Join us in celebrating our partners at Florence Fang Community Farm in the Bayview, who reopened their farmer’s market-style pantry back in March! Neighbors and community members gathered for the ribbon cutting and filled their carts and bags to the brim with pears, cabbage, grapefruits, sweet potatoes and more.
Reopening for the Community
While some pantry partners were able to continue operating during the pandemic by pre-bagging groceries, many more – including Florence Fang – were forced to shutter their operations. Now, our Programs team is focused on helping those partners open back up for their neighborhoods.
As partners reopen, “we’re reaching out to neighbors [currently enrolled in Food Bank-run pantries] to let them know they have a choice to return to their neighborhood pantry,” said Tina Gonzales, Director of Community Partnerships at the Food Bank. “When a pantry reopens, it’s exciting for people who used to go there – that’s their community.” Plus, pantries run by our partners will help us scale back our large Food Bank-run sites (which opened during the pandemic to meet the increased need, and are nearly all at capacity), making them smaller and more manageable.
Farmer’s Market-Style Transitions
Many Food Bank-run pantries are also transitioning from COVID-mandated pre-bagging to farmer’s market-style. This pantry model centers choice by encouraging folks to take what they want and pass on what they don’t, while reducing food waste and plastic bag use. It’s a win-win for creating a more equitable and sustainable food pantry!
Perhaps most importantly, farmer’s market-style creates opportunities for connection with community. “Sometimes if we’re working with a nonprofit, that’s how they check in with their participants. It’s through farmer’s market distribution,” said Tina. “They’ll start talking about the food and then learn, ‘I need to book you an appointment for free tax help, or eviction defense.’ It’s a good connecting point.”