Ending Hunger: One Partnership At a Time
We spoke with Dan Emery, founder of the American Community Project, about some hunger solution options. The ACP is an organization dedicated to exploring hunger, building awareness and raising funds for agriculture-based hunger solutions.
Given the people helping people philosophy, Emery believes this is an opportunity for credit unions to serve the underserved via a new, sustainable niche.
In a bid to explore the many faces of hunger across the county, Emery teamed up with a friend Myles Chung to explore organizations making a difference across 48 states in 48 weeks on scooters.
After visiting their first seven states, Emery has found that access is the primary cause for food insecurity.
“Some 23.5 million Americans live in areas that don’t have reasonable access to fresh, healthy or affordable produce,” said Emery. “Here are some of the solutions that stand out to me. If people can do some of these things or even just start conversations about getting things like these implemented, that would be a great start.”
First Up: School Bound
School gardens or greenhouses could be utilized to provide fresh produce for the school's cafeteria or for backpack programs which provide food for food insecure students over weekends and school vacations during the school year. The garden can also be used to teach chemistry or biology classes or to host a gardening club.
“Gardening and knowing how to grow their own food is a lifelong skill which can provide a solid foundation for students,” said Emery. “There is also potential to spread gardening knowledge to the parents through the students. Students have a certain level of influence with their parents. Examples of this type of influence are shown through smoking awareness and the safety of wearing seatbelts initiatives.”
Up Next: Rethinking Farming
"Sole Food Farm out of Vancouver is an amazing project," said Emery. They've created raised garden beds that get placed on vacant parking lots. These gardens provide employment for the community and it utilizes a space which will just sit empty for an unknown period of time. Sole Food has also built their gardens in such a way that if the property should come under development, they can pick up the garden beds with a forklift, load them onto a truck and move them to a new location without disrupting the growth.
Up Next: Rethinking Waste
Gather Baltimore was created by Arthur Morgan. Arthur noticed that fresh produce was being thrown away after a farmers market because it wouldn't last until the next market. So he approached the vendors and asked them if they would be willing to donate this leftover produce. They agreed and he brought this produce to low-income and struggling neighborhoods where he would sell it for pennies on the dollar.
Up Next: Reimagining Business Development
Local Entrepreneurs & Business Development
Urbane Development is working with Bodegas and other local convenience/grocery stores located in food deserts and inner cities to bring fresh produce, meats and breads to those who don't typically get access to these things.
Up Next: Unexpected Gardens
A prison garden at San Quentin State Prison has seen remarkable success with its former inmates. The rate at which convicts return to prison averages around six out of 10. The rate of return for those who have gone through the gardening program is less than 1 out of 10, its supporters said.
Up Next: Starting Small
"Even if it's just one fruit, vegetable or herb - try it," said Emery. "Grow a tomato plant, strawberries, green beans, peas, lettuce, chamomile, basil, or cilantro. Find something you like to eat and give it a try. There is something very satisfying and therapeutic about planting and cultivating a garden. Then when you finally get to eat the product of your labor, it's incredibly satisfying."