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Food Justice at the Forefront

By Shelly Leachman and Alec Rosenberg,
UC Santa Barbara and UC Newsroom
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Web

http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/food-justice-forefront

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Shouldn’t food be a right, not a privilege? And what is the difference between being fed and being nourished?

With a central theme of food justice, such subjects were explored during the three-day, inaugural California Higher Education Food Summit held Jan. 16-18 at UC Santa Barbara. Founded by a multicampus team of University of California staff and students, the first-of-its-kind conference is part of the ongoing UC Global Food Initiative.

The gathering convened some 150 students, staff and faculty from UC, California State University and community college campuses, and community and food agency leaders at large, to dissect and discuss the environmental, social and economic pressures that create barriers to food access, security and justice.

“All too often, the struggle students face in accessing affordable, nutritious food is marginalized,” said Katie Freeze, student chair of UCSB’s Associated Students Food Bank, which helped organize the conference. “Bringing these issues to light will enable the UC community to better address student hunger.”

And beyond.

In a wide-ranging and rousing talk addressing the “complexity and significance of food justice,” keynote speaker Nikki Silvestri said, “When we talk about justice, we are actually talking about everyone, from beginning to end.

“Locate yourself in the fight for food justice,” urged Silvestri, a noted thought leader in creating social equity and former executive director of People’s Grocery in Oakland. “Who are you? Who are your people and what is your fight? And allow yourself to be surprised by the answer.”

Silvestri’s keynote talk and a panel discussion at the summit were part of UC’s Food Equity Lecture Series, sponsored by the UC Global Food Initiative.

Increasing food security

For Colin King, a fifth-year student at UC San Diego, the fight centers on food access for college students who are struggling with hunger. Working with his campus’s Associated Students staff, King is part of the team launching UCSD’s first food pantry.

“Nourishment costs more than simply feeding yourself,” said King, who got involved after witnessing a friend fall on hard times. “He was sleeping in his car and couldn’t afford food. Seeing what he went through is what inspired me initially. Coming to this conference has been so valuable for gaining a better understanding of food insecurity UC-wide, and for the tangible things we’ve learned to take home with us, to make our own pantry and food insecurity initiatives the best that they can be.”

A similar hope coursed through the conference on behalf of the broader UC Global Food Initiative (UCGFI), which is designed to coordinate resources systemwide to help ensure adequate nutrition — starting with access to food — for all. Unveiled by UC President Janet Napolitano in July, the UCGFI is working to harness the UC’s collective excellence in research, outreach and operations in a sustained effort to develop, demonstrate and export solutions — throughout California, the U.S. and the world — for food security, health and sustainability.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm and extremely bright people who want to see changes that will improve people’s health on our campuses, in our community and beyond,” said Joanna Ory, a graduate student at UC Santa Cruz and among the recently selected UCGFI fellows in attendance at the summit. “It’s a really important issue and great to see so many people who care.”

Making a difference

More than two dozen workshops held over the course of the conference tackled subjects from culinary medicine to new models for student dining, the health implications of food insecurity and the role of higher ed in the greater food system. There also were presentations on the “Swipes for the Homeless” program that UCSB and UCLA have adapted to aid food-insecure students, how to build partnerships between university campuses and local farms, and the transformational potential of campus gardens. UCGFI projects include efforts to assess food security for UC students in order to better design programs and outreach efforts focused on addressing these issues.

“Hunger is a prominent thing on college campuses,” said panelist and UC Student Regent Sadia Saifuddin of UC Berkeley, who co-leads a UCGFI working group on food pantries and food security. “Ideally, we want to eradicate hunger, but we’re not there yet. These conversations are important.”

Fortino Morales helped bring a community garden to UC Riverside while a student there. Now he staffs it as UC Riverside community garden coordinator.

The food summit “opens your mind about what’s going on other campuses and what’s possible,” Morales said. “It’s exciting that food access and equity are at the center of this conference. There is a lot of interest in food justice.”

Spreading nourishment

At UC Davis, students learn to grow produce sustainably at the student farm and sell it for use in campus dining halls or through subscription market baskets in the community. A new program collects some of what’s left — surplus, blemished or odd-shaped produce — and makes it available at the student-run food pantry.

“It’s all local. It’s all organic. The students love it. The feedback is terrific,” said Misbah Husain, UC Davis food pantry director of internal operations.

UCGFI fellow Alyssa Billys, of UC Santa Cruz, is working to help coordinate the amount of produce from the student farm that is sold to campus dining.

“We have the farm right here,” Billys said of her campus. “Why can’t we access that (produce)? Having good brought to you by students, for students, is really empowering.”

Empowerment was the prevailing spirit of the first-ever summit.

“We define food justice as communities exercising their right to grow, sell and eat healthy food that is fresh, nutritious, affordable, culturally appropriate, grown locally, with care for the land, for people and for animals,” said panelist D’Artagnan Scorza, founder and executive director of the Social Justice Learning Institute in Inglewood. The UCLA alum and former UC student regent added, “One way we work to empower our community members is first by listening. It’s important for us not to speak for people, but to ensure they can speak for themselves.”

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Santa Barbara County Foodbank’s Growing Clientele

Santa Maria Times
December 16, 2014
Web

http://santamariatimes.com/news/local/santa-barbara-county-foodbank-uncovers-information-about-growing-clientele/article_eb97aad9-4e1a-5477-bc53-6c3a804851cd.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

SMtimes

Santa Barbara County Foodbank uncovers information about growing clientele

Many working families made tough choices in Santa Barbara County to make ends meet and ensure there was food on the table over the past year, according to the Hunger in America 2014 study released by the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and Feeding America.

Of the 140,575 residents served by the foodbank, more than 70 percent of households reported having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or transportation in the past 12 months. The same struggle was seen in 60 percent of client households that had to choose between food and medicine or medical care during the same period.

“In Santa Barbara County, faces of food insecurity and hunger may not stand out from the crowd, but the poverty of working families, and the day-to-day trade-offs that the study brought to light are alarming,” said foodbank CEO Erik Talkin. “It’s hard to imagine facing the choice between your family going hungry or being able to pay for the transportation you need to get to your job, or the housing you need to shelter your family.”

These struggles have led more than 70 percent of households served by the foodbank to adopt three or more strategies to stretch their food budgets.

These game plans could involve eating food past its expiration date, buying cheap and unhealthy food in lieu of healthier options, growing food in gardens or selling personal items to pay for groceries. Families may also dilute foods and drinks to make them last longer.

 “The Hunger in America 2014 findings demonstrate the urgent need for all of us to address hunger in our communities,” said Feeding America CEO Bob Aiken, whose organization is the nation’s largest hunger-relief agency. One of those findings was that 35 percent of clients had not signed up for SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps. In Santa Barbara County, those benefits fall under CalFresh, and county staff pointed to a number of reasons why people do not apply for benefits for which they may be qualified. They may worry about their immigration status, assume it would be difficult to apply or stay enrolled in programs and assume they are not eligible, according to Dennis Tivey in the county social service department.

“The Hunger in America 2014 findings demonstrate the urgent need for all of us to address hunger in our communities,” said Feeding America CEO Bob Aiken, whose organization is the nation’s largest hunger-relief agency. One of those findings was that 35 percent of clients had not signed up for SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps. In Santa Barbara County, those benefits fall under CalFresh, and county staff pointed to a number of reasons why people do not apply for benefits for which they may be qualified. They may worry about their immigration status, assume it would be difficult to apply or stay enrolled in programs and assume they are not eligible, according to Dennis Tivey in the county social service department.

Hunger is an especially timely topic in Santa Barbara County where about a quarter of the population sought out food assistance in 2013. Of those clients, 49,729 were children and 21,750 were 60 years or older.

“The number of people being served continues to grow,” said Judy Monte, development manager at the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “So, we know that we need to help not just give a man a fish, so to speak, but teach him to fish.”

Food insecurity has stressed many areas of families’ lives over the past year, with 52 percent of client households having had to choose between buying food and paying rent or the mortgage at least once along with other struggles.

With this information and the other data available in the 2014 report, the foodbank plans to strengthen its community impact efforts, which focus on the affect the foodbank is having and can have on hunger in communities around the county. It also plans to develop its Food Action Plan, which will lead to a more sustainable food system in the future.

“Foodbanks used to talk in pounds of food, and some still do,” said Bonnie Campbell, foodbank director of community impact. “We don’t use that language anymore. We talk about meals, how we can get them out there and how we can shorten the line.”

Santa Barbara County Foodbank’s Growing Clientele

Lompoc Record
December 16, 2014
Newspaper, pg. A2, A4

http://lompocrecord.com/santamaria/news/local/santa-barbara-county-foodbank-uncovers-information-about-growing-clientele/article_38bd83d7-dbae-5064-954c-56c569c54470.html

lompoc record

Santa Barbara County Foodbank uncovers information about growing clientele

Many working families made tough choices in Santa Barbara County to make ends meet and ensure there was food on the table over the past year, according to the Hunger in America 2014 study released by the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and Feeding America.

Of the 140,575 residents served by the foodbank, more than 70 percent of households reported having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or transportation in the past 12 months. The same struggle was seen in 60 percent of client households that had to choose between food and medicine or medical care during the same period.

“In Santa Barbara County, faces of food insecurity and hunger may not stand out from the crowd, but the poverty of working families, and the day-to-day trade-offs that the study brought to light are alarming,” said foodbank CEO Erik Talkin. “It’s hard to imagine facing the choice between your family going hungry or being able to pay for the transportation you need to get to your job, or the housing you need to shelter your family.”

These struggles have led more than 70 percent of households served by the foodbank to adopt three or more strategies to stretch their food budgets.

 These game plans could involve eating food past its expiration date, buying cheap and unhealthy food in lieu of healthier options, growing food in gardens or selling personal items to pay for groceries. Families may also dilute foods and drinks to make them last longer.

“The Hunger in America 2014 findings demonstrate the urgent need for all of us to address hunger in our communities,” said Feeding America CEO Bob Aiken, whose organization is the nation’s largest hunger-relief agency. One of those findings was that 35 percent of clients had not signed up for SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps. In Santa Barbara County, those benefits fall under CalFresh, and county staff pointed to a number of reasons why people do not apply for benefits for which they may be qualified. They may worry about their immigration status, assume it would be difficult to apply or stay enrolled in programs and assume they are not eligible, according to Dennis Tivey in the county social service department.

Hunger is an especially timely topic in Santa Barbara County where about a quarter of the population sought out food assistance in 2013. Of those clients, 49,729 were children and 21,750 were 60 years or older.

“The number of people being served continues to grow,” said Judy Monte, development manager at the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “So, we know that we need to help not just give a man a fish, so to speak, but teach him to fish.”

Food insecurity has stressed many areas of families’ lives over the past year, with 52 percent of client households having had to choose between buying food and paying rent or the mortgage at least once along with other struggles.

With this information and the other data available in the 2014 report, the foodbank plans to strengthen its community impact efforts, which focus on the affect the foodbank is having and can have on hunger in communities around the county. It also plans to develop its Food Action Plan, which will lead to a more sustainable food system in the future.

“Foodbanks used to talk in pounds of food, and some still do,” said Bonnie Campbell, foodbank director of community impact. “We don’t use that language anymore. We talk about meals, how we can get them out there and how we can shorten the line.”

Face of Hunger in SBC Revealed in New Feeding America Report

Noozhawk
December 12, 2014
Web

http://www.noozhawk.com/article/face_of_hunger_in_santa_barbara_county_revealed_in_feeding_america_report

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Face of Hunger in Santa Barbara County Revealed in New Feeding America Report

Published on 12.12.2014 8:08 a.m.

Over 70 percent of local households seeking food assistance from the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s network have to choose between paying for food and other necessities such as utilities and transportation, according to the Hunger in America 2014 report for Santa Barbara County.

Working families countywide are making other tough trade-offs between food and housing, medicines and education opportunities. The recent study was conducted by the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County in partnership with Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization. The study supports and confirms statistics collected by the Foodbank on the number of people served and amount of food distributed by the organization. The Feeding America data provides an understanding of the economic circumstances and the factors that those relying on Foodbank encounter.

Nationally, Hunger in America 2014 found that more than 46 million people turn to agencies and programs of the Feeding America network of food banks every year. The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County has had over a decade of partnership as a member of the Feeding America network.

The study documents household demographics and offers a snapshot of the people served by the Foodbank — their circumstances, the challenges they face and the choices they are forced to make living on extremely limited household incomes. It is also the first nationally-representative study that assesses the prevalence of past and current members of the U.S. military and adult students receiving charitable food assistance.

“In Santa Barbara County, the faces of food insecurity and hunger may not stand out from the crowd, but the poverty of working families, and the day to day trade-offs that the study brought to light are alarming,” said Erik Talkin, Foodbank’s CEO. “It’s hard to imagine facing the choice between your family going hungry or being able to pay for the transportation you need to get to your job, or the housing you need to shelter your family. No one in our community should have to face even small everyday trade-offs, like our neighbors who must feed expired or watered down food to their families or else go hungry. As we approach the holidays, these are shocking findings but ones that strengthen our resolve to help our neighbors move from hunger to health which improves our community in far-reaching ways.”

“The Hunger in America 2014 findings demonstrate the urgent need for all of us to address hunger in our communities,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “This data provides a factual basis for decisions about how we as a nation approach hunger relief and protect our most vulnerable citizens.”

Key statistics from the report include:

Widespread Use of Food Assistance

» The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County last year, served 140,575 people — over 25 percent of the local population, including 49,729 children (0-17 years old) and 21,750 seniors (60 years or older).

» A full 35 percent of Foodbank participants are children under age 18.

» Among all clients, 3 percent are black/African American, 65 percent percent are Latino and 38 percent are white.

» 17 percent of households include someone who is a veteran or who has ever served in the military, and 39 percent of those households include someone who is currently serving in the military.

» The Foodbank distributed 9.3 million pounds of food (over 50 percent was fresh produce), through its nine direct-to-client programs for children, families and seniors at 100 sites countywide, and through its network of over 330 member nonprofit partners.

» Last year, 600 volunteers contributed over 20,146 hours of their valuable time and service to make Foodbank’s services possible.

Making Tough Choices and Trade-Offs to Keep Food on the Table

Following are the choices client households reported making in the past 12 months:

» An estimated 71 percent of households reported using three or more coping strategies for getting enough food in the past 12 months.

» These trade-offs included: eating food past its expiration date, purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food because they could not afford healthier options, growing food in a garden, pawning or selling personal property, and watering down food or drinks.

» 70 percent report choosing between paying for food and paying for utilities.

» 74 percent report making choices between paying for food and paying for transportation.

» 52 percent of households chose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage at least once in the past 12 months.

» An estimated 38 percent of client households currently receive SNAP benefits, while an estimated 35 percent of client households neither currently receive SNAP nor have ever applied for SNAP benefits.

Clients Struggling with Health Issues

» 60 percent of households reported having to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care at least once in the past 12 months.

» 21 percent of households include a member with diabetes.

» 49 percent of households have a member with high blood pressure.

Low Wages, Underemployment and Unemployment Driving Need

» 64 percent of client households have annual incomes under $10,000

» An estimated 55 percent of households have a household member who had worked for pay in the past year.

» In 65 percent of client households the most-employed person from the past 12 months is currently out of work.

» An estimated 87 percent of households reside in non-temporary housing, such as a house or an apartment. An estimated 20 percent of respondents have experienced a foreclosure or eviction in the past five years.

» 4,425, or 3 percent of families are homeless.

Hunger in America 2014 was conducted using rigorous academic research standards and was peer reviewed by a technical advisory team including researchers from American University, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and the Urban Institute. Nationally, confidential responses were collected on electronic tablets by 6,000 trained data collectors, majority of whom were volunteers. The study was funded by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

A summary of the findings is available by clicking here. The full national report is available on Feeding America’s website atHunger in America 2014 by clicking here.

Research: Food Action Plan

LoaCom
December 10, 2014
E-newsletter

http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=bb6f74402a27e42173af18f0e&id=3ba9784109&e=0fdbf3e5c2

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Research:

Food Action Plan: Similar to our 2013 agriculture policy report for the Environmental Defense Center, LoaCom is working on behalf of the Community Environmental Council and Food Bank of SB County on the creation of a Food Action Plan for the region. 

Mac’s Holiday Turkey Pies Help the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

KEYT
December 9, 2014
Web

http://www.keyt.com/news/macs-holiday-turkey-pies-help-the-santa-barbara-county-food-bank/30161142?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

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Mac’s Holiday Turkey Pies Help the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

A donation from each pie sold in December will support food for the needy

John Palminteri, KEYT – KCOY – KKFX Senior Reporter

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MAC’S FOOD BANK DONATION

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Buying a traditional holiday pie this month will help feed those in need as well.

Mac’s Fish and Chip Shop in Santa Barbara is now making pies that are like a complete turkey dinner.

Each one is loaded with mixed vegetables, roasted turkey, stuffing and topped with parsnip mashed potatoes.

They cost $7.50 each with $5.00 of that going directly to theFoodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Owner Grant MacNaughton says it’s “deceptively filling.”   Each pie weighs in at over a pound, “and it contains everything I associate with a Thanksgiving meal here in the U.S. or a Christmas meal back in London,” he said.

The Foodbank’s Misha Karbelnig says, “It ties in well with our focus on health. The pie has some much delicious produce in it. Half of what we put out last year had fresh produce in it.  It is a unique opportunity to showcase what we do and how Mac’s and others are huge supporters of us.”

The holiday pies can be enjoyed at the restaurant, and  also taken cooked or uncooked – to go – for home parties.
Mac’s is at 503 State St. near Haley.