been able to eliminate the severest cases of hunger and malnutrition that used to exist in this country.
 
 “But that doesn’t mean that hunger doesn’t still exist in this country. The face of hunger in the United States can be more subtle and less obvious. But here is the hard reality: There’s not a single congressional district in the U.S. that isn’t impacted by hunger.
 
“We’re the richest country in the history of the world and it’s shameful that even one person goes to bed hungry. And it’s even more shameful that many are children.
 
“For the 48 million Americans who struggle with hunger – access to nutritious foods – and enough – healthy food — is a real challenge. And we know from a growing body of research that hunger can have serious negative health consequences far beyond simply a growling stomach.
 
“There ought to be a greater focus on nutrition and all of the benefits good nutrition can have on prevent and overall health. And healthcare providers ought to know what hunger looks like.”
 

Volunteer to fight hunger in Worcester!

United Way of Central Massachusetts is excited to take part in National Volunteer week, April 12-18! That’s next week!

We need volunteers for projects that help fight hunger and food insecurity in our community.

Get a team together for a weekday project or bring your friends and family on Saturday!

Have fun and team-build while participating in projects that range from:

Gardening

Labeling seedlings

Building a food pantry …

Limited spots are available for weekday projects.

For more information:

United Way of Central Massachusetts 484 Main St., Worcester

508-757-5631

Farm to you! Register by April 1

Join leaders from across the Northeast who are working to get more local and regional foods into schools, colleges, health care and other institutions for three days of learning, sharing, exploring and connecting.

Register online before April 1 for the Farm to Institution Summit, April 7-9 at UMass Amherst!

CLICK HERE to register!

Scholarships available!

The Farm to School Forum is on April 7

You are welcome to register for one, two or all three days of the conference!

April 8 is the Cross Sector Forum which aims to encourage education, networking and collaboration between organizations, institutions and government agencies within and across state boundaries.

The Farm to College and Farm to Health Care Forums will be held on April 9.

Online registration closes on Wednesday, so act now!

We hope to see you there!

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!

The Worcester County Food Bank makes the holidays brighter

By Jean McMurray, executive director, Worcester County Food Bank

The holidays are upon us and, as always, the Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB) and its network of food pantries are grateful for the generous and warm-hearted people who support our efforts to help feed our neighbors in Worcester County during the month of November and throughout the year.  
 
Neighbors like the two young girls I noticed during a recent visit to one of WCFB’s partner agencies – a church food pantry.  It was a Saturday morning, a beautiful autumn day and the girls were riding their bikes around the neighborhood.  As they rode by, I heard one of the girls ask the other, what food did you get from the church?

The girl exclaimed that she got cupcakes and then added that she also got cereal, rice, and hamburger meat.  As they rode away, I could hear the first girl saying that’s what she got too.  In a matter of moments, I went from feeling glad about the assistance the girls and their families received to feeling sad that a food pantry was a part of their reality at such a young age.

And yet it is a reality for a lot of children and families.  Research by Feeding America, the national network of food banks, suggests that for the majority of households seeking help, pantries are now a part of a household’s long-term strategy to supplement monthly shortfalls in food.

The girls I overheard that day are some of the 35,000 children in 39,000 households in Worcester County – 12% of all households – who do not always know where their next meal is coming from and who turn to WCFB’s network of food pantries and community meal programs for help.  This year, WCFB distributed 5.4 million pounds of food to its network; enough food for approximately 87,000 meals a week.  Individuals and families in need of food can visit WCFB’s website, www.foodbank.org and use the agency locator to find a range of food and nutrition assistance programs.  

The WCFB’s efforts go beyond the distribution of donated food because our mission is to engage, educate, and lead Worcester County in creating a hunger-free community.  We believe that food is a fundamental right of all people and that hunger is an issue of social justice. WCFB is a leading advocate for federal nutrition programs that promote access to healthy food such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps.  For children, we specifically advocate for healthy food and nutritious meals through school breakfast and lunch programs and the summer food service program.   These solutions are systemic and sustainable and they support children and their families in being more food secure and healthy.  

Worcester is a leader in these programs under the guidance of Donna Lombardi, Director of Child Nutrition for the Worcester Public School District.  Worcester families and their children are fortunate to have a strong advocate in Ms. Lombardi and her child nutrition staff who contribute to the educational success of the whole child by addressing their nutritional needs.  They lead a collective effort that includes school administrators, teachers, custodians, and allied organizations such as WCFB and the Worcester Food & Active Living Policy Council in supporting child nutrition programs, such as breakfast in the classroom.

This collaboration has a strong funding partner in the Eos Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation, which has pledged a 10-year commitment to support universal free breakfast in the classroom in income eligible schools across Massachusetts.  In May 2014, the Eos Foundation recognized Ms. Lombardi and Worcester Public Schools with a Healthy Start Leadership Award for reaching 80% or higher student participation in school breakfast programs at 18 schools for the 2013-2014 school year – more than any other school district in the Commonwealth.  The award was accompanied by a $10,000 grant, which has been used to incorporate locally grown fruits and vegetables into the school breakfast program.
And when summer vacation comes around, the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) strives to ensure that children who depend on school breakfast and lunch during the school year still have access to free, nutritious meals and snacks during the summer when school is out. 

Children need consistent nourishment during the summer so their minds and bodies continue to grow and thrive in healthy ways and they return to school in the fall ready to learn.  

However, in Massachusetts, only one in five low-income children who ate a school lunch during the regular 2012-2013 school year was reached by SFSP, according to the Food Research and Action Center.  So WCFB and Worcester Public Schools teamed up and took SFSP on the road, delivering meals to kids in places where they gather to enjoy summer activities.  Our goal was simple: deliver good food and fun in the sun.

With support from the Our Family Foundation by Stop & Shop New England, WCFB purchased a refrigerated truck and donated it to the Worcester Public Schools.  In the summer of 2013, Worcester Public Schools delivered 4,100 to kids at the Bennett Field swimming pool and the Dennis F. Shine Memorial swimming pool.  In 2014, with a second truck funded by Our Family Foundation and donated by WCFB, the city’s five library sites were added to the delivery schedule and the number of meals provided for kids swelled to more than 13,000.  Ms. Lombardi attributed the increase in participation to a couple of factors – meals being served Monday through Saturday and meals that tasted good and were fun to eat such as fresh produce and yogurt parfaits.  

Another critical resource for families with children is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.  This program, also known as WIC, provides nutritious foods, nutrition education, and access to health care to low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children up to age 5.  
 
Child nutrition programs like school meals, summer meals, WIC, and others touch millions of children each day in the United States, and improve educational achievement, economic security, nutrition and health.  More information on these programs can be found at WCFB’s website, www.foodbank.org.

Every five years, Congress reviews a range of child nutrition programs through a reauthorization process and provides funding for these programs to ensure that low-income children have access to healthy and nutritious foods.  The current law, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, is set to expire on September 30, 2015.  Between now and then, the reauthorization process is an opportunity for everyone who cares about kids and their well-being to advocate for improvements to child nutrition and school meal programs so they better meet the needs of Worcester’s children and all our nation’s children. 

Priorities include continuing to support the momentum of school breakfast expansion in every state, strengthening the Summer Food Service Program so they can meet the needs of children and communities when school is out, and ensuring more children have a healthy start by improving early childhood nutrition programs.

Pollinate at Holy Cross college!

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Eating healthy foods! So important for kids! The Massachusetts Farm To School Project works to get great, local produce in our city school cafeterias! This young girl is helping out at this summer’s REC MOBILE FARMERS MARKET VAN.

The Massachusetts Farm to Cafeteria conference!

Jan. 13, 2015

Holy Cross College – Hogan Center

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This conference brings together farm to cafeteria advocates – farmers, food service professionals, educators, policy makers, public health advocates, community organizers, youth leaders and more – for a daylong event with workshops and panel discussions addressing a wide variety of farm to school topics including:

  • local foods procurement and promotion
  • experiential food and nutrition education
  • food, farm, and nutrition policy
  • growing for the institutional market
  • state, regional, and local networking …
  • To read more and register, CLICK HERE

REC brings fresh, affordable produce to Main South and Great Brook Valley! (or: Two great Farmers’ Markets in our inner city!)

By Hannah Payne

The Regional Environmental Council is an environmental justice organization working in Worcester since 1971. This year we are excited to launch a second farmer’s market location as part of our Food Justice Program. The first market has been running since 2008 and is located in the parking lot of the YMCA (766 Main St.) and runs from 10 am – 2 pm every Saturday. The new market is located in Great Brook Valley at the Great Brook Valley Health Center (19 Tacoma St.) and runs from 9 am – 1 pm on Saturdays. This is the first year for the Great Brook Valley market, which had its grand opening June 19. The REC hopes to spread the success of the Main South market to Great Brook Valley. Through the farmer’s markets the REC aims to provide fresh and local produce and food at affordable prices to the Main South and Great Brook Valley communities. With this mission in mind the farmer’s markets accept WIC and senior coupons as well as SNAP (food stamp) benefits.

One of the best things about the REC’s farmer’s markets is that you don’t need cash to shop at the market, credit, debit and EBT cards are all accepted in addition to cash and WIC and senior coupons. One of the most exciting elements is that if you make purchases with your SNAP (food stamp) card all purchases are half price! Local, organic produce is typically expensive in grocery stores but at these farmer’s markets it is accessible to all, thanks to the already reasonable prices and the SNAP deal. Continue reading REC brings fresh, affordable produce to Main South and Great Brook Valley! (or: Two great Farmers’ Markets in our inner city!)