Background: Kitchen Table Activism (KTA) is a monthly activity by the Rural Organizing Project. The idea is that small actions can lead to powerful collective results when groups of people gather to complete the same action across the state of Oregon. ROP works to keep each KTA easily achievable so that groups with other projects or groups with limited immediate energy can still manage to complete the KTA each month.
WHAT IS THE ACTIVITY?
This month’s Kitchen Table Activity is all about food! This August, with school still out of session and the Delta variant bringing uncertainty just as things were starting to open back up, food insecurity is as big an issue as ever. August’s activity is to map out what food security resources exist in your community, how accessible those resources are, and to problem-solve with your community to close the gaps!
WHY THIS ACTIVITY?
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every facet of our lives, and food security is at the top of the list for many. From the impacts on farmworkers and their families, to the closure of schools where many Oregon students receive the meals they need to not go completely hungry, to the overwhelming demand on emergency food programs, food has been on the top of our minds for the last two years.
In response, human dignity groups across the state are holding community meals, starting up food pantries, delivering food boxes to neighbors, supporting school districts who are sending summer meals on bus routes, and more!
HOW TO COMPLETE THE ACTIVITY:
1. Gather your human dignity group, review this Kitchen Table Activity together, and make a plan around how you can take action to support food access in your community!
2. Who in your group is swimming in squash or has too many tomatoes? Food pantries and food banks across Oregon love receiving fresh, healthy produce to share with the community. ROP runs a food pantry out of our Community Building Center in Cottage Grove and we can’t tell you how much of a difference it makes when we receive local gardeners’ bounties of squash, lettuce, plums, apples, pears, blackberries, onions, garlic and more! Find your nearest food bank on Oregon Food Bank’s website!
3. Drop off fresh produce and use your visit as an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with your community food pantry to find out more about what food access looks like in your county. Here are some questions to consider asking:
- What languages are your flyers and eligibility instructions in?
- What questions are asked during intake?
- What days and hours are you open?
- Do you have culturally relevant foods for everyone in your community?
4. Are you preparing your fall garden? Now is the perfect time to plant and grow a row for your local food pantry to continue the conversation throughout the coming months!
5. Ready to dig in deeper? Our friends at Oregon Food Bank have a program called FEAST (Food, Education, Agriculture, Solutions, Together) that comes with resources (up to $5,000!) to pull together a community organizing process centered around identifying and problem-solving gaps in local food systems. You can read more about FEAST here, or reach out to Adriana Cvitkovic, Oregon Food Bank’s Community Food Systems Organizer, at firstname.lastname@example.org to apply by October 1, 2021.
6. Share what you learned by calling up your friendly ROP organizer, or emailing email@example.com! ROP’s excited to learn more about how rural communities are getting creative about sharing food AND to support folks who are working with their food pantry to make sure that everyone in the community is welcomed and supported! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share what you learn!