Photo | Fighting against food insecurity in Santa Cruz County


Homeless Garden Project social work intern Maddie Lipscomb and Front Street Housing Support’s Jen Gosk bring boxes of donated food to Gosk’s car as the Homeless Garden Project partners with Growing the Table initiative to help fight hunger in Santa Cruz County. Food insecurity — the lack of access to sufficient food due to limited financial resources — has been decreasing in America since 2012, according to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. In 2020, as the Coronavirus pandemic resulted in job losses and economic recession in our country, food insecurity rose steeply. Growing the Table, a project of of TomKat Educational Ranch, and Kat Taylor and other private philanthropists, is responding to this need with a pilot program in Santa Cruz County featuring a partnership with the Homeless Garden Project, Coke Farm, and the Santa Cruz Farmers Market. The partnership will distribute more than 4,200 boxes of organic food to more than 20 local community organizations over the 2021 harvest season. The Homeless Garden Project will serve as the primary food distribution site for Santa Cruz and provide outreach to assess community need and identify service organizations that could benefit from receiving produce boxes during the pilot program. Growing the Table adds to the Homeless Garden Project’s decade-long Feed Two Birds program, which provides shares of their farm’s harvest each week to 10 local organizations. “As we begin to emerge from the COVID pandemic’s effects on our economy and food security, we are grateful to be touching the lives of more of our neighbors experiencing hunger,” said Darrie Ganzhorn, executive director of the Homeless Garden Project, “Food reaches every aspect of our lives; innovation in our food system can have powerful ripple effects.” (Shmuel Thaler – Santa Cruz Sentinel)


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