Editor's note: In "Food for Change," we'll profile groups out there connecting people to better food access. In this series we want to applaud the passionate people and organizations doing meaningful work with food in their communities. Please share tips for others to include in this column in the comments below.
- The Alliance to End Hunger is a national anti-hunger group with over 80 member organizations. The Alliance works in many arenas to raise the profile of hunger in America. Through policy initiatives, community outreach programs, and interfaith partnerships, the group heightens awareness and helps its member organizations feed more people in their communities. The Alliance was founded in 2004 and works with corporations, small community groups, philanthropic organizations, and politicians towards their goal of ending hunger.
- In Forest Grove, Oregon, Adelante Mujeres (Rise Up Women) works to empower Latina women and families in the community. The group runs a Latino-friendly farmer's market, with culturally-appropriate offerings, and also provides training in organic agriculture to new Latino/a immigrants. The 12-week training is taught in Spanish and goes over the basics of purchasing land, crop rotations, and pest management strategies. The group also leases a training farm in Forest Grove.
- Growing Minds: Farm to School is a North Carolina-based organization that works on getting fresh, locally-grown food into schools. The group provides resources for starting school gardens, such as seeds and training for staff, as well as educational materials so teachers can bring students into the garden for lessons. The organization facilitates purchasing of local food for interested cafeteria managers, and provides grants for gardens, field trips, and other experiential learning programs for children.
- Athens Locally Grown is an online marketplace for food from farms in and around Athens, Georgia. The group is a semi-cooperative, with a small annual membership fee that goes towards farm tours, trips, and overhead expenses. You can purchase anything from meat to live plants to wood, and pick up your goods in person at a local community hub. The marketplace makes it easy to shop locally and realize the variety of items available in even a small metropolitan area.
- Across the country, the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs is attempting to remedy injustice and unsafe working conditions for farmworkers. Severely underpaid and exposed to harsh, dangerous conditions, farmworkers are among the least well-treated workers in the country. AFOP provides training in pesticide safety, job placement assistance, and raises awareness about the poor conditions that most farmworkers face. AFOP partners with independent community groups as well as the USDA and OSHA.
About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her work has also been featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine.