How do we get as much fresh, local food to as many people as possible? Sean Fitzpatrick of Real Food Share and Annmarie Gianni of Moss Creek Farm dive into the grass-root action steps to make a lasting impact on our local food system and ensure that everybody has access to healthy food.
Here is the trailer for UnFed, the weekly webinar laying out all of the action steps. After a few weeks of breaking down the key topics, they’ll be interviewing the very best across the local food scene throughout Connecticut.
The webinar starts at 12:00 every Wednesday for discussion and Q+A as we highlight all of the related topics around food security, healthy communities, and local food systems. You’ll walk away with action steps you can start today and progress for years to come. Join us in the effort to end hunger!
Ann Marie: Welcome to Unfed, where we are creating equality in our food system. My name is Ann Marie Gianni, Activist and new farmer at Moss Creek Farm, and I volunteer at the Real Food Share. I’m here with Sean Fitzpatrick, cohosting unfed. Together we are on a path to teach how we can get healthy foods to everybody’s table, especially in a pandemic. There are so many more people struggling this year to feed their families, than in prior years. Sean and I with all of your help want to be part of that solution.
Sean: My name is Sean Fitzpatrick, the founder of Real Food Share. We are a Newtown-based nonprofit with a mission to get as much healthy local food on everybody’s table as possible. This past year, in 2020, we ran two gardens and collected surplus from local farms and donated over 10,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables to five different food pantries across our county. This upcoming year we hope to do at least triple that.
We are at the very beginning of rolling out some education on all of the topics related to food systems and food security, and we’re kicking this off right now.
Ann Marie: Tell us all about it. What is Unfed?
Sean: Unfed is a weekly lunchtime get-together that Ann Marie and I are hosting, and we are going to be shining the light on all of the topics related to food systems and food security. For example, nutrition, buying local food, preparing healthy food, where to get local food, food waste, and the organizations in your community that are contributing in and around food security and food system issues. What we want to do is show how we are an integral part of all of these topics, and present you with solutions that you and your family can do every day that will make an impact on improving our food system and our community’s health
Ann Marie: Can you define Food Security and Food Systems?
Sean: Definitely buzzwords over the last year in the Pandemic. Food Systems encompass the journey that food takes from the field to your plate. A food system involves where it is grown, who is growing it, the environment it’s grown in, how it is produced and harvested, how it is getting packaged and distributed, and eventually arriving on our plates. Ann Marie, what did you have for breakfast this morning?
Ann Marie: I had eggs and cauliflower.
Sean: Where did the eggs come from?
Ann Marie: The eggs are local from Bridgewater, Connecticut. The cauliflower came from Cariluzzi’s Market.
Sean: Bonus points for the eggs. That’s about the best you can do outside of raising the chickens yourself. And the cauliflower, not grown IN Caraluzzi’s, which is a nice market based here in Connecticut, but we don’t know where it came from or how it got there. So we have questions like, “Is it seasonal?” and “How long did it take to get here?” and “When was it picked?” and all of that is part of the food system we want to be aware of.
And Food Security, to summarize it, is the understanding that there is a spectrum for all of us in a community where at one end there are some of us for whom it is very easy and we don’t have to worry about where our next meal is coming from. Then along that spectrum there might be people where something comes up that disrupts the money flow and all of a sudden you think about changing what you’re going to spend on your food. And then at the other end is where you are constantly stressed about how you are going to afford food to feed your kids. It’s important for everyone to understand that there a lot more people moving down that spectrum and are struggling to put food on the table.
Ann Marie: There is also the idea of “global solutions” versus “local solutions”. I can share a story. I used to live in an RV and we staying in a lot of Walmart parking lots, and I walked into one of the stores one day and right in front there was a display of macaroni and cheese on sale for 99¢. It was a big box that could feed a family of four. I walked in to grab an apple and it was the same cost, just to satisfy me in that moment. Sean, can you talk about global versus local solutions?
Sean: Yes, so that was a great example of how globally, in the food system realm, that there are these big distribution chains and large producers who are putting out heavily processed foods that are lower quality and usually lower cost. And that usually coincides with lower nutritional. Large global food production normally doesn’t produce as much bang for your buck in terms of nutrition and support for the local community. Depending on where the apple came from, that has its story too. But looking at global distribution chains can do versus local, we will be focusing on the local pieces and how to build up our local food system. This includes getting people out to their local farmers markets, educate them about CSAs, encouraging people to start growing some food at home, focusing on their recycling and food waste, composting versus throwing food in the trash, supporting local organizations and restaurants, and all of the good things we can do on the local level. We will lay them out, one at a time, and share resources along the way from all of the organizations that have compiled great resources.
Ann Marie: Yes. If everyone can do just a little bit, even just a 10% change, we can make a big impact on this issue. Sean how can people get on these Unfed live chats and join us for Q and As?
Sean: We will include links to the Unfed webinars in our email newsletter, the RealFoodShare.org website, and we’ll post the webinar links on social media – our Facebook and Instagram pages. We will post the monthly schedule, and we will have weekly email reminders. So you’ll have the opportunity at the beginning of the month to sign up for any or all of them. Then there will be weekly reminders. And after the webinar we will post the video summarize the resources and action that we talked about in the webinars, as well as a PDF with all of the information that you can download.
Everybody remember, together we can end hunger and create a deeper connection with our communities and our environment. We look forward to seeing you at the Unfed webinars. Thanks so much.
www.realfoodct.org @realfoodshare @mosscreekfarmct