Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Retail workers dilemma this holiday season

For many low-income workers, the holiday season means extra hours and extra income, but that can also mean that they get cut off from SNAP or other public benefits that are helping their families survive, even though the extra income goes away right after the holidays.

One woman said, "I was on my way to my job when my food stamps were cut off. They had called me to work there overtime for one day and I thought to myself, 'Well, if I go down there this one day, are they going to cut my food stamps off? I really didn't know what to do. I don't think it's fair for us to get reprimanded for doing something positive.'"

Read more about the effects of the SNAP cliff in a new report from Children's health Watch. And find some options for action in their recent blog post.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Saying goodbye to friends and coworkers in Connecticut

It's been a long season of last this and last that for me in Connecticut.  And Friday was my last Foodshare staff holiday party.  I was afraid it would make me cry, but in true Foodshare fashion, they made me laugh until I cried!

To mark my departure from Foodshare, we played a game of Foodshare Feud, with questions about my new home in Canton, NY and my new job at GardenShare. Former Foodshare staffer, Ernie Pitti, joined us as our very nattily dressed MC! Amazingly, though the questions were all about me, the staff won the game!

But I'm the one who received a prize! Unbeknownst to me, the staff at Foodshare had been collecting old t-shirts and memorabilia from past Foodshare events and our own talented Paula turned them into a quilt! A practical gift for someone headed to the North Country in January! They even managed to work in a couple of old logo shirts that had my name embroidered on them!

I will miss this amazing team of people in Hartford, but am also excited about getting to Canton soon and working with all of the amazing people working to further GardenShare's mission of a food secure North Country.

I'll be seeing you all in person soon!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Real Food Media Contest

Another contest!

This contest is the project of the Real Food Media Project, a collaborative initiative using online movies and a web-based action center along with grassroots events around the country to spread the stories of sustainable food and farming.

The Project is especially excited to partner with School Ambassadors who are helping us connect with students who may be interested in participating in the Contest. Ambassadors are also welcome to screen the winning films on campus at the end of the Contest. If you are interested in becoming an Ambassador, please email the project .

New this year, there will be cash prizes for student films and underreported issues. Winning films also get a ton of exposure through distribution networks and Pop-Up Film Festivals (now happening around the world!). In addition, another several dozen new films will live on the website in our Film Library.

For more information and to enter the contest, visit the Real Food Media website. Deadline is January 5.

I'm looking forward to seeing the results of this one, also!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Food Rebel Video Contest

Applegate Natural and Organic Meats is sponsoring the Applegate #FoodRebel Video Contest. The winner will receive a $3000 cash grant! Contestants simply need to submit a 90-second video about how they or someone they know is changing the way their communities eat for the better. Timeline for contests: November 5th- Contest opens for video submissions and voting; December 31st- Submissions Closed; January 10th- Voting concludes; January 11th- Winner announced!

I can't wait to see the results of this contest!  How about you?


Fam to School webinar tomorrow!

Building Community Capacity: Local, regional and national collaborations for farm to school
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 1:00 PM - 1:20 PM EST
How can collaborative networks and innovative partnerships support farm to school? And how can communities build those partnerships and networks? On this webinar we will hear from three panelists offering s statewide, regional and nation perspective on this issue. Register here!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Small grants available for kids garden projects

Katie’s Krops provides small grants to support any vegetable garden, big or small, that is organized by a young person and plans to donate the harvest to charitable organizations. The application deadline is December 31st. Go to Katie’s Krops for more information:

This would be a great way to expand a school garden’s connection to the community or for a young person or group of young people (church youth group?  Scout troop?) to do a community service project!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Serving people in need with dignity

Did you see the segment on last Sunday's "60 Minutes" called War and Hunger?

Some of the segment moved me to tears to see the struggles of people in countries torn by war and where food is used as a weapon.

But the show also brought great joy, to see the work of the World Food Programme, and its tireless and passionate team. And especially to see former Feeding America executive Ertharin Cousin, who is now the Executive Director of the WFP.

With Ertharin's leadership, the WFP has taken a new approach to feeding people in refugee camps. Instead of the mass feeding, cafeteria style, that you are used to seeing in the wake of a disaster or crisis, the WFP is building supermarkets! Each refugee family is then given a food card and they can get their own food, prepare their own meals, and eat together as a family!

Doesn't this make sense?

It's the disaster equivalent of providing SNAP benefits in the US or of the best practice of providing client choice at food pantries in the US. We recommend that, instead of pre-packing bags for families, the families be allowed to choose their own food. It's more dignified, less food is wasted, and it let's the volunteers interact with the clients in new ways - ways that might actually build human relationships and help a family on the road to self-sufficiency.

We need to feed people who are hungry, whether the disaster is natural or man-made, and whether it's here in the US or overseas. But can't we do it in a way that preserves the dignity of the person needing the assistance?


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Treating hunger as a health issue

Just as health systems are improving patient outcomes by basing in-store clinics in food stores and partnering with retail dietitians and pharmacists, healthcare providers are paying close attention to social determinants of health such as food insecurity, in traditional diagnostic settings.

Take, for instance, non-profit Promedica, which serves a 27-county area of Northwest Ohio and Southwest Michigan that was particularly hard hit by the recession and collapse of the auto industry. It’s started to screen all patients admitted to five of its 17 hospitals about their ability to feed themselves and their families.

Read the full story online here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giving Tuesday

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday have all passed.  Today is Giving Tuesday, a nationwide effort to encourage everyone to give to their favorite charities in this season of shopping and buying.

Will you support GardenShare's work to build a North Country where everyone has enough to eat and enough to share?

Go here to make your donation.

Thank you!