Food Tank and the James Beard Foundation have just released the third annual Good Food Org Guide, which features 1,000 nonprofit organizations creating a better food system across the United States.
With the help of an advisory board of food system experts, Food Tank and the James Beard Foundation created this definitive guide to feature nonprofit organizations that are creating a better food system. The organizations in this year’s Guide are effecting change in kitchens, schools, churches, labs, businesses, community centers, governments, urban farms, fields, food banks, and more.
Since the inaugural Good Food Org Guide was released in 2014, it has highlighted groups who combat childhood obesity, malnourishment, and physical inactivity; prevent food waste; educate consumers on healthy, nutritious food choices; create networks of social entrepreneurs; protect food and restaurant workers; highlight solutions for restoring the health of people and the planet; work with indigenous communities to preserve traditions, culture, and biodiversity; inspire and educate individuals to cook more of their own food; and protect public health, human health, and the environment.
This year’s Guide, building on the success of the 2015 Guide, includes an online search tool. The website enables users to search for organizations by the region and category of the organization’s work. Each organization highlighted in the Guide has its own profile page, which includes their contact information, description, logo, social media links, location, photos, and related organizations.
”Working in collaboration with the James Beard Foundation, we are proud to bring the total number of listed organizations to the 1000 mark. It is a testament to the tremendous amount of growth and support we have seen in the ‘good food’ sector,” says Danielle Nierenberg, President of Food Tank.
At least 10 organizations from each state are represented in the 2016 Good Food Org Guide. Below are just a few of the organizations that are included.
- Farm Fresh Rhode Island (Rhode Island): Farm Fresh Rhode Island strives to grow a local food system that values the environment, health, and quality of life of farmers and eaters. Farm Fresh Rhode Island's programs support hundreds of farmers and food producers, and connect thousands of consumers to locally grown food each year. In the last 7 years, local farmers, fishers and value-added food producers have sold over $10.95 million in local food through Farm Fresh RI's Market Mobile system, which is a national model for alternative wholesale food distribution. Harvest Kitchen is a job-training program for youth ages 16-20 from the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF)’s Juvenile Corrections Services or those aging out of foster care. The youth create high-quality preserved foods using ingredients from local farms, and sell their goods at farmers markets and to wholesale customers. In mid-summer of 2016, Harvest Kitchen moved from a small rented kitchen to an expanded commercial kitchen, training and retail space. The new space is currently being used for training and food production, with a cafe & retail store set to open its doors in Spring 2017.
- Farm Hands-Nourish (the Flathead) (Montana): Founded by farmers, eaters, business leaders, and food system planners from around Montana, it would make sense that Farm Hands utilizes a variety of methods in their quest to achieve a mission of connecting all consumers despite ability or financial circumstance to the source of their food. Their three main program areas address healthy food access, farmland conservation, and food and farming education. The Food For All Projects connect people to local food especially targeting those who cannot afford it. Their programs around this include Senior Coupons, Senior Meals, Double SNAP Dollars, Elementary School Coupons and the Blackfeet-Nourish Project. Additionally, each year in April they bring together 70-100 youth for Global youth Service Day and engage them in nutrition and food system issues in the Flathead.
- Feast Down East (North Carolina): Feast Down East is a nonprofit organization working to grow the local food system of Southeastern North Carolina. Its programs are designed to support several key aspects of the food system including farmer support, produce distribution, and local food access. The Resourceful Farmer Support Program provides assistance to help farmers grow and sustain their businesses by connecting them with educational opportunities and support services. The Feast Down East Food Hub is a USDA-designated, GAP certified facility, which helps limited-resource farmers to market, process and distribute local farm products. The organization’s Healthy Communities Program aims to advance food security among low-income consumers by distributing affordable, local farm food, building community gardens, and providing healthy cooking classes in public housing neighborhoods. The Farm-to-School Program, a partnership with FoodCorps, connects kids to healthy food by building school gardens, teaching good nutrition, and bringing more fresh fruits and vegetables into cafeterias.
- Forgotten Harvest (Michigan): Forgotten Harvest is working to relieve hunger in the Detroit metropolitan community by rescuing prepared and perishable food and donating it to emergency food providers. Forgotten Harvest has developed new innovative ways to rescue fresh food to organizations who serve those living in poverty, on fixed incomes and are underemployed or unemployed while focusing our attention on children, elderly, families and the homeless. The organization rescued over 45.5 million pounds of food by collecting surplus, prepared and perishable food from a variety of sources such as grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, dairies, farmers, and wholesale food distributors. Donated food that would otherwise go to waste is delivered free of charge to 260 emergency food providers in the metro Detroit area.
- Good Shepard Food Bank (Maine): As the largest hunger relief organization in Maine, Good Shepherd Food Bank provides for Mainers facing hunger by distributing nutritious food to more than 400 partner agencies across the state, including food pantries, meal sites, schools, and senior programs. Together with its network, the Food Bank leads a statewide effort to combat the root causes of hunger by engaging in advocacy, nutrition education, and strategic partnerships. In 2015, the Food Bank distributed more than 19 million meals to families, children, and seniors in need throughout Maine.
- Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition (Nebraska): The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition (formerly the Center for Human Nutrition) was launched in the summer of 1973 as the first center of its kind in the U.S. focusing on the health of underserved populations, especially youth. Key public health areas in which the Center provides scientific expertise and technical assistance include childhood obesity prevention, food insecurity, local food systems, and survey development and program evaluation. To carry out its mission and address issues in key areas, the Center also submits grants and contracts to build research infrastructure at the local, state and national levels. The Center also partners with public health peers and clients to benefit the community at large through evidence-based research. In 2012, the Center conducted a needs assessment of the Nebraska food system. First reviewed was secondary data examining the food environment in Nebraska. The Center then developed and implemented surveys and focus groups to assess consumers’, food producers’ and key stakeholders’ perceptions of and participation with the food systems throughout Nebraska.
- Grow Dat Youth Farm (Louisiana): Grow Dat is a place where people from different backgrounds and disciplines come together in research and practice to support public health, local economies and a sustainable food system in South Louisiana. Located on a seven-acre site in New Orleans' City Park, Grow Dat Youth Farm operates a two-acre sustainable farm. Each year, they grow and harvest an average of 12,000 pounds of fresh produce. Seventy percent is sold at their farm stand and at farmers' markets (run by their youth employees). Thirty percent is distributed through their Shared Harvest program, to low-income residents who otherwise have little or no access to fresh food. Their eco campus has received national attention for the beauty, sustainability and function of the design. The seven retrofitted shipping containers that constitute the eco campus house their offices, teaching kitchen, youth locker rooms, composting toilets, cold storage, post-harvest handling area and farm tool storage.
- Imperfect Produce (California): Imperfect is a social venture passionate about reducing food waste. They give consumers the chance to buy delicious, wonky-looking produce at a discount. So instead of going to waste, all those odd-looking fruits and vegetables will be helping Americans eat healthier, at a price they can afford. Their first product is a 10-15 pound of box of assorted seasonal "ugly" produce that you get every week. This produce costs 30% less than the same produce at a grocery store. They have launched their service in Oakland and Berkeley this summer and couldn't be more excited to expand their services into new communities.
- L.A. Kitchen (California): Led by DC Central Kitchen and Campus Kitchens Project founder Robert Egger, L.A. Kitchen maximizes the value of cosmetically imperfect fruits and produce to reveal the power of food. Donated products fuel L.A. Kitchen’s culinary-arts, job training for young people exiting foster care, as well as men and women returning from incarceration. Working alongside volunteers, they produce free, healthy meals for nonprofit partners. L.A. Kitchen also operates Strong Food; a social business that employs graduates and uses purchased products to create scratch cooked meals for city/county contracts. Emphasis is given to programs serving L.A.’s rapidly aging and nutritionally sophisticated population.
- LiveWell Colorado (Colorado): Working in partnership with obesity prevention initiatives across the state, LiveWell aims to provide every Coloradan with access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity. In addition to educating and inspiring people to make healthy choices, LiveWell Colorado focuses on policy and environmental changes that remove barriers to healthy living opportunities. Double Up Colorado helps increase access to fresh, Colorado-grown fruits and vegetables. When recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) shop at participating farmers markets, they can now have their purchase matched with a voucher worth up to a $20 per visit to put toward Colorado-grown fruits and vegetables. The LiveWell@School Food Initiative partners with food service directors and their staff to serve up freshly prepared meals that taste good and are good for students too. They do this by providing workshops and training, on-site chef support, strategic and culinary action planning, and operations and marketing technical assistance.
- Massachusetts Avenue Project (New York): The Massachusetts Avenue Project is helping to nurture the growth of a diverse and equitable local food system and promote local economic opportunities, access to affordable, nutritious food and social change education. The Project proudly hosts the Growing Green Program, a youth development and urban agriculture program about increasing healthy food access and improving their communities. Growing Green’s urban farm consists of 13 lots, covering over an acre of reclaimed vacant lots in a residential neighborhood on Buffalo’s West Side. At the farm, youth work together to grow, market and distribute organic produce for communities, restaurants and retail establishments in Buffalo, learning valuable skills. The farm features: a 1000 gallon rainwater catchment system, floral and perennial garden beds, 2 greenhouses, urban chickens, a vermiculture composting system, and multiple aquaponics systems raising fish and plants in a symbiotic system.
- Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (Iowa): The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) is permanently protecting Iowa land to grow healthy food. They are taking land and easement donations from Iowa landowners who want to make land available to the next generation of sustainable food farmers. They take land speculation out of the equation by sharing farm ownership with the farmer. The trust owns the land while the farmer owns everything on top of it. They’re working with Equity Trust, the National Young Farmers Coalition, Practical Farmers of Iowa, their regional food systems and more to rebuild our small farm and local food infrastructure in Iowa and the Midwest.
- UGArden (Georgia): UGArden is a student-run organic farm dedicated to teaching students how to farm and sharing produce with families in need in the Athens community. They grow vegetables, herbs, fruits and mushrooms. UGArden offers formal courses, internships, student research opportunities and ongoing volunteer opportunities. UGArden has satellite programs at four local middle schools and supports many other local school gardening activities. UGArden is supported by the UGA Horticulture Department and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and includes partnerships with the following organizations: Clarke County Extension Office and Master Gardeners, UGA Office of Service Learning, UGA Office of Sustainability, Clarke County School District, Athens Community Council on Aging, and Keep Athens Clarke County Clean and Beautiful.
- Washington State University Bread Lab (Washington State): The Bread Lab works with thousands of types of wheat, barley, buckwheat and other small grains to identify lines that perform well in the field for farmers, and that are most suitable for craft baking, cooking, malting, brewing, and distilling. During the fall of 2016, the Bread Lab will transition from its original 600-square foot room at the WSU-Mount Vernon Research Center to a 12,000 square foot building at the Port of Skagit. In addition to the expanded Bread Lab, the new quarters will house a rheological lab, the King Arthur Flour Baking School at the Bread Lab, and a milling lab.