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Food Relief Goes Local

foodrelief

Gardening, Gleaning, and Farming for Food Banks in the U.S.

By Domenic Vitiello, Jeane Ann Grisso, Rebecca Fischman, and Leah Whiteside
A report on research funded by the Penn Center for Public Health Initiatives
2013

Excerpt:

Food banks have recently enlarged their distribution and promotion of fresh vegetables and fruit. Many food banks are accomplishing this through involvement in and connections to local agriculture, in a diverse range of gardening, farming, and eld gleaning programs. Many food banks are also playing expanded roles in building community food security, especially through programs that support gardeners and farmers. As more Americans need food assistance while, at the same time, state and federal funding for food relief is shrinking, scaling up and replicating programs that distribute and support production and consumption of fresh produce oers a vital opportunity to transform food relief systems.

This report summarizes the results of research examining food banks’ engagement in and with local agriculture. e report documents how food banks grow, support production, and acquire fresh fruit and vegetables directly from local farms and gardens in cities and regions across the United States. We include information about the dierent ways that food banks do this as well as estimates of how much fresh, local produce they distribute to hungry people. e report consists of: a brief introduction; a description of our methods; basic summary analysis of our findings; sections on gleaning, gardening, and farming programs, with case studies of best practices at eleven food banks and partner organizations; followed by a brief discussion of some policy implications of their work.

Read the complete report here.