Part of the Gen-H mission is to highlight and elevate the good work being done in the Greater Cincinnati community that aligns with the Gen-H triple aim goals of healthier people, better care, and lower costs. The Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council’s Cincy Good Food Fund is a great example of shared, aligned efforts being leveraged to maximize the availability of – and access to – healthy foods across the region.
These efforts are critical in Greater Cincinnati, where obesity and poverty are widespread and many residents have little or no access to fresh, healthy food in areas known as food deserts.
Six organizations and initiatives were selected as recipients of Cincy Good Food Fund dollars in 2016. For this multi-part series, we’ll profile a different winning project in each weekly installment, with updates on their work in 2017.
The six recipients of Cincy Good Food Fund dollars distributed in 2016 are:
- The Northside Farmers Market: $9,000
- La Soupe’s “Cincinnati Gives a Crock” Cooking Class: $8,800
- Our Harvest’s “Winter Harvest Day:” $8,000
- Cincinnati Public School’s Aeroponic Gardens Pilot Program: $6,600
- Ohio Valley Food Connection: $5,000
- St. Leo the Great Church Community Garden and Pantry: $2,100
We’re kicking off our series by featuring The Northside Farmers Market, where they partnered with Apple Street Market and Churches Active in Northside to ensure that all of Northside’s residents have access to healthy local foods.
A Three-Pronged Approach
The Northside Farmers Market (NFM), located in a food desert, operates every Wednesday year-round, rain or shine, at Hoffner Park on Hamilton Avenue in Northside. Funding from the Cincy Good Food Fund enabled NFM to pilot a three-pronged approach to increase access for residents: providing a diverse selection of foods; easing transportation barriers to conveniently shop for those foods; and providing education about buying and cooking with local foods.
NFM partnered with Northside’s Apple Street Market, a community and worker-owned grocery store projected to open in 2017, to offer a booth at NFM of select staple pantry items, such as rice, beans, and nuts, so that shoppers may build entire meals without having to leave the neighborhood. NFM also created a series of pamphlets containing low-cost recipe ideas for 12 budget-friendly meals using market ingredients, and offers a cooking class series for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
In partnership with Churches Active in Northside (CAIN), NFM also offered a free shuttle service around Northside and South Cumminsville to connect less accessible areas to the market. While the shuttles are not currently operating, NFM is open year-round and continues their partnership with Apple Street Market and has copies of the cooking pamphlets still available. CAIN also provides the market with space to operate during winter months, to ensure that weather doesn’t interfere with residents’ access to a variety of fresh, healthy foods.
The Northside Farmers Market is making big strides toward addressing food insecurity in the neighborhood, by tailoring its programs to best serve the many residents who have a difficult time obtaining fresh and healthy groceries for a variety of health and economic reasons.
About the 2016 Cincy Good Food Fund
The Cincy Good Food Fund was a program of the GCRFPC, an initiative of Green Umbrella, with support from Interact for Health, The Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, and The Meshewa Farm Foundation.
The fund was designed to financially support innovative and promising projects that could make a significant, positive impact on our food system. It helped strengthen the Greater Cincinnati regional food system by supporting healthy food-related initiatives that improve the quality of life in our region.
The Cincy Good Food Fund provided up to $10,000 for innovative projects that promote “Good Food” for our region by addressing one or more of the following GCRFPC priorities:
- Healthy food access for residents in the region
- Production of local foods and value‐added food products
- Community development to support local foods and coalitions
- Food security for residents in the region
- Educational programs that promote healthy eating habits
- Beneficial reuse or minimization of food waste
About the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council
The Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council’s mission is to promote a healthy, equitable, and sustainable food system for all within a ten-county region of Greater Cincinnati. It provides grant support for food-related projects in our region that are innovative, impactful, and viable. For more information, contact Michaela Oldfield, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come back next week for the second installment in our six-part series: LaSoupe’s “Cincinnati Gives a Crock” Cooking Class!