As a lifelong gardener, I realize how important fresh fruit and vegetables are to staying healthy and so I devote my time to growing tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower.
Gardening has also led me to be curious and concerned about how leafy greens, fruit, and other produce gets to hungry families who live in “food deserts” or areas that do not have grocery stores with fresh fruits and vegetables in the immediate vicinity. And my concern grows.
Living in the Sonoran Desert with a looming water shortage and local farmland disappearing due to residential and business development, I worry about the future availability of fresh and local foods for all Arizonans.
Because I volunteer with the Hunger Action team at the Franciscan Renewal Center (also known as the Casa), I get to explore these and other food-related issues and their impact on our local community.
On June 22 you have the chance to deepen your knowledge about these issues from the comfort of your home. All are welcome to attend a free virtual program, “Hunger is No Game: Farm to Food Bank to Fork,” on Tuesday, June 22, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Angie Rodgers, president and CEO of the Arizona Food Bank Network, will lead the conversation. She will highlight the AzFBN Friends of the Farm program that seeks policy-based solutions for hunger while distributing locally grown fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat for distribution throughout AzFBN network of food banks and pantries.
Ultimately these farm fresh foods end up on the dinner tables, and thus “forks,” of Arizona’s hungry families.
To learn more and to participate in the Hunger is No Game: Farm to Food Bank to Fork virtual program, please visit the Franciscan Renewal Center website program calendar: https://www.thecasa.org and register.
Statistics such as: one in four Arizona families struggle to put nutritious food on their tables, and one in three Arizona households have experienced food insecurity since COVID-19, indicate the realities of hunger in Arizona today.
It is the vision of the Hunger Action group at the Franciscan Renewal Center to be a “change agent” in our community by offering opportunities for education, advocacy, and service.
With Hunger Action, my volunteer contributions actively support the Vista del Camino Food Bank, the Desert Mission Food Bank and St. Mary’s Food Bank. And also St. Vincent de Paul, not only the dining room(s) and food warehouse, but also the Urban Farm where I have the opportunity to garden for and with others.
Editor’s Note: Ruth Murphy a volunteer with the Hunger Action Ministry of the Franciscan Renewal Center.