Getting Fresh Produce to the Needy

by Bob Hughes on September 8, 2016

Bob Hughes · Small Actions · September 08, 2016

Pendulum in Action, fresh produce, fresh vegetables and fruitsIt’s hard for those on a fixed income to get the fresh foods they want and need, especially in big cities. But thanks to a new initiative by GrowNYC, the nonprofit organization that runs New York’s many greenmarkets, thousands of people may soon have easy and affordable access to fresh produce.

New York has announced the development of the New York State Greenmarket Regional Food Hub, a new $20 million food hub that will be based in a 75,000-square-foot warehouse. It will be a distribution point for fresh produce from local farmers. The produce will go directly to “community institutions and programs, restaurants and other places that are typically too big to buy piecemeal at local farmers markets and too small to purchase in bulk from commercial food suppliers,” writes Winnie Hu in a New York Times article about the program.

The article points out that hunger-relief organizations, such as City Harvest, are teaming up with community groups around the city to give out fresh produce to residents in distressed neighborhoods. “In total, it expects to distribute a record 55 million pounds of food in the 2017 fiscal year, up from 30 million pounds five years ago. More than half of this year’s food donations will consist of fresh produce,” the article says.

New York is working to expand its programs so that food-stamp recipients can more easily obtain fresh fruits and vegetables, the article says. “The single largest barrier to accessing healthy food is economic,” says Barbara Turk, New York’s director of food policy, as quoted in the article. “It’s having enough money.”

In addition, as a result of easier access to fresh produce, local community organizations that help feed the poor and the elderly are upgrading their programs to feature more fruits and vegetables.

This sort of thing might not seem that big a deal in a country that supplies a lot of the world’s food – but access to fresh vegetables and fruits, especially for those with limited funds, is difficult. A lot of poor people simply rely on fast-food options to fill up, since produce can be too expensive.

Hopefully this and other initiatives like it will change that, not only in New York, but in other regions of the country.


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