What is Food Access?
Food access refers to the availability and affordability of healthy foods, generally within a fifteen-minute walk.
Why is Food Access Important?
Food access is a direct determinant of food security. Food security is when people “…at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. Commonly, the concept of food security is defined as including both physical and economic access to food that meets people’s dietary needs as well as their food preferences.” (World Health Organization). According to Capital Area Food Bank, 1 out of 10 residents of the metropolitan Washington region is food insecure and about 1/3 of them are children. (Hunger Report 2020.)
When looking at the physical barriers to equitable food access, we are trying to address three types of locations:
- Food Deserts are defined as any location where an individual cannot walk for fifteen minutes and find/purchase fresh foods.
- Food Swamps are defined as any location where there is an availability of food, just not healthy foods.
- Food Apartheid is defined as any location where access to find/purchase fresh foods is unavailable due to racially motivated policies.
The COVID pandemic exasperated these issues over the past year as our partners experienced increases of 20-400% in need (based on our CY20 Partner Survey). A disproportionate number of people affected being Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) (Hunger Report 2021). Yet food waste is a huge reality in our country, with about 1/3 of food being wasted, decomposing in a landfill, rather than feeding hungry people (The Environmental Impacts of Food Waste). That is why we have our Food Rescue Programs.
Food Rescue Programs
How it Works
- We coordinate with food donor partners who have excess foods to donate (regularly or one-time).
- We coordinate with food distribution partners on the front lines feeding those in need (weekly, monthly, pop-up).
- We publish “rescues” through our app for our volunteer Food Rescue Heroes to claim, moving the food from a Donor to a Distribution site.