The food system is multifaceted and impacts everyone. It is important to get involved in the local food movement now, especially given the impacts of climate change, an increasing global population, elevated diet-related diseases, and real economic struggles we all feel. There are many different ways you can take action that will make a huge impact on the lives of the people in our region.
Are you interested in policy?
Do you want to grow food and raise chickens?
Do you want to buy local foods?
Volunteer at a food pantry?
Organize your town to compost food scraps?
Do you want to help recover food from restaurants to deliver to food banks?
Do you want to take action to halt climate change?
Join the Southcoast Food Policy Council to inform regional food system strategy and take legislative action
- Advocate for a more resilient local food system https://www.marioninstitute.org/programs/sfpc/southcoast-food-policy-council-resources/ OR email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Please support our work in the Southcoast Food Policy Council at https://www.marioninstitute.org/donatetosfpc/
Food Security: Need help to afford food or find food?
- Register for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) https://www.mass.gov/snap-benefits-formerly-food-stamps
- If you have SNAP, you are eligible for the Healthy Incentives Program at
- Find your nearest SNAP/HIP grocer or vendor: https://dtafinder.dtadash.ehs.mass.gov/hip/
- You can also go to: https://mass211.org and https://southcoast.findhelp.com/
Growing Your Own and Buying Local
Alice Waters, chef and author, said, “I came to all the realizations about sustainability and biodiversity because I fell in love with the way food tastes. And because I was looking for that taste, I feel it is at the doorsteps of the organic, local, sustainable farmers, dairy people, and fishermen.”
Are you interested in growing fruits and vegetables?
Find a community garden near you at https://www.communitygarden.org/garden or find green space in your community and initiate a community garden.
Are you interested in raising chickens or goat?
Investigate your local Agricultural Commission https://www.massagcom.org/AgComs.php and learn about a particular Agricultural Commission, view Right-to-Farm bylaws, Agricultural Commission formation bylaws, and more.
Are you interested in buying local and supporting local farmers?
- Find your local farms at https://semaponline.org/ (Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership). Some farms have farm stands to buy directly from the farmer. They are a non-profit that also helps farmers to continue to learn and take classes and helps farmers apply for grants and could use your donations. For a list of places to buy local seafood by town: https://semaponline.org/seafood/
- Go to https://coastalfoodshed.org, our local Food Hub that gets the food from farmers, aggregates the food, and makes it available to the public at the New Bedford Farmers Market, the online farmers market, and a mobile farm stand. Farmers often do not have the time or staff to be at farmers’ markets, which is helpful to everyone. They are also a non-profit, and you can support them financially.
- For a list of farms that raise locally raised proteins (lambs, chicken goats, beef, and more) https://www.thelivestockinstitute.org/consumer-resources.html
Food Waste and Recovery
Are you interested in gleaning or harvesting from a local farm?
- Join the YMCA’s Sharing the Harvest Farm and harvest food for the local food pantries at https://ymcasouthcoast.org/programs/sharing-the-harvest/
- The SFPC is creating a Gleaning Program for Southcoast. If you want to volunteer to glean food that will go to food pantries, contact email@example.com.
Are you interested in volunteering in food recovery?
https://www.rescuingleftovercuisine.org/massachusetts Working to divert food to social service agencies and food providers
Are you interested in composting?
For people in New Bedford and Dartmouth, check out the backyard composting at https://gnbrrmdistrict.org/new-bedford-recycling and following instructions for composting at https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home
Do you want your town to compost?
Check out who is composting in MA: https://www.mass.gov/lists/massachusetts-landfills-transfer-stations-compost-sites-recycling-facilities#recycling-&-composting-facilities
and then talk to your town and a partner such as https://blackearthcompost.com/residential-curbside-compost-pickup/ to start town composting.
Are you interested in volunteering at a local food pantry?
- For the Greater New Bedford area, check out https://unitedwayofgnb.org/hunger-commission to see ways to get involved and https://www.volunteersouthcoast.org
- For the Greater Fall River area, check out: https://uwgfr.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Food-Pantry-Soup-Kitchen-11.21.2022-page-001-scaled.jpg
- Help pack up food, or distribute food at the YMCA’s Full Plate Project: https://ymcasouthcoast.org/schedules/health-fitness/full-plate-project
- Deliver healthy food to seniors through Meals on Wheels https://www.massmealsonwheels.org/