Food Banks as Regional "Good Food" Partners
Several food banks across the country are leveraging their resources to support local/regional food systems in innovative ways.
As we look to scale up the amount of healthy, fair and sustainable local and regional food in our food system, it becomes increasingly important to have storage and delivery mechanisms capable of getting the food to consumers. This infrastructure is very expensive, and the logistics required for efficient use of the resources is very complex.
Food banks across the country have trucks and warehouse space, including cold storage, and have been solving the logistics problem for decades, however traditionally with commodity food, often processed. This is beginning to change.
Several food banks across the country are acutely aware of the benefits of fresh, local food to their consumers, and their community, and are leveraging their resources to support local/regional food systems in innovative ways.
Presentations from FoodLinkNY and the Sacramento Food Bank.
Mitch Gruber is the Food Access Programs Manager at Foodlink, the Feeding America Regional Food Bank located in Rochester, New York. Mitch manages many of the initiatives that allow Foodlink to go beyond food banking, including 12 Farm Stands, a Mobile Market, and a Healthy Corner Store Initiative. He has helped Foodlink develop critical relationships with regional farms, processors, and food hubs in Central and Western New York. In addition to his work at Foodlink, Mitch is completing a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Rochester. His dissertation is about the municipality’s role in food distribution in 19th and 20th Century America. In his work at Foodlink and historical research, Mitch aims to demonstrate the ways that existing infrastructure can be used to create a more equitable food system.
David has been in the planning field since 1990 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from UC Davis. He spent three years as a planner for the City of Davis before returning to UC Davis in 1996 to earn a master’s degree in Transportation Technology and Policy. His thesis focused on linking land use and transportation planning and he was central in designing and building an urban growth model called UPlan, which is being used in many parts of California for city and regional planning. David has been at the Sacramento Area Council of Governments for 13 years. He was the Deputy Project Manager for the Blueprint: Transportation/Land Use Study and is the Project Manager for the Rural-Urban Connections Strategy, a regional effort to enhance rural economic viability and environmental sustainability. He has also been SACOG’s lead on floodplain management and water resource issues and is a former member of the Delta Vision Stakeholders Coordination Group. David is a past member of the California Health Food Financing Initiative Advisory Group, a member of the Yolo Agriculture and Food Alliance, a graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, a board member of the Center for Land Based Learning, a board member of the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, and a member of the External Advisory Committee for selection of the Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science at U.C. Davis.
Blake is President/CEO with Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS). SFBFS is a privately funded non-profit organization that serves over 25,000 men, women and children each month. The organizations primary mission is to serve low income families through six programs. These include food, clothing, youth education, adult education, parent education and senior nutrition and visitation services. SFBFS has over 5,300 volunteers and a staff of 40. Blake has served in this role since May 2005. Prior to leading the organization, Blake spent nine years as the Public Relations and Operations Director for SFBFS. Blake serves as Board Chairman for Soil Born Farms and is on the Community Action Board with Sacramento Training and Employment Agency (SETA). Blake graduated from Chico State University and served in the United States Army. Blake is married to Cyndie and has two daughters, Ariel and Dani.