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Local Food Hub Feeding Community During Crisis

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

NCO Secures Federal Funding for Food Box Program

The MendoLake Food Hub is one of about 200 farms and distributors awarded contracts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to build and distribute Farm to Families food boxes. A week after receiving its contract, the Food Hub’s drivers were on the road delivering the first 100 food boxes to local families and soon ramped up to 200 boxes a week. By the end of August, the MendoLake Food Hub will have delivered 2,800 boxes directly to local families in need, food banks around the county, Plowshares, and HIV/AIDS patients across Lake and Mendocino counties

“We have never in our history done emergency food relief at this level. This is a massive pivot for us, which we did very quickly,” said Caroline Radice Manager of the Food Hub. “This is also a living, breathing moment for us, because we also launched our new home delivery program this spring in response to the shelter-in-place orders.”

The Farmers to Families food box program is one of several initiatives under the USDA’s $19 billion Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program to support farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the majority of the money is being allocated as direct payments to farmers who have suffered losses, up to $3 billion was designated to purchase meat, dairy, and produce that might otherwise go to waste, to be packed in boxes for organizations feeding their communities. Since the start of the program on May 15th, 2020 the USDA says over 20 million food boxes were distributed to families in need while providing support to critically impacted agricultural sectors.

“Part of the MendoLake Food Hub’s mission is to increase food access in our community and its role in doing so has only expanded to meet the pressing need of our community during the COVID-19 crisis.” says Patty Bruder, Executive Director of North Coast Opportunities. “We’re proud to have secured over $100,000 in federal funding to feed families, seniors and those in our community who need assistance accessing fresh, nutritious food during these challenging times.”

About the MendoLake Food Hub

Thanks to grant funding from the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the MendoLake Food Hub started operating in 2015 as a program of North Coast Opportunities with the mission of increasing the economic viability of local farms and increasing local food access in our community. They do this by providing farmers access to a shared sales and distribution network which serves wholesale buyers like grocery stores, schools,restaurants,and now buyer’s clubs and individuals through the Food Hubs new home delivery program in feasible delivery locations. All of the Food Hubs farmers are Certified Producers. This means that they grow what they sell, follow stringent food safety practices and are Approved Sources by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Contact the Food Hub sales team at orders@mendolakefoodhub.com or (707) 467-3238. Please note that the Food Hub staff is working remotely and that it could take 24-48 hours to return messages.

Program(s) Involved: Mendo Lake Food Hub Community Wellness Projects