Berkeley Food Network in the News
New Home for the Berkeley Food Network
We are very pleased to announce that we have been selected to lease the City of Berkeley-owned warehouse property at 1001 University Avenue to serve as our food sourcing and distribution hub. We are currently in lease negotiations with the City.
Our food sourcing and distribution hub will have four functions:
1. A distribution point for all BFN member agencies who would like to have food from ACCFB delivered to our warehouse in Berkeley for pick up there, saving them the trip to Oakland. We will also be able to hold food, both dry and perishable, for those agencies that are short on storage.
2. A recovered food hub for receiving, sorting, reporting, and equitably distributing recovered food to any BFN member agencies that can use it. We are currently in the process of developing sources for this recovered food. In addition, we will be sourcing fresh organic produce from local urban famers.
3. An on-site grocery distribution. Our on-site pantry will be open long hours 6 days a week in order to accommodate those who are not able to attend existing pantry programs.
4. A warehouse for satellite distributions of prepared meals and groceries to food-insecure families and individuals who, for a variety of reasons, find it difficult to access existing grocery and meal programs. We are working with several organizations to locate food distributions at their sites. We have already begun this work with 10 (and counting!) BUSD schools and the North and South Berkeley Senior Centers. This distribution is now serving over 700 individuals, twice a month!
We are very excited to get started in this work and to strengthen our partnerships with our members.
BFN’s Hub Kitchen Project Launching Soon!
The Berkeley Food Network is piloting our Hub Kitchen Project this fall. The goal of this project is to increase the supply of nutritious complete meals, such as bulk ready-made meals and individually packaged ready-to-eat/heat meals, available to food-insecure residents of Berkeley by taking advantage of surplus food from local commercial food businesses and farms. The food will be taken to some of our agency partners who will serve or distribute the food directly to their program participants. BFN is partnering with Bauman College, Replate, Daily Bread, and a corps of volunteers to operate the program. We plan to have our program up and running by the end of October. Please let us know if you would like to receive food from this program or are interested in participating in some other way.
Meet Sarah Palmer DeFrank, Our New Director of Programs and Chef
Sarah began at BFN on August 15 and is already working hard to get our Hub Kitchen project off the ground sometime in October (see below for more details about this new program). She will also be directly responsible for our off-site food distribution programs. We are very excited and fortunate to have Sarah join the BFN staff.
We are very excited and fortunate to have Sarah join the BFN staff. She is a professionally trained chef with experience in making delicious and nutritious food out of “what you’ve got.” In addition to her culinary background, Sarah has been working at the California Association of Food Banks as the Advocacy Manager where she has been deeply involved in policy work aimed at improving access to food for everyone in California who lives with food insecurity. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Mills College and a BA in Sociology with a focus on Welfare Programs and the Social Safety Net from UC Davis. Sarah looks forward to being able to blend her passions for cooking and food-insecurity policy work at BFN. Please join me in welcoming Sarah to our network!
Read about the Berkeley Food Network in Berkeleyside!
Berkeley Food Network fills the gaps for nonprofits working to end food insecurity
BFN Facilitates Produce Distribution for Berkeley Seniors and Families
On February 9th, the work of 6 organizations came to fruition with an inaugural produce distribution at the South Berkeley Senior Center. The Berkeley Food Network facilitated the formation of the Seed to Flower Collaborative whose members included the North and South Berkeley Senior Centers, the John Muir and Malcom X PTAs, the Alameda County Community Food Bank, and the Berkeley Food Network. Open to seniors, the families of BUSD students, and South Berkeley Senior Center neighbors, the twice-monthly distribution offered apples, pears, potatoes, onions, and cabbages. Participants expressed deep gratitude for the plentiful fresh produce. At our March 9th distribution, we served 184 households and 432 individuals. We expect to eventually serve 250 households.
Once the Berkeley Food Network has secured space for its hub operations, this distribution will become a regular pantry distribution of fresh produce, meat, dairy, bread, and shelf-stable foods. We look forward to expanding this service to Berkeley seniors and families struggling to buy enough food to last through the month.
The Seed to Flower Collaborative is an example of the Berkeley Food Network’s efforts to bring food to people who need it at locations most convenient to them.