Maine Seeks Proposals to Increase Access to Local Food / Public News Service

Maine is searching for proposals for a grant alternative to help native meals producers and manufacturing and help low-income residents in accessing native meals.

A invoice handed and signed into regulation final yr allotted $25,000 to supply incentives for residents receiving meals and vitamin advantages to buy regionally grown vegatables and fruits, and elevated outreach about them.

Genna Cherichello, Maine Senior FarmShare program supervisor for the Division of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, stated vitamin incentives are essential as a result of native producers usually have larger prices than giant agriculture firms.

“It creates a little bit more freedom for folks on these food and nutrition assistance programs to select local food if they want to,” Cherichello defined. “It also is an additional funding stream for our local producers.”

Cherichello added the state {dollars} can also be used to leverage extra federal, native or non-public funding, for alternatives that require a match.

Maine’s Local weather Motion Plan features a purpose of accelerating native meals manufacturing from 10% to 30% by 2030, to help farmers, fishing and aquaculture harvesters, in addition to make communities extra resilient.

Cherichello added it’s an thrilling alternative to deliver state help to organizations and applications which have been round for years and know their communities’ wants.

“If your organization works with local food producers, or low-income folks who receive food and nutrition assistance, and you’re interested in expanding your existing efforts to connect those low-income people with food grown in Maine, we would all love to see your application,” Cherichello acknowledged.

Teams doing such work in Maine embrace Farm Recent Rewards, which is run by means of the Good Shepherd Meals Financial institution, and Maine Harvest Bucks, with the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets. Purposes for the grant alternative are due in lower than a month, on June twenty first.

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Virginia’s meals banks are going through an ideal storm of points. Excessive inflation for on a regular basis items is driving up meals prices for lower-income households, all whereas meals banks are working to beat supply-chain points to maintain their cabinets stocked.

Eddie Oliver, govt director of the Federation of Virginia Meals Banks, which oversees seven regional meals banks throughout the state, stated since many pandemic stimulus advantages have expired, the monetary reserves lower-income households constructed have began to drop off.

“While families are getting squeezed, they’re turning more and more to food banks for assistance,” Oliver identified. “Meanwhile, our operational expenses are going up. So it’s challenging on many fronts.”

Oliver famous the easiest way to help an area meals financial institution is thru monetary help, which can assist them sustain with the surge in grocery costs. In accordance with the U.S. Division of Agriculture (USDA), grocery costs are anticipated to extend between 5% and 6% in 2022.

In accordance with Feeding America, practically a quarter-million Virginia kids are meals insecure, and practically half of households receiving SNAP advantages have kids.

On prime of the supply-chain points and inflation, Oliver emphasised the tip of the varsity semester additionally will likely be an exacerbating issue within the coming weeks.

“School meal access is coming to an end here as schools are about to let out for the summer,” Oliver noticed. “Meanwhile, we’re seeing the highest inflation we’ve seen in decades, which of course disproportionately impacts low-income families.”

The USDA prolonged free college lunches to youngsters all through the COVID-19 pandemic, however this system will finish on the conclusion of this college yr. The Virginia Poverty Legislation Heart reported pre-COVID, greater than 460,000 Virginia college students obtained free and reduced-cost college meals day by day.

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Oregonians are casting their ballots for Tuesday’s major election. One difficulty affecting many citizens is entry to youngster care.

Courtney Helstein, senior political director with the group Household Ahead Oregon, stated child-care affordability was an issue earlier than COVID-19 and the pandemic has solely exacerbated it.

She stated ladies, notably ladies of coloration, have felt the disproportionate impacts of care prices and accessibility. Helstein stated the prices imply some should make robust choices.

“The result of all these high costs is that too many families are actually forced to choose between child care, between meals, between other basic necessities,” stated Helstein. “And they’re also having to weigh the financial costs of, ‘Is it actually more cost effective for me and my family for me to not work?'”

Helstein stated demand has by no means been larger for youngster care, however employees within the discipline are among the many lowest paid within the nation.

She stated there have been some successes within the Oregon Legislature, together with investments in early childhood studying and community-led pilot initiatives.

Matt Newell-Ching, senior coverage supervisor with the nonpartisan nonprofit Oregon Meals Financial institution, stated entry to youngster care is a starvation difficulty.

The meals financial institution surveyed candidates for governor about meals insecurity, and their responses are posted on its web site.

Newell-Ching stated there is a query about youngster care as a result of Oregon Meals Financial institution believes it’s going to proceed to be a problem for Oregon households.

“Whoever the next governor is,” stated Newell-Ching, “we believe it’s critical that we as a state come together to ensure kids have a safe place to be while parents are working because it impacts every communities’ ability to rebuild and thrive.”

Helstein stated we have to take a look at youngster care otherwise.

“We’re seeing the beginning of this culture shift,” stated Helstein, “across the country, but definitely in the state of Oregon, of really starting to reframe access to child care from kind of like a personal problem to a societal problem, to a community benefit.”

The deadline to vote in Oregon’s major is Tuesday. Drop websites for ballots will likely be open till 8 p.m.

Reporting by Oregon Information Service funded partially by Oregon Meals Financial institution.

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Mail carriers throughout New Mexico are gearing-up for the “2022 Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive” this Saturday, Could 14. The Nationwide Affiliation of Letter Carriers with the U.S. Postal Service encourage postal prospects to depart a bag in or close to their mailbox crammed with nonperishable meals, to be picked up by mail carriers and shared with Roadrunner Meals Financial institution for distribution. Feedback from Marie Montano, provider, Nationwide Affiliation of Letter Carriers Department 504, Albuquerque.

Marie Montano, a letter provider for the Postal Service and member of the Nationwide Affiliation of Letter Carriers Native 504 in Albuquerque leads the drive, stated donations assist replenish the cabinets at Roadrunner Meals Financial institution.

Montano famous the undertaking is near her coronary heart, as a result of she remembers her circle of relatives typically struggled to make ends meet.

“There were six of us in my family, so I remember that it was sometimes tight for my parents,” Montano recounted. “And if I can do it now, to help out, I will do as much as I can, because I remember that.”

Because of COVID, letter carriers needed to forgo the annual custom the previous two years, and as a substitute competed in pleasant contests to boost money for Roadrunner, topping out at $10,000 final yr.

The annual occasion, held the second Saturday in Could, takes place in 10,000 cities and cities in all 50 states and past.

In accordance with Montano, postal prospects simply must put meals objects subsequent to their mail slot and a letter provider will do the remaining.

“Some of my customers don’t have the time to go and take it to Roadrunner,” Montano acknowledged. “Everybody’s so busy now and with COVID going on, they were kind-of scared, and it’s easy for a lot of our customers.”

Due to the two-year COVID hiatus, Montano will not be certain what to anticipate for this yr’s drive, however stated present letter carriers, retirees and numerous volunteers will do their finest to make it profitable.

“I’d like to hit 200,000 pounds for Albuquerque,” Montano emphasised. “We’ve gone a little bit close, I don’t know that we’ve fully gone over, over in the one-day pick-up. I think the highest we’ve gone is, like, 195,000.”

Individuals are inspired to depart a sturdy bag containing nonperishable meals objects that aren’t expired — similar to canned soup, canned greens, canned meats and fish, pasta, peanut butter, rice or cereal — subsequent to their mailbox earlier than the common mail supply time on Saturday.

Disclosure: Roadrunner Meals Financial institution contributes to our fund for reporting on Kids’s Points, Neighborhood Points and Volunteering, Starvation/Meals/Diet, and Poverty Points. If you want to assist help information within the public curiosity, click on right here.

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