According to a recent report released by the Federal government, the US economic crisis along with other issues has resulted in the highest recorded level of people who lack enough food. There are an estimated 50 million people, including one out of every four children, who are not eating enough food because they simply can’t afford to buy it.
There are more people seeking food assistance while at the same time, less financial support is being given to various agencies across the board. Families with disposable income are more hesitant to give in uncertain times. There are also more instances of government cuts to Medicaid, food stamp programs, etc.
Alarming Quantity And Quality Of Food
While there are some great people doing some great things, in our own exploration, we made some harsh discoveries about the food being given to those in need. For families who do not meet the guidelines of state agencies, private agencies will sometimes give groceries, but often only once every two months.
And the quality of the food being given in striking. For example, we found USDA cans labeled “meat with juice,” which has an intolerable odor when opened. Another trend is expired cans of highly processed foods, full of preservatives but lacking any nutrients.
We at North Florida Farms believe every human being should have access healthy, nutritious food. This should be so regardless of what choices an individual makes that contribute to their lack of financial income, poverty level, or lack of employment. The bottom line – people should not be hungry.
Our mission is to create access to fresh, locally grown, organic produce to the Tallahassee area throughout the year, regardless of the weather conditions. We create opportunities for individuals and families to purchase affordable food through our CSA Membership service and our delivery service. We also provide food to local restaurants who value providing locally grown, organic produce to their customers.
But, We Aren’t Just A Farm Selling Food
The other part of our mission is to provide fresh, organic, nutritious food to the hungry people in the community who can’t afford food for themselves and their families.
Our agriculture system uses minimal water, energy, fertilizer, labor, and machinery while at the same time producing high yields of food. As a result, we have an extremely low overhead. Based on our current projections, by the summer of 2011, the profits we receive from produce purchases will allow us operate our farm, continue our research, and at the same time provide free food to the hungry and disadvantaged people in the community.
Our current estimates indicate that we will be able to give up to 40 percent of our produce yields to the growing number of hungry population free of charge. Once our farming system is established and running full force, we will be able to provide the food to the needy without requiring ongoing financial support from the community.
Along with providing fresh vegetables and fruits, our goal is to provide a protein source to the community through our aquaponics system. This unique system produces high yields of Organic Tilapia at minimal costs. Tilapia is a tasty fish which can be served fresh, it can be frozen, and it can be preserved through dehydration.
The Responsibility Lies On Us
It’s up to all of us as individuals to help our brothers and sisters on the community, national, and global levels. The staff at North Florida Farms believes this should begin with the most basic human need – nutritious food.
Paying taxes and doing volunteer work a few days a year may not be enough. As we pay attention, we can easily see that what we are doing as a community and as a nation isn’t working. This is sad especially considering we are the wealthiest nation in the world.
Think about what you can do to support local sustainable agriculture. Think about what you can do to get the food to those who need it the most.
For information on how you can assist North Florida Farms at achieving its goals in the community, please see the support section of our website: Support Us