Across Pennsylvania, farmers, distributors, educators and school food service professionals are coming together to keep our communities nourished during an extraordinary time. October is National Farm to School Month, and was recently proclaimed Pennsylvania Farm to School Month by Gov. Tom Wolf.
To celebrate, The Food Trust is highlighting the work of individuals who ensure children are connected to local agriculture.
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Philadelphia, PA — The Food Trust’s Board of Directors has appointed community economic and workforce development executive Mark Edwards as president and chief executive officer, effective Oct. 30, 2020.
Edwards joins The Food Trust with an extensive background in community-focused leadership, having served most recently as Director of Workforce Strategies for the State of New Jersey’s Department of Labor, where he led the reform efforts of the WorkFirst New Jersey program for TANF and SNAP recipients. Previously, Edwards served as President and CEO of Philadelphia Works Inc., where he led the organization in modernizing and integrating its operations, expanding its use of data and technology, and significantly increasing both the number of employers using its services and the total number of placements annually. Under Edwards’ leadership, Philadelphia Works also deepened its strategic linkages with other key city agencies and raised over $16.5 million for local neighborhood revitalization and economic development.
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As we continue to process the heartbreak and chaos in Philadelphia and around the country, we want to make one thing abundantly clear: The Food Trust stands with the protesters and condemns racial violence, police brutality, and the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the hundreds who came before them. Black safety, security, opportunity, well-being and survival should be the floor, not the ceiling. Black Lives Matter. Full stop.
The Food Trust’s mission is to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food. The fact that everyone does not have access is rooted in the systemic racism that has infected this country for centuries. In fact, racism has impacted access to housing, education, employment and so much more. The disproportionate impact that COVID-19 is having on communities of color is a living example.
The Food Trust acknowledges that we have not done enough to combat institutional racism, both within our organization and in the communities we serve. Things will never change until we create the change.
We pledge to:
Do better, together with the people and families we serve.
Listen, and understand our privilege.
Lean into discomfort, and learn and commit to change.
Use our position to amplify the voices of those doing crucial anti-racism work.
Teach that food justice is racial justice, and one cannot exist without the other.
Access to healthy food matters for the same reason abolishing racism matters: Equity in all its forms, including access to healthy food, is a right, not a privilege. We all deserve to thrive.
Angel Rodriguez, Chairman, Board of Directors, and Aaron Felder, Interim CEO, on behalf of The Food Trust
PHILADELPHIA, PA — In anticipation of a known hate group’s planned rally in West Philadelphia next weekend, The Food Trust's Clark Park Farmers Market's hours are shifting to 9-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 19. The safety of our community — including neighbors, shoppers, vendors, staff and volunteers — is our top priority; keeping Clark Park open with these reduced and shifted hours allows us to continue to serve our community members who rely on our farmers markets as a critical point of access for healthy, affordable food.
Read The Food Trust's official statement here.
Location: Lancaster, PA
Lancaster Early Education Center (LEEC), which serves 100 children ages 8 weeks through 5 years old, is committed to providing affordable, healthy, high-quality early care and education to children from low-income working families in Lancaster City. With a strong focus on child and staff wellness programming for over three years, LEEC educators have used technical assistance and SNAP-Ed resources to implement a series of Farm to ECE strategies to promote healthy eating, physical activity and access to fresh local foods.
“Parents often equate healthy eating with organic or expensive foods. We want to break that myth,” explains Madeline Reynolds, Director and Farm to ECE champion at LEEC. “Lancaster City is surrounded by many bountiful farms. Healthy, fresh food can be affordable.” To increase awareness of local sources for affordable, fresh foods, LEEC hosts educational field trips to the neighboring central farmers market and has partnered with a local grocery store’s nutritionist to host family workshops and fun classroom nutrition education. The center also hosts cooking demos, taste tests and distributes healthy, affordable recipes for families to take home.
LEEC has also integrated Farm to ECE into its teaching curriculum using STEM and literacy activities to introduce fresh foods, grow herb gardens and cook together in the classroom. LEEC educators are happy to see positive changes in the childrens’ behavior and academic performance as they decrease sugar intake, increased physical activity and healthier diets among children.
Accessible healthy food is crucial in allowing our community to be the best it can be. Not only does this keep our diets balanced, getting the critical nutrients we need, but it also prevents chronic disease, improves mood stability, and promotes a healthier lifestyle.
At The Food Trust, a nationally recognized nonprofit, their goal is to make sure that everyone in the Philadelphia area has the ability to incorporate affordable, nutritious food into their lifestyle. Through education, research, policy change, and community-based programs, they help everyone put wholesome foods on their plates.
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