Community Hunger Solutions (CHS) exists to connect locally produced food with community members who lackaccess. To accomplish this, CHS works with farms, food processors and others to source locally produced foods that would otherwise go to waste. Then, volunteers sort the food for distribution to food pantries and other community partners. CHS averages about 150,000# of produce annually – plus a growing amount of Organic Valley dairy, such as milk and cheese. While the primary source of food is through donations, CHS purchases anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 worth of food from local family farms each year.
In addition to the work being done to feed people today, CHS is committed to removing barriers to food so that community members will have better food access tomorrow.
Based on county data, anywhere from five to ten percent of community members in rural Southwest WI identify as Black, Indigenous, or other People of Color (BIPOC) but the leadership within Community Hunger Solutions and partner organizations doesn’t reflect this diversity. Current systems are failing to engage BIPOC leaders in a meaningful way. This means that a significant amount of work is being done without the input from up to 10% of our community!
In response to this power imbalance, Community Hunger Solutions created the Rural Southwest WI Food Equity Project (FEP). The FEP creates connections between CHS and members of the community who identify as BIPOC and a platform for them to influence local hunger relief efforts, starting with Community Hunger Solutions. The FEP begins with in-person surveys conducted through community partners like Scenic Bluffs CHC and partner pantries. In person surveys will give CHS a community specific snapshot of each area we serve. Based on these surveys, CHS will recruit an Accountability Committee that includes representation from a wide variety of social identities who also have experienced food insecurity, ensuring that those closest to the problem are finally invited to help develop solutions.
“I’ve been leading the planning of this project for over four years. I’m thrilled to finally be talking about this with a wider audience and am looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish as a community! If done well, this project has the potential to shift the trajectory of the entire local food movement towards true equity. There’s real power in that.”
To learn more, visit www.community-hunger-solutions/equity-work or email CHS Program Manager Jeanette Burlingame at: Jeanette@community-hunger-solutions.org