Next week the Fresh Food Collective, a farm to library program distributing fresh produce will begin its pilot year, and we're delighted to have Comfort Food Community as a partner. Three of our member libraries (Pember Library & Museum, Schuylerville Public Library, and Whitehall Free Library), have stepped forward to test our idea -- that for libraries to be able to change lives, we need to help people meet basic needs and have healthier lifestyles.
It may seem counter-intuitive that a region with farms could be a food desert, but transportation and low income result in limited access to fresh, affordable food. At the same time, many farms have surplus product. In the US, as much as 40% of the food produced each year is wasted. The Comfort Food Community mobilizes volunteers to glean local farms, making fresh, local produce available through its food pantry, mobile distribution, and now through our libraries.
The idea behind the Fresh Food Collective is simple: Reduce food waste while connecting people to fresh, local fruits and vegetables at member libraries, building healthier communities and opportunities for new voices to enter our collective conversations. For libraries, the payoff is huge -- new people will come to libraries, allowing us to build relationships with new families, introducing them to the range of services we provide. Stay tuned to learn more about this project!