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 California Food Policy Advocates work on policy and legal issues to help low-income communities gain access to healthy and affordable food. They focus on issues such as school breakfast and lunch programs, the SNAP program in California, and summer nutrition programs. Over the years they have sponsored and helped to pass important pieces of legislation that have had a strong impact on the quality of food available to low-income families and their children. CFPA has been working on these issues for almost 10 years.
- Bread for the World is a national Christian organization that mobilizes communities to advocate for ending hunger. Each year, the group leads a letter-writing campaign to members of Congress in which they address pressing concerns of hungry populations. They claim to do more lobbying on poverty issues than any other organization in the country. Along with its connections in over 4,000 Christian congregations, BFTW also organizes with Jewish and Muslim congregations to address hunger in their communities.
- Faith in Place is a Chicago-based group that works on food issues by collaborating with over 900 faith organizations across Illinois. The group holds policy workshops at the beginning of each Illinois General Assembly session, and lays out a plan for the year in food policy. Among their numerous initiatives include running farmers markets, partnering on climate change programs with other faith-based organizations, and holding community discussion workshops to brainstorm the best ways to address sustainability issues.
- Accomplished chef Marc Vetri established the Vetri Foundation for Kids to help schools provide a healthier, more wholesome eating experience for young students. The organization's vision is that providing students with enough healthy food will help increase class performance and will empower students to make healthy choices later in life. The Foundation provides specific tips and guidelines on its website for schools looking to improve their cafeterias.
- For more than 35 years, Capital District Community Gardens has helped communities in upstate New York develop community gardens and urban greening programs. The group turns vacant lots into green spaces, and manages nearly 50 community gardens around Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Saratoga Counties. They also run programs to help improve access to healthy food in those counties. CDCG plants hundreds of trees each year in more urban areas.
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.