“The City of Davis has an opportunity to address food insecurity in an innovative and systemic way. Given current proposals to cut federal food assistance programs, support for the food insecure is urgent. Yolo Food Bank’s campaign to “End Hunger” in one of America’s breadbaskets is a bold call.” -Food and Economic Development in Davis Report
By Michael Bisch
Kudos to our local leaders who have taken the initiative to focus our community upon the benefits of a more sustainable and equitable local food system. Their Food and Economic Development in Davis Report (FED) is being presented at the Davis City Council meeting this evening at 7:00 p.m.
In preparation for the presentation, your Food Bank offers updates that may inform the community dialogue. This morning’s commentary, part 3 of 3 of these updates, focuses upon the Priority Action Area “Ensure Access to a Healthy Diet for All.” While Yolo Food Bank plays a key role in advancing the City of Davis’ sustainability goals (see Part 1 and Part 2), equitable, nutritious food access is at the heart of Yolo Food Bank’s mission to end hunger and malnutrition throughout Yolo County…including a commitment to “Nourish Davis.”
Yolo County Administrator Patrick Blacklock recently wrote of Yolo Food Bank and its new $9.5 million food distribution and operations facility:
“There is no other entity in Yolo capable of providing these essential services and programs. I have great confidence in the YFB leadership team and am very optimistic that with the completion of their new facility they will be well positioned to grow, and capably and sustainably meet our community’s needs for the foreseeable future.”
Davis often is perceived as an affluent community, where academic success leads to prosperity and social mobility. However, with approximately 14,000 Davis residents living in poverty and struggling day-to-day with food and housing insecurity, the services of Yolo Food Bank are in higher demand than ever in Davis. To address this communal inequity, your Food Bank has resolved to increase distributions of healthy, nutritious food by an astounding 50% in the upcoming 2019-2010 fiscal year. This means moving two million more pounds of food next year than the current four million pounds collected, stored and distributed by your Food Bank. This is an incredibly heavy, logistical lift, and partnerships will be essential to success. As an initial step toward forming and nurturing the partnerships needed to achieve this lofty goal, Yolo Food Bank convened a gathering of the regional, executive leadership from around the county in January. City managers, UC Davis and community college officials, area school districts and County representatives gathered in the confines of the Food Bank’s previous location to commit to working together in the Food Bank’s new facility to end hunger and malnutrition in Yolo County beginning this Spring.
Over the past month, tactical-level, “Increasing Food Security In Your Community” conversations have been taking place, tailored to the unique circumstances of each area of Yolo County: rural/North County, City of Winters, City of Woodland, City of West Sacramento and Clarksburg, UC Davis, and the City of Davis meeting held yesterday. The Davis convening resulted in new understandings and fresh ideas from City of Davis staff and elected officials; Davis Joint Unified School District administration; UC Davis and Sacramento City College – Davis Center participants; and representatives of Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee (STEAC), CommuniCare, CHOC, Davis Community Church, and Grace In Action.
These newly-forged and strengthened partnerships are critical to Yolo Food Bank’s effort to “Nourish Davis.” But, equally important, are partnerships with the thousands of private donors and investors – just like you — who make possible the work of your Food Bank each year. “Nourish Yolo,” a major gifts campaign, launched recently to generate the working capital necessary to fulfill the capacity expansion promise of the new location, and spark a nutritional paradigm shift. Your support will ensure that “Nourish Yolo” will “Nourish Davis.”
Yolo Food Bank is a primarily privately-funded nonprofit distributing four million pounds of nutritious food throughout Yolo County each year, reaching every community of every size. With an unparalleled capability and capacity to collect, store and distribute this food, Yolo Food Bank provides unique services and opportunities to the region. It has the potential to transform the nutritional paradigm of our communities, thereby reducing poverty, increasing health and education outcomes and enabling social mobility of all kinds. You can support our neighbors who struggle to feed their families by making a gift at http://give.yolofoodbank.org/ or by volunteering at https://yolofoodbank.org/volunteer/
Michael Bisch, Executive Director, Yolo Food Bank