On a warm September morning in 2019, I joined some members of the food system community in north Florida during the North Florida Crop-Up event hosted by Feeding Florida to discuss ways to get fresh, local produce on dinner tables in our areas. Partners like Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service’s Fresh From Florida and Food Recovery Program, UF-IFAS’s Family Nutrition Program, Red Hills Online Farmers Markets, Frenchtown Farmers Market, Florida Farmers Market Association, and farmers from around the panhandle gathered at the Leon County UF-IFAS extension office.
The Feeding Florida staff veggie-punned their way through a detailed agenda and provided a broad picture of the food system opportunities that could greatly benefit our community. From opportunities like Fresh Access Bucks at farmers markets that accept SNAP, to how to add the Fresh From Florida logo on products, to even discussing natural disaster recovery, no stone was left unturned.
A vegetable-packed lunch was served and gave time for connections to be made between community members. I was able to connect with a city employee serving with the Southside Farmers Market and discuss the need for healthy corner stores on the south end of Tallahassee. He was very interested in learning more about the project, and I have since reached out to his office in hopes to discuss a future project.
We broke out into groups of interest where I was paired with other community nonprofit/grant-funded folks where we discussed the Map the Meal Gap, a report on food insecurity and county food cost in the United States. Tools like these are very useful when speaking to our elected officials about needs in our communities, especially when programs could soon be cut, hurting the most vulnerable. The need for more advocates grows as the proposals for more cuts are written.
Will you work with us to insure access to fresh, local, nutritious food in our communities?
– Kelli Greene
Florida Impact to End Hunger