Food Sharing Shines
Food sharing, security and distribution are hot topics around the country.
We are blessed in the US with a bounty of food and good agricultural land, yet amazingly 1 in 6 Americans face hunger. At the same time, about 40% of all food produced goes to waste. Better systems for growing, distributing and feeding are clearly needed.
In Fayetteville, we are lucky to have several groups working to feed the community through better distribution of current food resources. There are also many community, school and market garden projects happening around the area. Two of my favorite local organizations are Feed Communities and Cobblestone Project. Feed Communities has a broad mission to support more durable food systems, meaning better systems for growing, selling and distributing food in Northwest Arkansas. Their pilot program, Feed Fayetteville, is helping to reduce waste, end hunger and build a stronger, healthier community. Cobblestone Project aims to end community need in Northwest Arkansas by building bridges between those in need and those with resources.
Seeds That Feed is another great local organization. STF collects and distributes surplus food to those in need. The cool part is they found their personal calling while filling a need in the community. They started by showing up at our Fayetteville Farmers Market, talking to people, finding out what was needed, and began collecting excess food harvests to distribute to community members in need. They are seeking to address food waste, food insecurity and misallocation of resources.
Top image from Food is Free at a community food sharing event.
Nationally, Feeding America is working to end food hunger in the United States.
The Farm to School Network is focused on growing food at schools to connect the children to their food directly. The programs supply fresh food to the cafeteria, while teaching kids about growing plants, food and stewardship. Good stuff!
The Food Recovery Network is another great program to reduce food waste at universities. FRN has 95 chapters in 26 states and has recovered over 400,000 pounds of food to date. Chapters work with dining halls and eateries to collect food, divert it to community members in need, and educate the community about food waste. The University of Arkansas is one of the members, and recently diverted about 12,000 lbs of food from a single event!
Here are 23 other great food sharing projects from around the country.
Food is just one aspect of a broader movement to create more resilient communities.
There is a growing awareness of how resiliency can help a community thrive and build systems to handle challenges like natural disasters, food insecurity, homelessness and more.
Groups around the country are organizing to build resilient communities. Locally, Joanna Pollock started a group called Growing Resilient Initiatives Together (GRIT). “We share our ideas, stories and concerns with one another so we can encourage one another and collaborate when it makes sense. Together we create more social cohesion, which also makes us more resilient!”
Deborah Frieze speaks to why we need groups and connections to help us be resilient. “Resilience is the ability to anticipate risk, limit impact, and bounce back rapidly through survival, adaptability, evolution, and growth in the face of turbulent change.”
Explore what your community is doing to address food security, food waste and resiliency. If you don’t find anything, maybe the stories and organizations above can help you get started.
19 thoughts on “Food Sharing Shines”
As always Brad, you come bearing good news which is to be most welcomed in these uncertain times. Wouldn’t it be wonderful though, if we were able to provide jobs with decent wages sufficient for people to make their own choices when it came to feeding themselves and their kin? There is a greater dignity in this I think.
The gift of food is, of course, life sustaining; it is perhaps the most potent of gifts and is all the more beautiful for that. And yet for so many to be dependent upon the generosity of others is something of a failing of society surely? The best of all news would be the peaceful realisation of a global solution perhaps?
With gratitude and respect as ever Brad.
I agree Hariod. You remind us of the larger context for wanting and creating a society where we all have access to healthy food, resources, jobs, dignity and more. I focused on this aspect partly due to my surprise at how many are food insecure and to share this post with our local group as a resource. Cross purposing my content. 🙂 Thanks for your thoughtful response. 🙂
Here in England, charitable giving has become almost a social activity perpetuated and propagated by the mainstream media. This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it provides help where it’s needed, and on the other, it absolves government of its responsibilities to nurture a collective and communal attitude that inheres throughout society. Once the public tires of the media’s attentions in respect to their giving – what then?
Sadly, this is very true here too. I’m grateful for the charities, but mostly they aren’t addressing the cause of the problems with systemic change, though some are. That is why I like the resiliency and sharing economy models that are attempting to create new systems that are cooperative and more able to respond to local situations as needed.
Brad what a great post.. Food is the most important things And here too in the UK the mountain of food waste is unbelievable.. mainly from the supermarkets with sell by dates being thrown which are still perfectly good food.. The one good thing here is that they are hoping to change the EU law and do away with sell-by dates on certain products.. Whats wrong with our eyes and our nose at telling us when something is off or not..
I am extremely lucky in that we grow our own food most of it.. But we share what we don’t use and give away lots..
I see a system way in the future whereby we will be bartering Food and our services and skills with one another.. Community will mean just that.. where all will have to share to provide. because I can not see the present systems keep going.. A big revolution will happen if the imbalance is not addressed soon.. Great Links.. I was unable to view some as they were on FB and I don’t subscribe.. but the Video I thought very informative..
Thank you Brad a lot of forethought went into this post..
I agree with all you say here Sue – I live in the U.K. too.
Thank you Hariod.. I just paid a visit to your blog too.. and liked what I saw.. 🙂 I will be back.. 🙂
You’re welcome Sue, I agree with you and Hariod. Communities are connecting, sharing, and producing in many cooperative models that bypass current systems. Similarly, there is a whole sharing economy movement as a business model. Yes, there is a great imbalance, though I hope it won’t be a complete falling apart or revolution that could cause even more suffering. I’m glad you are able to grow and share much of your food. My harvest has been very meager, though I still share. blessings,
As evidenced in your post, Brad, there are myriad organizations that are thinking globally and acting locally. This is encouraging. Grassroots efforts yield desired outcomes and can serve to initiate a ripple effect. These efforts demonstrate a model similar to how start-ups and entrepreneurs spark growth when/where governments and corporations do not. In the ripple effect vein, this how we will accomplish important social goals. Good topic to promote!
Thanks Eric, I’m glad to see that people found this post useful. Feel free to share it. 🙂 Like you, I think it’s an important topic and hope that these creative new approaches will help reshape our food & lifestyle models with positive ripples. Hopefully, we won’t need a falling apart or revolution as a couple of other readers mentioned.
Lovely post, and an example of true agency. It brings hope. You know, I was reading that just 10% of what gets spend on military in America would be able to abolish world hunger (Reference: Joanna Macy)?
Thanks Nicci. I believe hope is important. Yes, I wish we could divert parts or much of the military budget. I believe we put far too many resources toward the military and related contractors. That money could be used for so many social issues like hunger, education, environment, etc. Thanks for caring.
Thank you for spreading information about these vibrant community to country-wide resources on your blog. I am so inspired by the community gardens, farmers markets and CSAs popping up all over my state (and this is regardless of the income level of the community). It’s happening everywhere and I think people are beginning to understand the change that we can create when we join together as a community.
You’re welcome Kate, I’m glad to hear that your area has a growing community involvement with food too. It gives me hope and I agree that joining as community can give us more strength, creativity, resiliency, etc.
to hope and community! 🙂
Creating systems that help stop hunger is a sacred mission, in my opinion. No-one should have to go without food in a country capable of feeding all.
I totally agree Cynthia. It’s amazing how much we grow that is thrown away or goes bad. It’s mostly a distribution problem.
It is quite strange when there is so much food, that some have so little. But I guess this problem is nothing new! Organization, or the lack of it, has a lot to do with how people get left out, without help and go totally unnoticed, but selfish thinking probably has a lot more to do with the main problem – in many ways, including employers not paying their workers enough. Although that problem was actually been a lot worse in the past for Britain, America and a most of Europe, but for others in some eastern countries, it hasn’t gone away at all. But how do we get rid of selfish thinking? Unfortunately it’s very embedded into humanity. The only thing any of us can do, is deal with our own thinking, and maybe at times (when appropriate) embarrass a few of those selfish ones.
Agreed Suzy. It’s a strange paradox on the many imbalances in our world; economic, food, and more between the haves and have nots. My vision is for more people living for the good of all. And it begins with each of us doing what we can to live what we value. Thanks for caring. Blessings, Brad
Pingback: Awesome Stories 324 | writing to freedom