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How can we bridge the gaps?

J.'s Corner: A message from Executive Director J. Harrison

On March 29, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel titled "Bridging the Gap: How to Make Just Food Affordable for Farmers to Grow and Consumers to Buy" at Harvard Law School's Just Food? Conference. The aim of this panel was "to explore several models that successfully connect peri-urban farmers to urban consumers. These enterprises support farmers struggling to make a living while also providing fresh, healthy, local produce to low-income urban populations."

The timing of this panel could not have been more serendipitous: one of the key pillars of our upcoming strategic plan is to do just this—build on and invest in programs that connect farms and urban neighborhoods. As a non-profit organization, The Food Project has been able to develop new models and incentives such as Boston Bounty Bucks and Farm to Family that bridge the gap between farms and our customers, and this conference was a great opportunity to share our work and learn from our incredible colleagues at New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and New Roots in Louisville, KY, and from Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

More broadly, I see our work at The Food Project as being precisely about bridging gaps. Gaps between communities, between farms and low-income neighborhoods, between the potential of young people and the opportunities they are given, and between what the world is and what we know it could and should be.  

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