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Wed May 4 18:08:57 EDT 2011


Ground Up operates three gardens/farms on 12 acres, producing over
60,000
lbs. of food last year. About 35% of the produce goes to the 125
members of
the community supported agriculture arrangement, who subsidize much of
the
operating costs for the rest of the program. Another 10% or so is sold
to
restaurants and health food stores, and the other 50% is sold at well
below
market price through the seven farm stands. 

As with the Pittsburgh model, these farm stands were designed to
increase
community access to fresh foods in isolated areas. They also serve as
economic development vehicles, providing part time jobs and profits
for
community organizations and churches.  Leigh Hauter, director of the
program,
notes however that one of the primary reasons for the farmstands is to
make
connections and organize low income communities,  while helping them
to
better understand questions of food security and environmental
sustainability. 
In Los Angeles, the 1992 civil disturbances proved to be the impetus
for the
L.A. Regional Foodbank to become a more active force in its low income
community through the development of a community garden. With federal
urban
greening funding, the Foodbank developed the 7.5 acre patch adjacent
to its
warehouse.  Increased self-reliance is only one benefit for the
garden's 150
members. Located in a neighborhood devoid of parks, the garden has
become an
important community place for meetings and celebration. Birthday
parties and
barbecues are common on weekends. 

The garden has been so successful (with an 80 person waiting list),
that the
food bank will be developing the second adjacent 7.5 acre parcel. The
Foodbank now has two community gardening persons on staff, and is
planning to
assist pantries in developing their own gardens. 

Four hundred miles to the north in Oakland, the Alameda County
Community Food
Bank has been attempting to foster relationships between local growers
and
residential treatment programs. Motivated by a desire to help support
small
organic farmers while educating low-income consumers on seasonal
eating and
the environmental impacts of food production, the Food Bank project is
the
vision of staff nutritionist Leslie Mikkelsen. She notes that, "I feel
that
we have a role in the local food system. Because we are concerned
about food
security we should be concerned about preserving agricultural
sustainability." 

The project has run into a few snags since its inception six months
ago.
Having run out of funding, the Project has yet to convince a treatment
program to purchase directly from a farmer. Leslie thinks that this is
because they have focused on high-priced organic produce and farmers
who
don't produce sufficient variety to meet the needs of the treatment
programs.
She notes that any future effort will most likely include larger scale
growers (100-200 acres) and focus on local rather than organic
agriculture.

These are just a sampling of the many food security projects that food
banks
across the country are undertaking. In Atlanta, the Food Bank has
developed
an educational program with a Hunger 101  curriculum as well as hosts
a
community forum on affordable housing every month. The Greater Boston
Food
Bank operates the Kitchen Works Program which adds value to bulk and
surplus
foods to make nutritious alternatives. In Hatfield MA, the Western
Massachusetts Food Bank operates a CSA farm much like the ones in
Pittsburgh
and Washington.

For other food banks interested in taking on similar projects, a few
common
themes run through each of these organizations' experiences. 
*  Financial sustainability: Find a way to keep the Project from
draining the
food bank's resources. Funders often like these kind of projects.
Revenue
generating arrangements like CSAs can provide an important subsidy.
* Vision and Plan: Having an eye for where you're going can keep your
project
on-track and free from multiple side distractions.
* Step by Step: Most successful projects added one component at a
time. Don't
try to solve all the problems at once. They'll wait for you.   
* Know Your Limitations: A couple food banks had to put a halt to
their job
training components of their programs once they realized that they
weren't
equipped to be providing the life skills training that the workers
needed. 

For more information:
Joyce Rothermel; Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, 412-672-4949.
Doris
Bloch; LA Regional Foodbank, 213-234-3030. Bill Bolling; Atlanta
Community
Food Bank, 404-892-9822. Leigh Hauter; Capitol Area Community Food
Bank, 202
526 5344. Leslie Mikkelsen; Alameda County Community Food Bank,
510-568-3663.
Maria Markham; Greater Boston Food Bank, 617-427- 5200. David Sharken;
Western Mass. Food Bank, 413-247-9738

FROM THE FIELD
Upcoming conferences:
National Association of the Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, October
18-21;
Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Mark Winne, 203-296-9325.

The American Community Gardening Association's Gardening: Pathways to
Community, October 5- 8; Portland, Oregon. Leslie Pohl-Kosbau,
Portland Parks
and Recreation, 503-823-1612. 

The Marin Institute's Safe Communities: Toward a Comprehensive Urban
Agenda,
October 5-8; St. Helena, South Carolina.  Sheila James, Marin
Institute,
415-456- 0491.

The 1995 Western Region Community Supported Agriculture, November
12-14; San
Francisco. Jared Lawson, CSA West,  408-459-3964. 

Northeast SAWG, "Annual Harvest Fair Conference," October 10-11;
Hebron, MA.
Kathy Ruhf, New England Small Farm Institute, 413-323-4531.

The California Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's Rural-Urban
Partnerships for a Sustainable Food System, December 2-3; Menlo Park.
Kai
Siedenburg, CALSAWG, 408-458-5304.

The National Congress for Community Economic Development' A Vision for
Change
through Community Economic Development, October 5-7;  Portland,
Oregon.
NCCED, 202-234-5009.

The E. F. Schumacher Society's 15th Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures
featuring Cathrine Sneed, Paul Hawken, and Kent Whealy, October 21;
New
Haven, CT. E. F. Schumacher Society, 413-528-1737.

Projects and Studies
Nationwide: The University of CT's Food Marketing Policy Center
recently
released a comprehensive study of the lack of supermarkets in 21 inner
cities. Entitled, "The Urban Grocery Store Gap," it is available from
Ronald
Cotterill at 203-486-1927.  

San Francisco: The San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners Alemany
Urban
Youth Farm  provides an integrated model for an urban farm. It
includes
community gardening, youth job training, a vinegar product
microenterprise
components, as well as a greenhouse, orchards, and appropriate
technology.
For more information, contact Muhammad Nuru, 415-285-SLUG

Los Angeles: Venice High School has teamed up with the environmental
organization Earthsave, Common Ground Gardening Program, and some of
the
best-known chefs in Los Angeles to implement the Healthy School Meals
Program. This program will educate students on the environmental
impacts of
their food choices, assist the food service director in providing
healthy
alternatives in the school cafeteria, and revamp the school's
extensive
garden. For more information, contact Susan Campbell at Earthsave,
408-423-4069.

Electronic Resources:
SANET is a computer network dedicated to sustainable agriculture
concerns. To
sign up, e-mail to almanac at ces.ncsu.edu In the body of your e-mail,
write
<subscribe sanet-mg>

PANUPS is the newsletter of the Pesticide Action Network. It covers
many
sustainable agriculture and pesticide related issues. To sign up, send
e-mail
to majordomo at igc.apc.org, and write in the body of the text <subscribe
panups>
 
Farm Bill Review  covers a broad range of agricultural and nutrition
concerns
related to the Farm Bill. To subscribe,  e-mail to iatp at igc.apc.org,
and in
the body of the e-mail write <subscribe farm bill>

SNE_DSFS is an e-mail group for, but not limited to, members of the
Division
of Sustainable Food Systems of the Society for Nutrition Education.
Information is shared on topics such as sustainable ag, food
processing, food
and ag biotechnology, CSA's, etc.  To sign up, send a message asking
to
subscribe to carolg at umce.umext.maine.edu . 
WELFARE REFORM ANALYSIS
Ed. note:  Given the potential impact of proposed welfare reform
legislation
on the food security of low-income individuals, as well as its
pressing
nature, we have chosen to focus this page on the welfare reform debate
and
legislation currently making its way through Congress. This article
presents
a synopsis of the Dole bill- the one most likely to be acted upon,
followed
by a summary of the negative effects that this bill would have on
low-income
persons. If passed, this bill would have to reconciled with the House
version
(HR4) in conference committee, and then signed or vetoed by the
President. 

Frank Tamborello, Southern Calif. Interfaith Hunger Coalition

Senator Dole's proposal is called S. 1120. It contains a total of $16
billion
in food stamp cuts over five years. The cuts include an across the
board
reduction in benefit levels, a reduction in the allowable standard
deduction,
a repeal in increases in the minimum benefit level, a repeal in the
increase
in the value of a vehicle that the household may own, and a change
requiring
energy assistance to be counted as income in determining food stamp
eligibility.

In addition, the Dole bill includes an option for a state to decide to
block
grant the food stamp program. Once the state 
did this, it could not return to the federal food stamp program.
Benefits
would have to be in the form of coupons, commodities, or through
electronic
transfer (not cash). 80% of the block grant funds would have to be
used for
food. Some Senators may offer amendments to increase state legislation
involvement in the decision to choose block grants over the federal
program.
Dole's bill cuts the child nutrition programs by over $2 billion over
5
years. Most of the cuts are reductions in reimbursement rates for
children
who pay full price for school to provide child care under any
circumstances.
Among the expected amendments: reduction of federal funding if a state
does
not maintain its current level of welfare spending, and additional
funding
for child care.

Ed Bolen, CFPA
We urge you to contact the White House, 202-456-1414, to express your
opposition to any legislation that contains the following components.
Block Grants:  Block grant proposals, for AFDC as well as Food Stamps,
would
remove the entitlement status of these programs which is a guarantee
that
those that fulfill all eligibility requirements would receive aid.  In
the
current proposed legislation, people who need help may not get it
because the
state could simply run out of money.  Without entitlements, a state
recess,
local plant closure or natural disaster would result in more need for
assistance without any guarantees.
Loss of funding: All proposals include deep cuts to nutrition and cash
assistance programs, and remove a state maintenance of effort
requirement
that would allow states to cease funding AFDC and other programs.
Removal of Federal Standards:  Especially for nutrition programs,
federal
rules ensure equal access and program quality.
Time Limits for Aid: The five year time limit is arbitrary, doesn't
take into
account individual situations and needs, and ignores the deeper need
for job
training and child care.
Denial of Aid to Legal Immigrants: Denying benefits to recent
immigrants and
those that are unable to make it through the citizenship process is
discriminatory and based on the myth that immigrants are draining our
resources.
Child Exclusions: Denying aid to unmarried teenage mothers, children
born to
women on assistance and cutting benefits until paternity of the
children is
legally established unfairly punishes the children and struggling
families.




L.F.London ICQ#27930345 lflondon at mindspring.com
http://www.ibiblio.org/ecolandtech  london at ibiblio.org



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