If "you are what you eat" then what message are we sending to people who cannot access fresh food or must travel a long distance, with limited access to transportation, to get to a grocery store? Do the shelves of convenience stores and gas stations carry the items people need to live healthy lives?
The USDA's Economic Research Service uses data from a variety of sources to identify areas of food scarcity. Perhaps you've heard the terms "food desert" or "food swamp?" This captures the reality of neighborhoods that are not in reasonable proximity to groceries.
The Food Justice coalition examined this issue several years ago and has been ahead of the curve in working on a response. BluePrint Geneva is active in efforts to glean produce from area farms and distribute it to food pantries, community lunch programs and other distribution points where it will get into the hands of those who need it. We are also launching a wintertime growing operation to keep access to fresh produce year-round. Read more under Urban Agriculture.
In 2019, BluePrint will also host canning and other food preservation clinics to extend the shelf life of what is gleaned and allow access to fruits and vegetables beyond the growing season. Our primary service area is Wards 5 & 6 in Geneva, with a special focus on the Foundry Contamination Zone. Home deliveries and drop offs at the Little Free Farmstand are frequent during the growing season. Posts on Instagram alert people to what is currently available for pick up.
The work is important, ongoing and expanding. In 2018, BluePrint Geneva was awarded funds by the City of Geneva to construct a 10' x 20' walk-in cooler to support community food operations year round. Completed over the summer, planning is underway to ensure that the many community organizations addressing critical food needs will have access to this space to promote the mission of food justice.