May 2, 2018

On today's show, Adrian and Bev had the opportunity to visit the nonprofit Food Chain while in Lexington, Kentucky and tour this amazing facility with Becca Self, the Founder and Executive Director.  Later in the show Bruce brings us an interview with 10-year old Karma Casey of Kids Saving the Rainforest

In many communities, you’ve got a Whole Foods or Sprouts just down the street.  Healthy food is everywhere – from grocery stores to restaurants.  We tend to take this for granted while many Americans struggle with a lack of access to healthy foods.  According to a National Geographic article on Hunger, 48 million have struggled with food insecurity in the last year, and those numbers are growing.  

In many cities, people struggle to find healthy food within 1 mile of their homes.  According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), these “food deserts” are typically low-income areas where a substantial number of residents are at least a mile away from the nearest grocery store.  

So what are some of the barriers to access?  Placement of grocery stores is driven by the market, and many grocery owners do not perceive demand for stores in low-income neighborhoods.   According to the Food Market Institute, building stores in these neighborhoods comes with unique complications. A large customer base on food stamps creates erratic flows with a rush of business in the beginning of the month when food stamps are issued, but slow business at the end of the month. Insurance and security can be more costly in neighborhoods perceived to be high crime, and workers from neighborhoods with high unemployment sometimes need extra training for basic job skills.

As the largest supermarket chains have been slow to build in food deserts, the so-called dollar stores have multiplied rapidly. Three chains — Dollar General, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree — made up two-thirds of new stores in food deserts.  But convenience stores and "dollar stores" generally don't sell fresh fruits, vegetables or meat.

And this brings us to today's highlighted charity...

While in Lexington, Kentucky, we visited Food Chain, an amazing nonprofit that is forging links between the community and fresh food through education and demonstration of sustainable food systems. @FoodChainLex

They began their work in 2012 by building an innovative aquaponics farm from which they teach producers about this method of agriculture for economic diversity, teach kids and adults about where food comes from in an urban environment, develop the market for the freshest greens, microgreens and seafood in the city, and outreach to our community about why any of that matters for the future of food.  

Their neighborhood is a designated food desert, with extremely limited access to fresh, affordable food, and has been transitioning as new commercial development moved into this long-standing, mixed income, residential, downtown community.

Starting in summer of 2015 they increased their education from food production to food processing with youth cooking classes. They host monthly community meals that incorporate local produce that would otherwise be thrown away. Now they are building a Teaching and Processing Kitchen to provide even more education around fresh food, economic farm impact through seconds purchasing from area farms, workforce development, and (most importantly) increased access to local nutritious foods that are both affordable and convenient for their neighbors.

We had the opportunity to tour the facility and talk with Becca Self, the Founder and Executive Director.

On today’s Kid Heroes segment, Bruce Gale talks with 10-year old Karma Casey who lives in Costa Rica. She works with Kids Saving the Rainforest, educating people around the world about the ecological importance of the rainforest, and preserving and protecting the rainforest and its wildlife. 

Karma dreams of a world where the rainforests plunge green and uninterrupted to pristine beaches and a vast, pure ocean beyond it. She sees a future where animals should be wild and free. What’s more, she feels called to save them.

(KSTR) is a 501c3 non-profit  based in California, began in 1999 in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica when Janine Licare and Aislin Livingstone were 9 years old.  Janine and Aislin saw the rainforest disappearing from their beloved home and the negative impact of this on the animals, particularly the mono titi monkeys. They were kids inspired to save the precious rainforest and their name became Kids Saving the Rainforest.

KSTR invites participation by schools, children’s organizations and individuals throughout the United States and abroad who further the purpose by learning about the rainforest, doing projects that raise money to donate to KSTR and spreading the message further through educating others.  KSTR reaches out to kids, teachers, parents, rehabilitation specialists, primatologists and others around the world.

Karma Casey Holding a Piece of Dead Coral
Karma Casey Holding a Piece of Dead Coral