Allison has a great post over at the UNH Sustainability Blog about the food baskets program we’re working on for the Holiday Farmers’ Markets:
Perhaps you’ve read the headlines:
Food Bank Inventories at an All-time Low
Demand is up – Donations are Down at NH Food Banks
Unfortunately, these are not from last week’s papers but illustrate an issue that has been ongoing for the last two years here in NH. Increased cost of heating and transportation leave many families without enough money to pay their bills and buy food for the table. Thus an increase in demand and a decrease in people’s ability to donate, have strained food banks in NH and the rest of the country.
It is now the time of year – with holidays’ approaching – that many food drives begin and food banks and food pantry’s are hoping to restock their shelves before winter. At UNH, the Cornucopia Food Pantry serves the local community and perhaps you have seen information about the “basket of hope” program where individuals or UNH Departments come together to donate an entire basket of food for a family. This has been an incredible successful program and much appreciated by the families who receive the baskets.
I’m a local food supporter and one of those who mostly shops the perimeter of the supermarket. Okay – there is the occasional foray into the snack food aisle for cheese puffs – but other than that, I just don’t eat a lot of canned or processed food. Looking into the food donation bins at the supermarket exit, they are usually loaded with boxes of potato buds or cans of creamed corn. I’m not likely to buy that sort of item so what can I do to support local families in need?
This year there is a great alternative! Cornucopia has partnered with Seacoast Eat Local to donate baskets that are full of locally grown food. On November 22 and December 20, Seacoast Eat Local is hosting Holiday Farmers’ Markets at the McIntosh Atlantic Culinary Academy in Dover. A group of UNH students and other volunteers will be there accepting monetary donations from market shoppers on behalf of Cornucopia. They will then take those dollars and purchase food directly from farmers at the market and deliver the food to Cornucopia in time for distribution before the holidays. I can’t think of a better way to support both local families and local farmers!
Kudos to the minds and hearts that came together to make this happen! To me, its a perfect example of how to creating a healthy and supportive food community. If you want to add to the success of this fantastic program, here’s how you can do it.
- Shop at the market, take home some local holiday food and donate a few dollars for baskets.
- Sign up to donate a fresh produce basket to Cornucopia directly. http://www.cornucopia.unh.edu
- Volunteer to help Seacoast Eat Local work at the market or help assemble the baskets. http://www.seacoasteatlocal.org
- Go to the Slow Food Seacoast annual 100-mile Thanksgiving potluck on November 14 at 6:00. Your donation at the door will directly benefit this program and you’ll enjoy an evening of great fun, food and community friendship. More info at http://www.slowfoodseacoast.org
What Allison may not know is that it was a connection made by the Office of Sustainability that brought this collaboration together and sent Sarah T., the UNH student in charge of the program, our way!