Healthier Food For The Hungry

Apples. Pumpkin. Squash. Sweet Potatoes. When you mention these fruits and veggies, they not only conjure up imagery of fall, they are also known for being healthy, good for you foods. Unfortunately, healthy, fresh produce can be hard to come by when you're struggling to put food on the table.

Nutrition and health are important to us at the Atlanta Community Food Bank. We know how important fruits and veggies are to a person's health and well-being. In fact, we know it's so important we've incorporated it into our three-year strategic plan. In the first quarter of our fiscal year (July-September), we distributed more fresh produce than ever before--over 1.4 million pounds.

So how have we been able to increase produce distribution? It's certainly a combination of things. For starters, the long standing Plant A Row For The Hungry project through our Community Gardens program has pulled in 60,904 pounds this year to date. We also have a new healthy foods initiative within our procurement and distribution departments. And then there are those unexpected places as well.

Back in May, we shared on Facebook and Twitter a story of a massive sweet potato donation that had come from the Society of St. Andrews. 42,840 pounds of sweet potatoes were sorted and collected by our agencies, but that's not the end of the story. The sprouts from the potatoes were removed to be planted for our own community garden and other community gardens throughout our service area. On our end, ACFB's incredible Community Gardens staff planted the sprouts later that month. Just this week, a volunteer group of third graders from the Waldorf School of Atlanta harvested 894 pounds of sweet potatoes--all from those sprouts we got from that first donation.

What a great way to begin the conversation about access to healthier food. Do you have a healthy food story to share?