Food for Change: 5 Food Groups Doing Great Work

Food for Change

Profiles on causes and organizations that are addressing issues of poverty, poor health, and food access.

  • The North Texas Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, has worked since 1982 to address hunger in the region. Each year, they distribute 33 million meals to kids, seniors, and families. The group estimates that there is a need for 300,000 nutritious meals in North Texas each day - they provide about 90,000. Their kids programs provide healthy food for after-school programs, during the summer, and over the weekends.
  • The Whole Planet Foundation was started by Whole Foods Market in 2007, in partnership with Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank. The Foundation's purpose is to fund microfinance institutions in communities around the world that supply products to Whole Foods stores. Microcredit is a system that allows entrepreneurs to lift themselves out of poverty by receiving and paying back small loans. Their website has many charts detailing their local impact and lending practices.
  • Rock and Wrap it Up! works with bands, sports teams, and hotels to donate leftover prepared food to local community members. Many high-profile groups have participated in RAWIU's work since their founding in 1991. The organization also has chapters at high schools and colleges across the country, and works on anti-hunger advocacy in Washington. To find out how to participate in their many programs, visit their website.
  • Food Forward is a Los Angeles-based organization that gleans leftover fruits and vegetables from farms and donates them to local food pantries across Southern Calfornia. The group has been gleaning since 2009, and has harvested over 922,000 pounds of food in that short time. 100% of their gleaned products are donated to food pantries. It's easy to get involved as a volunteer at their many harvests, especially during the summer season.
  • Another gleaning organization, Neighborhood Harvest, has a slightly different model. Working in Ashland, Oregon, this group harvests from backyards around the community. 25% of fruit and nuts harvested is donated, 25% is for the harvesters, 25% goes to the property owners, and the remaining 25% is sold to support the organization. The group harvests only pesticide-free products. They are also working on a map of backyard fruit- and nut-producing trees in the area.

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.