Food Access

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, 415,000 people in our region were experiencing food insecurity before the COVID-19 pandemic*; that number has only increased since. (*Hunger Report 2020.)

When looking at the physical barriers to equitable food access, we are trying to address three types of locations:

  1. Food Deserts are defined as any location where an individual cannot walk for fifteen minutes and find/purchase fresh foods.
  2. Food Swamps are defined as any location where there is an availability of food, just not healthy foods.
  3. 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 food insecurity rose over 345% in our region. A disproportionate number of people affected being Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Yet food waste is a huge reality in our country, with about 40% of food being wasted, decomposing in a landfill, rather than feeding hungry people. That is why we have our Food Rescue Programs.

Food Rescue Programs

Food Rescue Programs leverage the Food Rescue Hero technology, developed by 412 Food Rescue, to mobilize volunteers who can transport donated foods to distribution sites.

How it Works

  1. We coordinate with food donor partners who have excess foods to donate (regularly or one-time).
  2. We coordinate with food distribution partners on the front lines feeding those in need (weekly, monthly, pop-up).
  3. We publish “rescues” through our app for our volunteer Food Rescue Heroes to claim, moving the food from a Donor to a Distribution site.

Our Goal

…is to create a network of community-based Food Rescue Programs in all Northern Virginia counties. This network brings healthy food to those most in need through the food distribution partners we support and the home deliveries facilitated by the app. While so many food distribution partners have enough work coordinating volunteers and serving their clients, we take care of all the logistics of procuring and delivering good food right to their door.

The app also allows us to collect real-time data on the need for the entire region and provide logistics to ensure available food is directed to where it is most needed.

Be A Food Rescue Hero!

Learn more about the Prince William Food Rescue today!