Find access to food & connect with local communities.
Community Supported Agriculture
- For New York City, Grow NYC operates the Fresh Food Box program, which operates in a similar manner to a CSA, yet allows for flexibility of week-to-week purchasing.
- For New York City, Just Food maintains a list of regional CSAs. Many CSAs are from farms in New York City while others are elsewhere in the region. Many take SNAP benefits and/or offer sliding scale prices. Some, like Lancaster Cooperative, will set up a CSA at your business or organization. You can choose how to split up shares to make it accessible for everyone.
- Buffalo has the African Heritage Food Co-Op for Buffalo’s predominantly Black East Side neighborhoods.
Across the country, there are a lot of gardens where you can grow food, herbs, and find a community that can support you as you learn to garden and cook. Explore what resources exist for you.
- For New York City, check out GreenThumb, NYC Community Gardens Coalition, and 596 Acres.
- For Chicago, here’s a map of community gardens.
- For Denver, here’s a map of community gardens.
- For Buffalo, here’s a map of community gardens.
Food pantries & food sharing
If SNAP benefits are cut, a lot of people who depend on them may experience food insecurity. Plan ahead. If you have meetings, ask people to bring food, even extra nonperishable items that can be exchanged. Organize a food sharing system where you share leftovers with people. For people with corporate jobs who have catering, try to get a system in place where you can get leftovers from the office out to people in the community who need it. Check the laws in your local jurisdiction to make sure that these are legal.
- Aunt Bertha maintains a database of food distribution programs, as well as programs for health, housing, and job training.
- Fed 40 allows families in need to request boxes of meals to be delivered to their door at no cost to them.
- Feeding America has a network of food banks & food pantries that operate across the United States.
- In Buffalo, WasteNotWantNot is a free food stand.
- In Houston, the Montrose Center maintains an emergency pantry that provides non-perishable, ready-to-eat foods to those in immediate need when food pantries or nutrition programs are not available, due to crisis, transition, or other reasons.
Freegan food & dumpster diving
Some supermarkets such as Trader Joe’s will throw out perfectly edible food in unprotected dumpsters. As a general rule of thumb the expiration date on a perishable item of food is usually 1 week later than whenever has been listed. If in doubt, your nose has tens of thousands of years of evolution behind it — if something smells rotten or spoiled, treat it as if it is! Trashwiki.org has a crowdsourced list of places in urban areas that have particularly bountiful “trash harvests,” use it!
- For Portland, here’s a freegan map with lots of useful info on where to find free food.
Food aid & hunger relief
Want to help those in need? There are plenty of ways to help. You may support local food banks & food pantries. You may buy Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares, to keep them available & economically sustainable. You may donate food, money, volunteer time & resources to local food distribution programs.
There are several item collection & fundraising initiatives that support aid & food relief charities that you may support.