Oct 05 2015 |
Author: Christen |
By Terry Garner
Member Services Director
CAFB’s Annual Member Meeting, held at the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland on September 17th, offered the perfect opportunity to reflect on our past accomplishments, our current strategic planning process, and our future goals. The gathering came at a time when many were already discussing the September release of the most recent Census and USDA data around food insecurity and poverty — data points that reinforce how critical this work continues to be.
There was an additional, special milestone for this Annual Meeting — it allowed us, as a group, to celebrate what a special year it is for CAFB. We celebrate 20 years of fighting hunger this year, and we are extremely proud of what our CAFB team and our members throughout the state have achieved — individually and collectively — over the past two decades.
Suzan Bateson, CAFB Board Chair and Executive Director of the Alameda County Community Food Bank, thanks Paul Ash, Executive Director of the SF-Marin Food Bank, for his service to CAFB.
Our ongoing efforts are fueled by the tremendous commitment of our partners throughout the state. This year, we’ve grown — and achieved more than in any past year:
- Distributed 150 million pounds of produce through the expanded Farm to Family program by increasing in-state and out-of-state vendor relationships, providing members better access to low-cost food.
- Assisted with over 21,000 CalFresh applications across the state, helping to connect hungry Californians with much-needed food resources.
- Advocated for an additional $17 million in drought relief food assistance for affected counties.
- Crafted an important expansion of the state tax credit for agricultural donations to food banks.
- Facilitated regional disaster planning for Central Coast food banks.
- Raised $1.3 million in funding for projects and programs benefiting CAFB and our member food banks.
There was so much ground to cover during our Annual Meeting!
Member Initiatives to Check Out
While we could have spent the whole day discussing the outstanding work that our members are doing, we highlighted these two member initiatives during our Annual Meeting:
- Waste Not OC Coalition, Orange County Food Bank
- Californians for SSI, Alameda County Community Food Bank
We look forward to working with current and future partners to achieve a hunger-free California by increasing access to nutritious food, building and mobilizing advocacy efforts, and supporting our members in deepening their community impact.
These are the types of goals, by the way, that CAFB has been examining as we develop our strategic plan, which will take us through 2018. We’re eager to share this blueprint for the future as soon as it is finalized.
Thinking Expansively and Ending Food Waste
As part of this work, we need to think expansively, so at the Annual Meeting, we focused on a trend that is gaining momentum nationally: ending food waste. Dana Gunders, a Staff Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and our keynote presenter, discussed how food banks can collaborate to end food waste. Dana works on promoting market- and policy -oriented initiatives to promote sustainability throughout food systems and supply chains.
Dana Gunders, a Staff Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), was the keynote presenter at CAFB’s Annual Meeting. She shared data and offered tips about how food banks can collaborate to end food waste.
Find out more about food waste reduction initiatives by checking out these resources:
- Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40% of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill
- The Dating Game, a report on how confusing food dates lead to food waste
Thanks once again to the 32 CAFB members who joined us for this year’s meeting. We are already looking forward to sharing even more accomplishments at next year’s Annual Meeting.