Local food feeding locals who need it most? It’s possible.

By Ashley Rood

After a day of feasting on local food–of being thankful for my favorite season at the market here in San Francisco (hello pears, persimmons and pomegranates! It’s been too long. And aren’t all those greens in rare form this time of year? )–I’ve been thinking about the food pantries throughout the Bay Area that are feeding people not just Holiday meals, but every single day. With the cost of living skyrocketing, some people must choose between paying the rent or buying that next meal. I’ve spent some time serving meals in a local food pantry at Glide Memorial, and I’m always humbled by the diversity of people who gather in line to get free meal–yes you’ll see those colorful souls of the street SF is known for, but they are sitting next to the office worker coming from downtown.

So often our movement for seasonal organic produce excludes so many, so often this movement is criticized for it’s elitism — but in San Francisco, fresh produce is not only on the shelves of Whole Foods, but it’s making it to the food pantries too. Farm to Family is a statewide program that connects growers and food pantries throughout the state. It just makes sense. In good years growers always have a surplus. Or what about those veggies that aren’t picture perfect for market but are perfectly good eating? And for anyone who has had a good season in the garden you know you’vealways got something to share at the peak of the season, or sometimes you have a desperate need to get rid of those squash! But can be incredibly hard to find ways of donating that food, Farm to Family fills the gap.

Another piece of the SF foodie movement that is growing strong is small vendors making everything from pickles to sausage–but they don’t have many places to sell them. Enter the New Taste Marketplace— once a month the site of the food pantry at a local church becomes a place where local vendors sell their wares for donations to the food pantry–foodies pay a donation to get in and then the vendors in turn also donate money to the food bank. The Food Pantry feeds more than 600 families each week at a farmers market style food pantry. Check out the New Taste Marketplace website to find out when the next market is coming up.  This is the kind of holiday shopping I can get behind.


To find local food in your area check out Pick-A-Pepper.com

This article was published previously on Ashley’s Blog: From the Root to the Fruit.

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