Growing Our Winter Food SupplyProject led by Community Food Initiatives
About the project.
Community Food Initiatives’ Donation Station increases regional food security through supporting local farms and providing healthy food to neighbors in cooperation with network of over 40 food pantry and meal program partners. We estimate 31,600 people are served yearly through Donation Station distributions. In Athens County, CFI’s primary service area, 75% of residents’ income falls below the SNAP program requirement, and food insecurity is the highest in the state at over 19%.
The Donation Station was piloted in 2007 with the support of local farmers to address this community need and has grown over the past fourteen years to distribute over 132,000 pounds of food in 2020 alone. The Community Food Initiatives (CFI) Donation Station is unique in that it works directly with local farmers, growers, and gardeners to provide fresh, local food to those in need.
This service complements more traditional food pantry distributions of shelf-stable and processed food products, helping improve the health of community members by supporting good nutrition while also supporting the community’s local food system and local economy by working directly to support local farms.
This project will meet a critical need because while families and individuals experience hunger and the need for healthy food year-round, the supply of produce through our local food system drops off drastically during winter months.
At greatest disparity, Donation Station winter supply drops to 10% of the summer supply. Full funding of this Cause Connector project will support extended season contracts to purchase a winter supply of local produce from 7 local farms, ensuring that CFI will be able to distribute a steady amount of food to our partner pantries and programs during the winter months. Making reliable commitments to local farm partners will also help build a regional movement toward increasing winter or extended-season growing, ultimately building community resilience and food sovereignty through improving local food security year-round.
FAO staff comments.
Many Appalachian Ohio communities face high rates of food insecurity, a problem that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This project helps to enhance food security over both the short- and long-term, making an immediate difference for families while also strengthening the local food economy through direct support to farmers.