Commissioner Scott Soares
Commissioner, Department of Agriculture Resources (DAR)
Unfortunately, some of our neediest residents find it very difficult, if not impossible, to afford or even find healthful food. On December 16th, I got together with some DAR staff to volunteer at Community Servings in Jamaica Plain to prepare 600 nutritious meals distributed to families or individuals who are homebound and in need.
Community Servings, which prepares 3,340 lunches and dinners per week for 700 individuals and families, is helping to bring the locally produced food to the needy through its partnership with a Community Supported Agriculture initiative. Community Servings is now a pick-up site for local organic produce and hosts a farmers’ market in Jamaica Plain from July through October.
In 2009, not only was there were a record number of farmers’ markets open across Massachusetts, but farmers’ markets recorded the highest redemption rates of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) coupons in recent years. SNAP provides benefits to low-income people that they can use to buy any type of food item. And thanks to the efforts of the Mayor’s office, this year eligible residents were able to double the value of food stamps at 14 Boston farmers’ markets through the Boston Bounty Bucks program.
Organizations like Community Servings are helping to bring fresh and locally grown food to Massachusetts neediest people. Residents who support local agriculture reduce their carbon footprint, and, more importantly, are part of an effort to improve public health by opting for more nutritious and wholesome food. Click here for information about how to volunteer your time to Community Servings.
In the photo with me are DAR staff Jessica Burgess, John Nunes, Lisa Damon and Daniel Rhodes.