Friday, August 7, 2009

Can We Start a FoodShare Program in Our Area?


Various solutions to food deserts have been proposed. However, according to Eric de Place (2009), there haven't been many pleasing resolutions. He identified few major downfalls to the common solutions that have been discussed in our blog: 1) due to economic reasons, larger scale grocery stores are not willing to locate to low-income neighborhoods. 2) Weekly farmers’ markets are not year-round but only in around April to October. 3) Shopping groceries online may be appealing, which has been offered by Safeway and even Amazon.com. However, to do so, it requires a computer, Internet access, and some sort of knowledge on how to use computers. Most food deserts exist in low-income communities. Understandably, some of the families may not have any access to computers or access to high-speed wifi. Moreover, it is of little use to elderly who do not know how to use computers or people who do not have credit cards or bank accounts. Hence, each answer works differently respecting diverse areas and backgrounds.

Upon researching online for a better solution, I have found a non-profit organization in Toronto Canada, which works with Toronto Public Health, farmers, and other community agencies. It is called FoodShare. They deliver fresh vegetables and fruit in a “Good Box” to people who request. Since it is non-profit, they guarantee their top quality products with reasonable prices. They are there to serve the community; thus, it makes them more appealing to people and gain people’s trust. Moreover, they not only offer community kitchens where people may come and prepare meals to take home; but also they educate the communities and school kids regarding the importance of healthy food and how to obtain one. They have taken the initiative to widen out to the society and to provide a better solution to people who are living in food desert whether willingly or unwillingly. By this, FoodShare solves the problem for those who are not able to receive fresh food; it also raises the awareness of “better” food for those who never knew the difference.

Can we bring this type of organization to our area? FoodShare has been around over 20 years and has been very successful in solving the food desert problem. Can we do the same providing fresh produces while educating people? Sure we can! All it takes is just love for the neighbor and volunteers. Let us work together and help those live in food deserts.


References:

De Place, E. (2009, March 5th). Deliver Us From Food Deserts. Retrieved Aug 7th, 2009 from Slightline Daily Web site: http://daily.sightline.org/daily_score/archive/2009/03/05/food-deserts

FoodShare: http://www.foodshare.net/index.htm

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