On Tuesday, September 10, a panel of judges, selected three Northeast Florida organizations to receive seed money to implement their innovative ideas to address food insecurity in our community. Foodery Farms, Urban Folk Farm and ‘Ohana No Ka Oi were selected from 16 regional finalists across North Florida to receive $2,000 in funding. In addition, they will advance to GuideWell’s Block by Block Food Insecurity Challenge finals where they’ll have the opportunity to compete for a $20,000 state grand prize. Funds will be used to reduce or eliminate food insecurity in their respective local communities. The three innovative ideas from North Florida organizations advancing to the finals include:
• Foodery Farms (Duval County) - Street-side Foodery Farms are equipped to grow, harvest and pack on the farm side. It then sells and merchandises locally using its innovative direct-to-consumer food machines located street side, which are available 24/7, 365 days a year.
• Urban Folk Farm (Duval County) - Senior citizens are the fastest growing segment of our population. Its Senior CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is designed to bring low-cost, nutrient dense, freshly harvested veggies to folks in subsidized senior housing. It also provides cooking demonstrations with tastings that are healthy, easy to make and delicious. These events allow seniors to share their communal wisdom while learning new variations of old veggies and being introduced to new tastes.
• ‘Ohana No Ka Oi (Duval County) – It is a convenience farm franchise in Jacksonville. Its sustainable solution to fighting food insecurity involves placing real farms along the developing Emerald Trail bicycle and pedestrian path thereby solving the distribution problem of fresh food. It takes an organic, no-till, high production approach that allows it to sustain operations by its sales, create new jobs and regenerate land while providing access to freshly picked produce.
A fourth organization, Hippie Que, was awarded an unplanned $2,000 Community Service award for its work. Hippie Que is a nonprofit food truck that collects food from grocery stores that is near expiration and food waste from restaurants and other local sources and turns it into hot Meals on Wheels to bring to people experiencing homelessness around Jacksonville.
The three finalists from each region (Central Florida, North Florida, West Florida and South Florida) are invited to present their approaches and compete for the grand prize of $20,000 at the Food Insecurity Challenge statewide showcase on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at the GuideWell Innovation Center in Orlando. All 12 statewide finalists will also receive a unique opportunity to attend the GuideWell Block by Block Food Insecurity Forum on Thursday, Oct. 17, an invitation-only, collaborative event bringing together experts and stakeholders from across the state and nation to focus on building food-secure communities in Florida. AdventHealth is the statewide partner for the Block by Block Food Insecurity Challenge, which is awarding more than $40,000 in prize monies to organizations with sustainable, innovative approaches for reducing or eliminating food insecurity in their local communities across Florida.