AmeriCorps Wellness 360 Looking Forward at First Grace
Food Access Food Access means all community members have access to “good food”. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation describes such food as being: Healthy Fair Green Affordable
Food SecurityWhen a person does not have access to “goodfood” they become “food insecure”. Someaccess issues that lead to food insecurity are:
Access Issues Living in a “food desert” People in this situation do not have adequate grocery stores close to them. They must rely on convenience stores or take the bus/walk/ride bike to the nearest grocery store. This limits the amount of food that people can purchase in one trip.
Access Issues (Continued) Transportation issues Although many farmer’s markets take food stamps, it can be difficult for low income community members to find transportation to the market locations.
Access Issues (Continued) High price of healthy food Those who are on a limited budget often must make the choice between purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables and purchasing cheap foods that make you feel full for less money. Because of government subsidies, it is often the unhealthy, empty calorie foods that are the cheapest.
The NeedOhio has been particularly hard hit byeconomic troubles. Akron unemploymentlevels are in double digits and EmergencyFood Providers have seen dramatic increasesin the need for food.
Solving the problem The issues of food access and foodinsecurity can be addressed by thinkingabout them in terms of: Community Food Security
Community Food Security “Community food security is a condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice.”--Mike Hamm and Anne Bellows
6 Principles of CFS Low Income Food Needs Like the anti-hunger movement, CFS is focused on meeting the food needs of low income communities, reducing hunger and improving individual health. Broad Goals CFS addresses a broad range of problems affecting the food system, community development, and the environment such as increasing poverty and hunger, disappearing farmland and family farms, inner city supermarket redlining, rural community disintegration, rampant suburban sprawl, and air and water pollution from unsustainable food production and distribution patterns.
6 Principles (Continued)• Community Focus A CFS approach seeks to build up a community’s food resources to meet it’s own needs. These resources may include supermarkets, farmers’ markets, gardens, transportation, community-based food processing ventures, and urban farms to name a few.• Self Reliance/Empowerment Community food security projects emphasize the need to build individuals’ abilities to provide for their food needs. Community food security seeks to build upon community and individual assets, rather than focus on their deficiencies, CFS projects seek to engage community residents in all phases of project planning.
6 Principles (Continued)• Local Agriculture A stable local agricultural base is key to a community responsive food system. Farmers need increased access to markets that pay them a decent wage for their labor, and farmland needs planning protection from suburban development. By building stronger ties between farmers and consumers, consumers gain a greater knowledge and appreciation for their food source.• Systems-Oriented CFS projects typically are “inter-disciplinary,” crossing many boundaries and incorporating collaborations with multiple agencies. These principles are from The Community Food Security Coalition www.foodsecurity.org
What Weve Done So FarThe following slides illustrate how we haveput the 6 principles of Community FoodSecurity to work during our 2010-2011AmeriCorps year
People’s Choice Food Pantry Shoppers have the opportunity to choose which groceries will fit their own situation the best. This allows not only less food waste, but a greater sense of dignity.
Local ProduceOur AmeriCorps team hasintroduced fresh produceinto the pantry. Some ofthe produce comes fromthe Akron-CantonRegional Food Bank andsome is surplus donated bylocal farmers.
Kitchen Utensils Thanks to a generous donation from Local Roots Co-Op in Wooster, The pantry was able to start offering pots, pans, and other kitchen utensils.
Spice DriveWe organized a spicedrive to be able to offerspices at pantry. Forfamilies that rely on thefood pantry, spices canturn ordinary foods intosomething special.
Newsletter Our newsletter includes healthy recipes with a focus on pantry ingredients. We spotlight vegetables and further engage the area by including profiles of local community members.
Cooking DemosOur demos showpantry shoppers how touse unfamiliaringredients, highlightsrecipes from ournewsletter, and givesshoppers the chance tosample deliciouspantry food.
Farmers Market Outing To address the issue of transportation to the Farmer’s Market, our team has collaborated with Countryside Conservancy. We will give interested community members a ride to the market, and the conservancy will give a lesson on how to stretch your food dollar while there.
Community MealsThe AmeriCorps Focus on fresh,team plans the local ingredientsfirst Saturday Provide servicefree lunch. with dignity A dinner party that the whole community is invited to.
After School Program Gives children the opportunity to eat more fruits,vegetables, and healthy foods Gives them the opportunity to exercise
Teen Meal Opportunity to introduce teens to new foods like Quiche and Spaghetti Squash Gives teens the chance to learn valuable cooking skills
Wellness Fairs Our MLK wellness fair allowed the community to gather information on a variety of important social services. We plan on having more fairs that will enable a conversation between the community and the organizations that serve us.
Outreach The AmeriCorps team has also partnered with a church in the Summit Lake Neighborhood to develop an after school program focused on feeding healthy food to hungry kids.
OutreachThe AmeriCorps teamhas worked withFreedom House, ahomeless shelter forveterans, and cooked ameal to share with theresidents.
Building The FutureThe following ideas can help us continue tofollow the 6 principles of Community Food Security
Volunteer Recruitment As our programs grow we can recruit volunteers from the community to help build self reliance. We will be looking for volunteers to help:Community gardenShare recipes for newsletterTeach community members basic cooking skillsAssist with pantryAssist with community meals
Building Relationships We will continue to build relationships with other groups that are committed to attaining Community Food Security. Such groups include:Crown Point Ecology CenterCountryside ConservancySummit Food Policy CoalitionOhio State University Extension OfficeFreedom House