IMPACTING LIVES BEYOND THE PLATE
Edible Communities Celebrates Food Heroes, in partnership with Niman Ranch
Food heroes are all around us, impacting lives beyond the plate. We’re seeing farmers, chefs, grocery store clerks, butchers, truckers and other essential workers in the food chain going above and beyond to help feed their local communities.
Edible Communities is proud to partner with natural meats pioneer Niman Ranch to help celebrate these too often-underappreciated heroes.
Local Food Heroes Share Their Stories
Food heroes are everywhere. From the farm fields to grocery store aisles, we are seeing unexpected heroes step up to bring wholesome meals to their neighbors in need. These heroes are making personal sacrifices, putting themselves on the frontlines to help their neighbors. Read some of their stories.
Marion, Massachusetts——Getting good food to those in need is a constant challenge in the local food movement. Enter COVID-19 and those hurdles have multiplied. Yet Marion Institute (MI) in Marion, Massachusetts has established an inroad to communities in need of a meal and restaurants in need of eaters. Established in response to the pandemic, the Cooks for Community emergency food initiative has served over 10,000 meals to the most vulnerable in our communities—the homeless, to senior citizens, health care workers, and immune-compromised cancer patients and their families.
Kent County, Maryland——When the pandemic closed the farmers markets in Kent County, farmers and vendors were awash in a glut of unsold produce and perishables, while their customers were confronted with bare larders. In response, Pinder created FarmersWagon.org, an online farm-to-door market connecting shoppers with local producers. A “care package” program allows customers to donate food bundles to families in need based. And recently, FW announced a new partnership with the Social Action Committee for Racial Justice and the Kent County Local Management Board to assist with the Feed the Children and Elderly Initiative.
Chelsea, Massachusetts——The smallest city in the Commonwealth but also the hardest hit by COVID-19, Chelsea is a city in need. And the city got help. When the pandemic hit, Eat Boutique’s Maggie Battista got to work and partnered with a local produce company and a nonprofit neighborhood empowerment initiative to assist in her mission: bringing fresh food to the people who need it most. She tapped into her own network to arrange donations, raised thousands of dollars and turned those initial 16 boxes into 100 the following week. The program continues to grow.
San Francisco Bay Area, CA——On March 16, when the state shelter in place took effect, Monifa Dayo, founder and executive chef of Monifa Dayo, The Supperclub, suddenly found herself with no work and no projects. But Dayo pivoted. Looking back to her roots and using skills honed through diverse culinary experiences, Dayo launched a new venture offering Gambian flavors with a California approach to cooking via a pick-up/delivery model. Yet she wasn’t done pivoting. Once Dayo found herself on solid ground again, she began wrestling with the concerns of essential workers on the front lines and partnered with the African-American Art & Culture Complex on a “pay-it-forward” program to donate meals to affected elders, single mothers and activists. Now Dayo thinks about serving her food with a side of social justice.
*Nominations to feature a local food hero for a story are now closed.
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