A New Direction in Food Banking

A recent article on NPR’s The Salt blog highlights the work of Foodlink, a regional food bank in Rochester, NY, and their efforts to both alleviate poverty and provide healthier foods. Given investments the food bank made in food processing, in July 2014 they began purchasing apples from local farmers and then selling them washed, sliced, and packaged to local schools. The initiative was a hit with students and has allowed them to add staff and use the extra revenue for their after-school and summer meal programs.

Foodlink also provides fresh produce in the community through it’s Curbside Market, a traveling produce market that sells fresh fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. Coming in 2018 is a Community Kitchen Institute to help individuals with barriers to employment prepare for jobs in the food industry.

All of this points to a growing trend among food banks and other hunger relief organizations – a shift from solely focusing on food distribution to improving health and livelihoods.