November 24, 2011 at 12:21 am (Food and drink, Global Events, Health and wellness)
Tags: Feeding America, Food bank, food insecurity, food pantries, Pantry, recipients, SNAP, supplemental
Food Assistance Becoming the “New Normal”
Emergency food from pantries is no longer being used to meet temporary acute food needs. A majority of our clients now visit food pantries as a “normal” part of their strategy to supplement monthly shortfalls in food.
Emergency food is no longer used to meet temporary food needs.
(54%) of our clients are “frequent” users, meaning they have visited a food pantry monthly for at least six months or more during the past year.
Additionally, over one third of all clients (36%) are “recurrent” users, having visited a food pantry at least every month within the past year
Pantries are now a part of households’ long term strategy to supplement monthly shortfalls in food.
Our SNAP recipients are among the most frequent users.
Among clients currently receiving SNAP benefits, over half (58%) have visited a food pantry monthly for at least six months or more during the past year.
The shorter clients’ benefits last throughout the month, the more likely a client is going to visit a pantry every month.
This speaks to the use of food pantries as a coping strategy for many clients who are receiving limited SNAP benefits.
This research demonstrates what we’ve been seeing anecdotally in our food banks and agencies.
For the first time, we have measured the frequency that people have been relying on food pantries.
For most food banks and pantries, the findings are not a surprise.
This study underscores the ongoing need amongst our clients and the need for continued support of SNAP.
Without SNAP, this continues to create further strain on the network as the number of recurrent and frequent clients use an already over-burdened system along with the growing population of new clients. Feeding America currently serves 37 million individuals each year, up 46% since 2006.
We can also see the beginning of the “perfect storm:” Food prices are going up, food manufacturers are facing their own squeeze in the tough economy, and are responding as one would expect in the market, seeking greater efficiencies, which means fewer donations. Charitable contributions are also harder to come by as more Americans feel the economic squeeze. State and local governments are cutting back on social services.
Get the press release.
August 25, 2011 at 12:56 am (Food and drink, Health and wellness, News and politics)
Tags: farmers, food, jeopardized, markets, organic, product, programs, SNAP, supplemental, USDA
farmer’s market jobs | Farmer’s Markets Spur Job Growth, New Report Finds | Rodale News.
Farmer’s Markets Spur Job Growth, New Report Finds As the economy limps along, farmer’s markets are showing record growth, and that growth could bring thousands of jobs with it.
By Leah Zerbe
Learn how to find truly organic food at farmer’s markets.
The little economic engine that could: Farmer’s markets spur local development and job growth.
RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—In a dismal week for the U.S. economy featuring debt-ceiling drama in Washington and the threat of a double-dip recession on Wall Street, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) delivered some powerhouse statistics demonstrating the public’s demand for healthy, organic food: The number of farmer’s markets in the country increased 17 percent in the last year. “There’s a yearning for the 99 percent of Americans who are no longer connected to the farm to reconnect,” Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of the USDA, said in a press call Friday afternoon.
The timing is perfect—this week marks National Farmer’s Market Week—and comes on the heels of a new report finding that farmer’s markets could generate thousands of jobs in the U.S.
THE DETAILS: The 2011 USDA Farmer’s Market Directory lists 7,175 farmer’s market, and Merrigan says the number is probably even higher because some markets don’t self-report. The states with the most markets include California, New York, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. And, though not on the top 10 list, Alaskan farmer’s markets increased 46 percent over last year, and Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico were each up 38 percent. As an indication that shoppers are indeed searching for more local, organic food, Merrigan said more than 2 million people have searched the USDA Farmer’s Market Directory so far in 2011.
“Farmer’s markets are just growing exponentially,” said Merrigan, who highlighted farmer’s market innovations, particularly those that bring healthy produce to low-income areas. One such advancement is the increase in farmer’s markets’ allowing electronic benefit transfers (EBT), so people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as food stamps, can purchase fresh, healthy food at farmer’s markets. Many of these markets are moving into food deserts, areas without grocery stores that sell fresh produce and where the few stores that do sell fresh vegetables are bodegas and corner stores with a high mark-up.
Note: Many of the USDA programs that help boost farmer’s markets numbers and bring healthy food to people could be on the chopping block in the 2012 Farm Bill. (Read more)