Round Up for Food Justice

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What does food justice mean?

Food justice means that everyone has access to healthy, nutritious food and the people who produce, harvest, and prepare our food can earn a decent living by doing so. Buying local at the Co-op contributes to food justice by supporting small farmers and independent producers rather than industrial food system that can take advantage of workers and harm the environment. However, the higher cost of producing food in socially & environmentally regenerative ways, without help from government subsidies that support corporate agribusinesses, places locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables out of reach for many people. Round Up for Food Justice aims to address this problem by making it easier for those on tight budgets to have access to food with lesser toxic burden on consumers, producers, and the environment. The Round Up program also covers others topics in the realm of “food justice” including but not limited to:

Activities that we support:

1. Programs, workshops and events that promote nutritional education (especially those benefiting undeserved communities), including our own 6-week nutrition education series that includes the creation of  budget friendly (or sensitive), nutrient dense meals in a rice cooker.

2. $20 weekly food credit funds for those in need, as a part of our 6 week nutrition education series.

3. Rural local food system development with the goal of environmental clean-up through agriculture and economic impact for our farmers

4. Urban based agricultural programs, research, business start-ups and other activities that increase the local food supply while decreasing non-renewable resources.

5. Micro-loans for new farmers for the purpose of bringing organic goods to market. Irrigation supplies, seeds, soil amendments, boxes and food safety supplies are all items that qualify for the Round Up program. Micro-loans are available to new farmers and existing farmers who would like to expand their operations and need some working capital to do so. The Micro-loans are to be paid back in the upcoming harvest season in the form of food. Full application with business strategy must be filled out to qualify.

Email info@greatbasinfood.coop for more information.

Food Access In Our Community

Roughly 15 percent of all residents of northern Nevada are food insecure, meaning that they do not always have access to adequate nutrition. Of northern Nevada residents who qualify for federal food programs, 59 percent are food insecure. Food insecure households often face difficult financial choices that may force them to go without meals or buy cheaper processed foods that are high in calories but low in nutrients. Hunger and poor nutrition can lead to health problems that cost individuals and our community more in the long run. Making fresh produce affordable for more people is in all of our best interest and an important step in ensuring food justice.

How You Can Help – Round Up (Or Donate) For Food Justice

Round Up for Food Justice is a program that our co-op started in 2014 to create more access to healthy food. Co-op shoppers have the option of rounding up at the cash register after each purchase to make a donation to the program. This creates a pool of funds that is then distributed to individuals, organizations & agricultural start-ups as outlined above.

Beginning the summer of 2016 Round Up launched its first ever 6 week nutrition & cooking course aimed at providing information and resources for folks in the program. The courses cover everything from the benefits of choosing and properly preparing whole grains, organic fruits and local vegetables to the benefits of grass-fed & pastured meat and dairy products over their factory farm raised counterparts… with so much more in between! Each course is aimed at preparing nutritious meals in a situation where a full kitchen might not be available. We use rice cookers, a toaster oven and a portable hot plate to demonstrate how delicious, nutrient dense, affordable meals can be prepared just about anywhere. Each course will culminate with a hands on food preparation… as “to taste is to experience!”

We have teamed up with both Access to Healthcare and Northern Nevada HOPES. These organizations seek to provide integrated medical care and wellness services for their clients. Participants of the Round Up program are identified and referred through both HOPES Northern NV and Access to Healthcare to ensure that our community members in need are receiving this high quality supplemental nutrition.

Round Up for Food Justice reflects one of the Co-op’s 7 Cooperative Principles: ‘concern for community’ and helps to fulfill our mission of making healthy, nutritious food available to all. Making it easier for people to buy produce grown within our food shed also helps our local farmers.

To donate, tell your cashier that you want to round up for food justice before checking out, or contact Amber Sallaberry for program information or for making a tax-deductible donation at amber@greatbasinfood.coop.

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