Huddle Notes from August 3rd, 2020

The huddles this week focused on an innovative food pantry model, how community investment has changed, and our food systems need for a major overhaul to benefit the US economy. Watch the recording here.

Talking Points

  • Livingston Food Resource Center – Michael McCormick, Founder and Executive Director
    • LFRC is a food pantry and a shared kitchen that intentionally purchases and serves fresh local foods purchased directly from farms, with minimal processing.
    • The organization integrates many departments which are often seen as individual organizations.
      • One organization creates synergy between these programs or departments that separate organizations would not have, plus there is an added benefit of not needing multiple executive directors, etc.
      • Includes: a culinary program that propels the Meals on Wheels program and clients of the food pantry, a community room for rent, and a bakery.
        • Bakery: sells their bread to locals and other food pantries.
          • Currently selling $1700/week in bread during COVID to 6 other food pantries.
        • At the beginning of quarantine, they saw a 300% increase in visits to their food pantry. Now it’s leveled off to 150-200%.
          • Livingston has a population of 3000.
          • Their economy is heavily reliant on tourism, which offers the residents many seasonal food service-related jobs that are not thriving at the moment.

Trends

  • Food Pantries
    • On average, during non-COVID times, 60,000 food pantries are feeding 40 million people.
    • What if every food pantry spent $1000 a month out of their budget on fresh food purchased directly from farmers? This would be a $360M market for farmers!
  • Meat consumption is down in 2020, plant-based food continues to increase.

Tips & Next Steps

  • Watch Senator Corey Booker’s Keynote at the Virtual Food Policy Conference
    • The keynote covers how the food system is connected to issues the US is facing right now: economic justice, racial justice, environmental justice, healthcare and health justice.
  • Listen to the Edible-Alpha® Podcast on the Livingston Food Resource Center model on Transforming A Food Pantry Into an Engine for Rural Prosperity

 

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