Closing the Food Gap

Since interning with Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) I have become growingly aware of the food inequality problem America faces today. What this means in a nutshell is that the wealthiest people are eating better, while the poorest are eating worse. While this is obviously an aspect of finances I believe that the problem can begin to get better by spreading education related to better nutrition as well as communicating convenient alternatives and resources to low-income families. Here is some of the fun stuff I’ve learned!

Farmer’s Markets

There’s something special about attending a farmers market. Maybe it’s the abundance of fresh, bright, sweet smelling fruits and veggies, or maybe it’s the realization that all of it was produced by someone who took the time to nurture their crop to maturity. Some even enjoy the environment and person-to-person interactions between a seller’s farms to your fork. Either way, I am a fan.

I have always loved farmers markets, the people are always so nice, the fruits and veggies are always so appealing to the senses and there is always something new to try; think samples people! You may be surprised to learn that Sacramento is home to one of the largest California Certified Farmers’ Markets in the state and offers the most ethnically diversified market in both produce and customer demographics. The Sacramento region also has more than 40 farmers markets, many of them year-round fixtures, which is amazing.

Most people think farmers' markets are more expensive than supermarkets—but studies don't always support that conclusion. In fact, they're often cheaper. For organic items, farmers' markets beat grocery stores every time hands down. Find a certified farmer’s market near you à 2016 Market Times and Locations

CalFresh

What is Cal Fresh? Short answer: Awesomeness!

Real answer: CalFresh is the name for the federal Food Stamps Program in California. In most other states, this program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture– is now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

CalFresh can add to your food budget to put healthy and nutritious food on the table. The program issues monthly electronic benefits that can be used to buy food at many markets, food stores and some farmers’ markets -- Yes!

SFBFS can help you apply! It takes less than five minutes to see if you qualify and just 30 minutes for a confidential appointment to complete your application. Find more information on our Web site by clicking à CalFresh Info.

SFBFS Gardening and Nutrition Classes

They say it’s better to teach a man how to fish than to just hand him a fish, well here we do both! SFBFS offer classes in our demonstration garden which is proudly displayed at our Family Services campus in Oak Park.          

Gardening classes include introduction to gardening, composting, pest management, irrigation, healthy food choices and more. The Demonstration Garden includes a greenhouse, composting and vermicomposting bins, large production beds along with other demonstration areas and an outdoor kitchen table where clients can learn to prepare food they cultivate and harvest.

SFBFS also has a seed bank to assist with growing your own fruits and veggies, so come check it out.

 Food Distributions

One of our biggest functions here at SFBFS is alleviating the immediate food needs of the community. Along with a huge number of partner agencies, we currently assist 135,000 individuals by giving away fruits and veggies all at no cost to the recipient. While our ultimate goal is to move our clients toward self-sufficiency, we understand that to do so their immediate basic needs must be addressed. There are many distributing spots around Sacramento. Use our Food Access page to find a location and time convenient for you. There are many options out there for better eating on a budget, you just have to go out and get them.

Submitted by:

Maurice Elamrani, SFBFS’ Communications Intern