Nutrition for the Body and Soul: Bringing Healthy Food Closer to Home

Every individual and community should have access to healthy food. However, access to fresh food may be difficult or nonexistent, especially in low-income communities. This lack of fresh food can lead to health problems such as diabetes and obesity, which the American Medical Association (AMA) has recently recognized as a disease.


To eliminate these “food deserts,” our veterans and other community organizations have come up with innovative solutions to develop sustainable food systems that will benefit local populations.


Supermarkets: An Oasis in Food Deserts

Nutritious eating has been found to be closely linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases. Research has also found that the presence of a supermarket in a neighborhood leads to an increased percentage of residents meeting nutritional guidelines.


Organizations such as the California FreshWorks Fund (CAFWF), a public-private partnership loan fund, aims to increase access to healthy food in underserved communities by providing loans and flexible credit to grocers and distributors to help them overcome the high costs of entering food deserts and to support innovations in healthy food retailing.


According to CAFWF, fewer supermarkets and retail outlets are available in low-income communities. Not only that, but the presence of grocery stores in these communities has been found to create an average of 24.3 new jobs per 10,000 square feet of retail grocery space.


Access to nutritious food makes up just one part of a thriving, healthy community; but it can also play a role in stimulating economic activity and leave lasting benefits for the local population.


A Community Garden of Nutrition and Change

Our veterans are also making a meaning impact in providing healthy food to their local communities. Among them is our Farmer Veteran Kelly Carlisle. After serving as an Operations Specialist in the US Navy and Navy Reserve, Kelly returned home to East Oakland, California where she found gardening to have a therapeutic effect. Channeling her sense of duty toward her country into her local community, Kelly cofounded Acta Non Verba, a non-profit urban farm that focuses on serving at-risk youth. Along with providing a safe and creative outdoor space for children and youth, Acta Non Verba provides fresh and affordable produce to an underserved community, while also raising seed money for college funds for participating children and teens.


Childhood obesity and school dropout rates are abnormally high in East Oakland. With Acta Non Verba, Kelly hopes to use her urban farming project as a catalyst to improve the standard of living and create a healthier future for East Oakland youth—something that as a mother, Kelly feels very strongly about.


And thanks to joining the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund as a Bon Appétit Good Food Fellow, Kelly can expand the work she’s doing with Acta Non Verba. She was able to recently buy a pickup truck—a necessity for her urban garden—and she plans to start a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project in her local community, establish a farmers market on site, and begin community classes teaching topics such as composting, cooking, basic gardening, and more.


Through her garden, Kelly explains that she can “feed a certain number of families, but more importantly, the amount of people who will be soothed and inspired by the process is a far reaching goal that has a much larger impact on our society.”


A healthy lifestyle is fostered by a variety of factors. Chief among them is access to nutritious, fresh food. In populations that lack access to produce and proper health education, something as simple—yet powerful—as a community garden or a local grocery store can positively impact the entire community.


To learn more about how to contribute to the healthy food movement, contact us.

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    In conjunction with National Ag Day, Kubota Tractor Corporation has announced the launch of "Geared to Give," a new program in partnership with Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) that will provide financial support and donated Kubota equipment to U.S. military veterans pursuing a career in farming. Kubota and FVC jointly launched their partnership today at the California State Capitol in Sacramento during the Department of Food and Agriculture's Ag Day festivities. 

    Beginning this Spring, FVC will select qualified veterans who are pursuing a future in farming to receive donated Kubota equipment and other support for their respective farming operations. Farmer veterans who are FVC fellowship members can apply for the "Geared to Give" program and be considered for the donated equipment. Kubota has selected its versatile and efficient Standard L-Series compact tractors, which are proudly built in the U.S., to meet the varying needs of many small- and medium-sized farming operations.

    "Kubota and the Farmer Veteran Coalition share a belief in the future of farming and the future of America's veterans," said Todd Stucke, Kubota vice president of sales, marketing, and product support. "Our philanthropic mission is to 'power and empower those who move the earth.' We do this by providing equipment and funding to organizations that help people who work with the earth in ways that help our communities thrive - that is why we're proud to support FVC and their farmer veteran members:  they need support to make their dreams of a career in farming a reality, and Kubota is honored to answer their call."

    Based in Davis, Calif., FVC is cultivating a new generation of farmers and food leaders, and developing viable employment opportunities and meaningful careers for the veterans through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. FVC believes that food production offers purpose and opportunity, as well as physical and psychological benefits for all veterans. FVC works with veterans from all military branches, their families, employers, and mentors to support those returning to or beginning careers in food and farming.

    "We mobilize veterans to feed America through funding, equipment, counseling and resources to help guide the passion of our veterans so that they may earn for themselves a meaningful, finacially sustainable place in the agricultural community," said Michael O'Gorman, executive director of FVC. "We are deeply committed to leveraging our work through a network of partnerships with companies like Kubota, which allows us to more effectively connect the right resources to the veterans who most need support, particularly those in the onset of their civilian careers."

    For more information about the "Geared to Give" program, visit www.KubotaCares.com. To learn more about FVC, visit www.farmvetco.org.

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  • Mar 20th, 2015
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    Our own Michele Pfannenstiel, President FVC Maine, made a visit to Dick Royer's Farm last week. While there she was able to snap a few pictures of him and his wife.  Earlier in the month we were able to connect him with with Chet Bennetts, Director of Farm Development, to assist in business planning for his farm.

     

    "I just received the one page business plan from Chet. He told me he was sending it to me what I thought was a form or a sheet of paper to fill out turns out to be a 90+ page workbook and a cd! Wow I am so glad to have found you guys! I finally think I maybe on the right path to getting my farm on a good footing. Thank you so so much for your help..." 

    - Dick Royer

     

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  • Mar 18th, 2014
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  • Mar 2nd, 2014