METRICS FROM THE FIELD: Addressing Hunger by Strengthening Local Foods Logistics
Keywords:Food Systems, Urban Agriculture, Public Health
First paragraphs:Las Milpitas de Cottonwood Farm in southwest Tucson is an unusual urban farm. On an intensely sandy stretch of land, bright green vegetables flourish in penetrating sunlight. Billowy clouds waft over observant mountain ridges. A straw-hatted farm manager sprints between rows to welcome his guests, avoiding plastic irrigation cable that will soon be buried along the rows.
Las Milpitas is a farm owned by the Community Food Bank (CFB) of Southern Arizona. A working farm that produces food for the hungry, it is also a place where permaculture practices are honed, where an arid landscape is being restored, and where waste is composted into new fertility. Most critically, it is a farm where CFB constituents can learn farming skills.
The farm represents a broad dream held by one of the pioneering food banks in the U.S. While exceptionally efficient at delivering 29 million pounds (13 million kg) of food annually through its five locations and over 300 agencies, the food bank's leaders note with chagrin that the number of clients coming to the food bank has more than doubled since 1997. Rising to the challenge, CFB now delivers almost three times as much food as it did then, yet staff realize that hunger is outpacing their ability to deliver food, as the economy continues to create poverty....
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