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.
- A group of students at Arizona State University are about to launch a food recovery program that is fueled through social media. The students come from diverse backgrounds, and have studied food insecurity issues around Phoenix. FlashFood would provide a system for businesses such as delis, restaurants, and caterers to alert the group when excess food is available for pick-up. Then, FlashFood can be in touch with local food pantries to arrange for a donation delivery. The group is set to launch in the next few months.
- Veritable Vegetable is an organic foods distributor based out of San Francisco. The organization buys wholesale produce and sells it in smaller quantities to restaurants, co-ops and other small purchasers. The group is committed to their principles of sustainable purchasing, connecting consumers and producers, and building a sustainable foodshed through small transactions. Their trucks primarily serve California and areas of Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada.
- The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society runs several gardens across Philadelphia, and runs programs to engage the community in their upkeep. One of these program is the Roots to Reentry job training program, which trains inmates from the Philadelphia Prison System to work in some of the city's gardens. Participants receive 14 to 16 weeks of training, which can later be helpful in finding a new job and transitioning back into the workforce.
- In Kansas City, thousands of residents live several miles from a grocery store and lack transportation to easily access those stores. As a consequence, food insecurity is high. Beans&Greens, a program of the Menorah Legacy Foundation, is seeking to bring healthier and locally grown food to these underserved communities. B&G partners with farmers, mobile markets, and corner stores to create new spaces for local food purchasing. The group also provides financial incentives for consumers to use their EBT benefits to buy healthy foods. These "matching" programs allow for consumers to double or triple the amount of produce they can buy.