Demand at food banks has risen sharply due to the economic crisis. But fresh produce can be difficult to keep in stock at these facilities because of its price and limited shelf life. The Arizona Republic reports on one food bank that has started up its own 21-square-foot community vegetable garden this year, a project headed up by a local chef/gardener. We’ve previously covered other produce-to-food-bank initiatives here in Seattle, including a startup program to distribute seeds and gardening advice at food distribution centers, and efforts to collect fruit tree and garden excess for emergency food services.
But one factor that can put distance between fresh vegetables and the neediest people is lack of access to a kitchen. One thing we’d be interested to see: a shared kitchen facility where people without a home can prepare freshly harvested produce from a community garden. Though certainly not as efficient in terms of scale as a community feeding facility like the Langar in Delhi, it seems that a kitchen for preparing food would provide a bit of dignity, stability and choice in the lives of the people who used it. What do you think? (JL)