Friends and Family Community Connections (FFCC) is a charity and volunteer group based in San Diego, California. Founded nearly 20 years ago, the organisation runs numerous programmes locally and abroad for communities in need. Tackling issues of food poverty within identified lower income families, FFCC has emerged as a leader in promoting food justice.
FFCC runs “Free Farmers’ Markets” roughly twelve times each month, partnering with local apartment complexes and schools. Fresh produce is provided by the Albertson’s Supermarket’s Fresh Rescue programme and The Backyard Produce Project. Both of these sources are donating food that would otherwise go to waste. On average, 30 families visit each of the Free Farmers’ Markets at apartment complexes and 50 families visit the markets at the schools. Visitors to the markets are invited by staff members at the schools or managers of the apartment complexes, all of whom are most knowledgeable about the needs of their hyperlocal community. By bringing the Free Farmers’ Markets within close proximity to the homes of the families in need, the programme also addresses the issue of a heavily automobile-dependent area; many of these families may not have the means for a car or fuel and are often stranded within suburban food deserts.
The FFCC Free Farmers’ Markets truly redefine the meaning of market and food bank, combatting contemporary issues brought forth by cheap heavily-processed and heavily-subsidised junk food. Supporters of the markets mention the growing concern of childhood obesity as their motivation for contributing to the Free Farmers’ Market system.
Further reading on food poverty in America:
Shift to ‘Food Insecurity’ Creates Startling New Picture of Hunger in America (National Geographic)
Food Poverty: The American Way (film review from The Guardian)