ExtraFood Responds to the Crisis: Accelerating Food Justice
February 25, 2021
I hope you and yours are well. In the thirteenth month of this crisis, all of us at ExtraFood.org continue to be heartened by a Marin community that is steadfast in serving the most vulnerable among us.
Last year, after the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others, I wrote to you about ExtraFood's commitment to making an impact on ending racism in a way that is connected with our mission to end hunger and food waste in Marin. Since that time, ExtraFood has:
- Increased BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) voices on our staff.
- Conducted two half-day facilitated trainings to elevate our staff's racial consciousness, following onto staff discussions about bias, privilege, and equity
- Initiated a Speaker Series at our staff meetings, which has included:
- Dr. Jon Haveman, ExtraFood's Consulting Economist, on the Racial Wealth Gap
- Liz Darby, the County of Marin's Social Equity Policy & Program Manager, on historical redlining, a "state-sponsored system of segregation" in housing and financial services, in Marin
- A discussion of this video, on racial bias, by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt of Stanford University's Department of Psychology
- Co-launched our partnership with Growing the Table, AIM, and Performing Stars of Marin in Marin City to deliver more than 18 tons of excess fresh fruits and vegetables from small farms, particularly BIPOC-owned farms, to vulnerable people. This project is preventing high-quality food from going to waste, supporting farmers whose income has been decimated by restaurant closures, and increasing equitable access to healthy, fresh food.
Structural racism has long been shown to result in far greater food insecurity among BIPOC, and COVID-19 has only increased the disproportionate percentage of BIPOC who are struggling with hunger. Food justice is racial justice; I will continue to update you on our work in this area.
COVID-19's impact is also deeply troubling in its effect on many people who have been, until now, unfamiliar with hunger: in a recent poll, 4 out of 10 Americans indicated they have experienced food insecurity for the first time during the pandemic, reflecting similar data from food distribution sites across the country.
We see these Americans here in Marin: the working families who have lengthened the lines at the food distribution sites we serve, the homebound seniors asking us for prepared meals, the children who are not receiving the meals they had received at school. But with your support, we are working throughout the county, 365 days a year, to meet the growing need in our community. Thank you again for your support as we work together toward the day when all in our community have the food they need. Together, we will get through this.
Founder and Executive Director, ExtraFood.org