The New Brunswick Community Food Alliance: Helping End Food Insecurity in New Brunswick Since 2011
The Food Alliance is a community based organization that has been striving towards ending food insecurity in the city of New Brunswick. Founded in 2011 when it was approved by city council to act as the New Brunswick food policy council. The Food Alliance has been providing everything from education & access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods. To implementing new community gardens throughout the city. Residents pay $15 to lease a garden bed, through the Food Alliances partner The Community Garden Coalition, where they can grow their own fruits and vegetables for their families and others in New Brunswick.
The Food Alliance also played a major role in the New Brunswick Public School system’s with the implementation of the “Breakfast After the Bell” program. According to Keith Jones II the chairman of the Food Alliance. The“Breakfast After the Bell” program provides breakfast to all students in their homeroom class. The breakfast generally consists of a cereal, milk, juice, fruit and a healthy snack.
The “Breakfast After the Bell” program is currently in all elementary schools, as well as the middle school and there are efforts to include the high schools in the initiative in the near future.
“It guarantees kids a breakfast at school, cuts down on some of the hunger challenges in class, the behavior issues in the class, as well as teachers having to stop their lessons to tend to students acting out due to hunger related issues”. Says Keith Jones.
The Food Alliance is also starting to focus on local small businesses in the city of New Brunswick with a corner store initiative called “Hub City Fresh.”
“Hub City Fresh” targets local corner stores where students and their families are likely to shop, and help the businesses better understand on how to stock and promote healthier food options. Rather than having students purchase products that are high in sugar, fat, preservatives etc.
Jones is happy with what The New Brunswick Community Food Alliance has accomplished since the organization began. However Jones says that they are still in the beginning stages and are working very hard to end food insecurity in the City of New Brunswick. “We have a huge project coming up now with the Corner Store Initiative, so right now we are building the framework for that and want to get that launched before next spring”.
The Food Alliance also holds numerous meetings and events that are open to the public that allow those attending to gain a deeper knowledge on how the organization operates.
“We hold bi-monthly general meetings, our next meeting is on December 10, and every other month we hold work group meetings.” says Jones.
Those interested in The Food Alliance can visit nbfood.org or attend a Food Alliance meeting. Meeting descriptions, locations, and times are posted under the “Event Calendar” tab. If you are interested in volunteering your time to the Food Alliance you can do so by going to their website, sign up is available under the “Join the Alliance” tab.