WELCOME TO MANNA!
Manna Food Project helps feed the hungry in Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet counties in Northwest Michigan. Manna is a partner organization of the Feeding America Food Bank Network and is funded entirely through the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations.
Down to earth
Jessyca Stoepker | May 21, 2020
Warm weather has finally arrived, and that means hundreds of farmers throughout Northwest Michigan are out in the fields planting and tending crops, and getting ready for farmer’s markets and CSA shares.
But this season looks a bit different. Though stress often comes with this line of work, there’s a lot more anxiety and a lot less certainty this year than most. The impact of COVID-19 will be far-reaching and likely to affect growers well after the season is over—physically, socially, and economically.
As you know, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities created the Local Food Relief Fund in response to this issue, raising over $170,000 so that hunger relief organizations like Manna can purchase directly from local farmers to help recover their economic losses. Once Manna received our portion of the funds, it took a few days for us to plan our approach. Would it look different from our produce purchases in years past? What would be this year’s overall budget, including other grants towards produce, and how would we allocate it? Our farming partners had the same questions.
Well, once the entire list of potential farms was in front of us, we decided that we wouldn’t pick and choose: we’d buy from all of them. So this year, Manna plans to work with over 20 different growing partners—some new, many returning friends.
I have had the privilege of meeting and working with many of these folks: Adam and Haley from UnderToe, Andre from Peaceful Valley, Chelsea and Nick from Huddleston, and a good number more. All are bright, kind, and down-to-earth, and it’s obvious that they care deeply about their little corner of the world, wherever it may be.
How do you measure hunger?
Hunger is a feeling that can be different for everyone, but the term “food insecurity” is the best way to actually measure the conditions that can lead to hunger. According to Feeding America West Michigan (FAWM), food insecurity describes a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live a healthy life.
We cannot tell just by appearances who among us may be struggling to make ends meet. One "bad month" out of the year can be enough to plunge a household into food insecurity. Lay-offs at work, unexpected car issues, or an accident may suddenly force a family to choose between buying food and paying other bills. Millions of Americans face situations like this every day that may lead to food insecurity and hunger.