Pilot Project to address Food Insecurity in Western Mass

imageA message from the Common Good Fund…

Even here in the Pioneer Valley, with our abundance of fertile fields and rich farmlands, one in eight people are at risk of hunger. It might feel like the causes of hunger and policies that seek to address food insecurity are out of our hands, controlled by remote government bodies and complex markets.

But we asked ourselves, what if those of us in the Valley who are food secure could provide more direct assistance to those of us who aren’t? And what if those of us in the Valley who need such assistance choose to access it? It’s a simple, direct, and local approach.

Together with the team at Simple Gifts Farm, Common Good is launching a pilot project called the Food Fund that hopes to do exactly that. The Food Fund is an experiment in community, to test whether providing support at the local level can help to alleviate food insecurity for our neighbors.

Here’s how it works…

Common Good members can add a small contribution to the Food Fund to every food-related purchase made with their Common Good account.   If you’re not a member, click the link here to open your free Common Good account.

The goal of the pilot project is to cycle enough donations through the Food Fund to provide ten families with a monthly credit of $20, which they can use for food purchases at the Simple Gifts Farm Store for a period of six months. Click here to participate in the Food Fund, as a donor or as a recipient: cg4.us/food.

If we have more than ten recipients, we will create a waiting list, and do further outreach to increase the Food Fund. We believe this can work, and if the pilot project proves we are right about this, it can evolve into an ongoing program that would expand to include more food/farm markets, more families in need, and more communities in the Valley.

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My personal experience…. 

I have agreed to contribute to the Food Fund with every Common Good food purchase.  I buy food pretty regularly at Simple Gifts Farm and Atkins Country Market.  Since I know that most major credit cards take 2.5% of each purchase for themselves (and I’m not a big fan of the big banks….)  well, I figure I should contribute at least this much toward the Food Fund.

BuyingFood

I’ve found the process of using the Common Good card to be simple and easy.  I get regular email reports on how much I’ve spent and how much I’ve contributed to the Food Fund.  And quite frankly, I just feel better about having the money from my purchases circulate in the local community and providing a little support for someone in need to make food purchases.

John M. Gerber

Amherst, MA

Related Stories: 

Buy Local with Local Credit – Jim Oldham

Lets Support the Common Good in Amherst – John Gerber

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