Hello, loyal Food Bank followers! Our names are Dan Reyes and Nick Rockwell, and this summer we’ve been working at the Food Bank through an internship program at the University of Delaware. Our task has been to find ways to better connect the local agricultural community with the nearly one out four Delawareans receiving emergency hunger relief through the Food Bank.
It’s been an exciting summer – researching successful programs throughout the country, travelling up and down the state to meet with farmers, community-based organizations and government officials and not to mention all of the time we’ve got to spend with all the great people at the Food Bank! The program we’ve developed harnesses the local economy to provide the economically-disadvantaged with an affordable and reliable source of fresh, local produce, while also promoting environmentally-conscious agriculture. Small farmers from around the state will offer shares of their harvest to a Food Bank Community-Supported Agriculture (FBCSA) program. The Food Bank will, in turn, recruit shareholders from low-income communities to participate in the FBCSA. With the help of federal and private funding, the Food Bank will be able to subsidize the cost of the shares and provide up-front loans-giving farmers fair payment and allowing for flexible payment plans for shareholders.
Throughout the spring, summer and fall (25 weeks), shareholders will be able to pick up a full box of produce at select farmers’ markets for $10 a week or less. In addition to their share, shareholders will receive educational information on the benefits of fresh, local produce and easy recipes for that week’s share. To provide further incentive, upon picking up their share at a weekly farmers’ market shareholders will receive $5-10 in buying credit to spend at the farmers’ market that day-introducing them to new food options and supporting the market’s economy. We hope that this program won’t only serve to improve community nutrition, but also to fundamentally change the way people think about food (and maybe even help them learn to grow it themselves)!!!
Although the official term of our project is ending soon, we will remain involved in the development of this program, helping Development Director, Larry Haas, bring the program to its implementation phase. We would like to thank the Food Bank staff, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning, Dr. Karen Curtis, and all members of the Delaware community that have been so receptive to our meetings. We truly appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm – it has been an amazing experience.
And, snacks from The Culinary School don’t hurt either!