South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

One million meals among citywide food improvement efforts

 


Mayor William Peduto celebrated the kickoff of the 2019 Summer Food Program, and findings that the city’s food programs have served more than 1 million meals since they were reformed in 2015.

Meals served by Citiparks’ GrubUp program accompany many more food-related initiatives backed by the Peduto Administration the past five years, including:

• Providing meals during the 2018-2019 federal government shutdown

• Completing a study of city farmer’s markets

• Promoting National School Breakfast Week

• Promoting minority/women/immigrant-owned and operated businesses during the Inclusive Innovation Summit

• Supporting urban agriculture

• Supporting volunteerism at food banks

• Promoting Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs)

• Joining the international Urban Food Policy Pact

In the Pittsburgh region, there are more than 42,000 children who are food insecure. To address that, the city provides free breakfast and lunch programs at all PPS locations, and after school snacks and dinners at the city recreation centers.

About one in seven children take advantage of free summer meals in the Pittsburgh region. To expand access to the free meals in September of 2015 the mayor launched Grub Up, the city’s summer meal campaign, which served 1,009,411 meals as of 2018.

“When children are under fed, they cannot be empowered to live, play and learn to their full potential. I am proud of all the efforts we have undertaken to address that challenge, and other initiatives we have pushed to provide healthy and locally-sourced food to all,” Mayor Peduto said.

Following is a list of food-related work the administration has undertaken since 2014.

After School Meals Served- Child Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

 220,260 Total Meals Served as of 2018

(Snacks and Suppers)

• 2014-2015=3,124 Meals

• 2015-2016=85,041 Meals

• 2016-2017=85,180 Meals

• 2017-2018=46,915 Meals

Summer Food Meals Served-Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)

789,151 Total Meals Served as of 2018

(Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks)

• 2014=138, 081 Meals

• 2015=182,039 Meals

• 2016=177,756 Meals

• 2017=149,896 Meals

• 2018= 141, 379 Meals

Grab ‘n Go snack carts at Recreation Centers

• The goal of the “Grab ‘n Go” carts is to offer healthy snacks in a destigmatized way to kids from food insecure households, many who rely on free lunch at school and snacks and dinner in city-owned Recreation Centers

• 20,000 KIND bars were consumed, donated by 412 Food Rescue

Federal Furlough Emergency Response

As a response to SNAP eligible individuals and families who experienced food shortages as a result of the 35-day federal government shutdown in late 2018/early 2019, the city partnered with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to coordinate emergency food pop up centers

• 412 Food Rescue Pop Up at West Penn Rec Center

• 16 families served

• 120 lbs. produce

• 300 lbs. non perishables

• Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Convention Center Pop Up

• 80+ families served

Breakfast Poster

Competition

• Goal: Celebrating National School Breakfast Week, recognizing the importance of a nutritious breakfast for all children and youth

• Theme: A Nutritious Breakfast Fuels Me Up!

• All 54 PPS schools participated

• About 150 submissions were received, nine total winners grades K-12

• Partners: Share Our Strength, National League of Cities, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Allegheny County Health Department-LiveWell Allegheny, Allies for Children, City of Pittsburgh Art Commission, Adagio Health

Inclusive Innovation

The City partnered with the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council and All for All to hire nine minority/women/immigrant-owned and operated businesses to cater lunch and dinner for the Inclusive Innovation Summit, which attracted more than 1,000 attendees, engaged over 300 partners and resulted in larger wedding and catering orders from guests who tried their food and beverages for the first time. The businesses were:

• Casa Brasil, Everyday Café, MiEmpanada, Hello Neighbor-Syrian Cookies, Mr. Bulgogi, Nellie’s Sandwiches, Wigle Whiskey, Bea Taco Town, FreshFest

Food Donations to 412 Food Rescue from

Summer Food Program

• 2017 = 883 Meals

• 2018 = 1,190 Meals

• Total = 2,073 Meals

Volunteering with

Greater Pittsburgh

Community Food Bank

• Starting June 2018-August 2018, city staff and interns will volunteer with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank at two city operated Summer Food sites to mentor and engage 50+ youth in fun activities to encourage more participation in the Summer Food program

Carnegie Library, Woods Run

• III Rivers Manor

Urban Agriculture

• In 2015, the Urban Agriculture Zoning Code was updated to make it easier for residents to be self-sustainable by raising crops, chickens, bees, and miniature goats in the city.

• In 2016, the Adopt-A-Lot program was launched allowing residents to access city land for food, flower, or rain gardens

• To date, 152 lots have been adopted, making a total of 56 projects; 18 projects (66 lots) are for food gardens.

• This has saved the city over a quarter million dollars in maintenance over three years ($265,000)

Farmers’ Markets

Pittsburgh operates eight markets and has a farmers’ market every day of the week except Saturday, with two on Fridays and Sundays.

As part of the study “Strengthening Pittsburgh’s Farmers’ Markets,” the city created a network, and convened market managers from across the region to network, share ideas, best practices and resources in an effort to support the food system from its base of farmers. Direct sales are a farmer’s best return on their product and with a goal to strengthen the market system as a whole.

• In 2018 there were 67 vendors across all markets

• This year there are 84 vendors

• In partnership with Just Harvest, city Farmers’ Markets accept SNAP and WIC benefits, and for every $5 spent on produce, $2 are awarded for SNAP holders • In partnership with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, senior residents at the 13 city senior centers are given vouchers totaling $20 to purchase fresh produce

• The city has more than 35 markets listed on the Pittsburgh Regional Farmers’ Market Network map.

Farmer + Chef Match-ups

• DCP and SPC and Sustainable Pittsburgh held three speed dating type events for farmers and chefs to connect and do business. 

• More than 200 total attendees representing 120 food businesses including farms, value-added food producers, chefs, and retail establishments.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

• The city is in its third year hosting Dillner Family Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture shares in City Planning with more than 50 employees participating, providing fresh produce to employees and directly supporting a local farm.

Signing the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, an effort dedicated to the creation of just and sustainable urban food systems.

The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact addresses the opportunities cities have to contribute to food security and sustainable development through urban agriculture and by developing food systems based on the principles of sustainability and social justice.

 

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