Food for Thought: Creating Resilient Rural Communities
Imagine grocery shopping at a Dollar Store. That’s the reality for the rural poor who live in food deserts with limited transportation. This lack of access to fresh food leads to an increase in obesity, diabetes, and other health concerns. The Southern Adirondack Library System (SALS) and the Comfort Food Community food pantry teamed up to address these and other challenges (adult literacy, food scarcity, food waste, food access, rural food deserts, and transportation) by launching the Fresh Food Collective Farm-2-Library initiative. We reduced food waste by gleaning produce from local farms, then distributed the produce through small, rural libraries where food scarcity, limited food pantry access, and transportation all limit access to fresh fruits and vegetables. In the first year, nearly 2,500 pounds of fresh produce were distributed, bringing new faces into the library, creating and deepening relationships with the community fostering renewed interest in library services from populations that were previously reluctant users.
Erica Freudenberger is a promiscuous collaborator who works with libraries to empower their communities. Currently the Outreach & Engagement Consultant at the Southern Adirondack Library System, she formerly led the Red Hook Public Library, a finalist for the Best Small Library Award given by Library Journal and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She was an advisor to the Aspen Institute’s Re-envisioning Public Libraries pilot, and in 2016, was named a Mover & Shaker by Library Journal. The Public Library Association’s presented her with the Upstart Library Innovation Award (2019) for the Southern Adirondack Library System’s Fresh Food Collective Farm-2-Library initiative. In her free time, she runs Thriving Libraries, LLC.
Feb 6, 2020
1:00PM - 2:00PM CT
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