Gleaning Support from the Policy Field

Over the past week or so, Hope’s Harvest RI (HHRI) welcomed some very special guests out to the farm. Last Thursday, Rhode Island’s very own Senator Jack Reed joined us at Shewatuck Farm to see our intrepid volunteers in action as they harvested collard greens from one of our contracted growers, Charlotte Uwimphue, who has grown over 3,400 lbs of food for HHRI so far this season. 

HHRI’s Executive Director Eva Agudelo, with the help of Nessa Richman from the RI Food Policy Council, spoke with Senator Reed about the importance of connecting local growers with the emergency food system to ensure a resilient and accessible source of fresh, healthy food for our community that also provides economic benefit to farmers. With federal American Rescue Plan Act funds coming to RI in the very near future, we were grateful for the opportunity to make the case for food security as an essential component of any recovery spending. 

Then, this past Monday we were joined at SODCO by friends from Rep. Langevin and Senator Reed’s offices, State Senator and Chair of the Committee on Environment and Agriculture Dawn Euer, Juli Stelmaszyk the state’s new Director of Food Strategy housed at the Department of Commerce, and representatives from the Department of Environmental Management, the RI Foundation (a long-time supporter of Hope’s Harvest), and our partners at the RI Community Food Bank. We were blessed with a beautiful morning (and an acre of corn grown just for us) as a backdrop to a robust discussion about how Hope’s Harvest’s innovative work has grown exponentially since 2018 due to significant demand from farmers, hunger relief agencies, and our volunteers. 

Superstar volunteers Nancy, Lil, and Sandra shared with our illustrious visitors that they love working with Hope’s Harvest because of the opportunity to connect their values, their free time, and their commitment to Rhode Islanders, while our very own Americorps service members DeeAnn and Sarra were asked about why they chose to work with Hope’s Harvest and got some well-deserved appreciation for how absolutely essential they are to getting all that fresh food out of the field and into the hands of our neighbors in need. 

To learn more about how Hope’s Harvest has grown, and how we’re partnering with the RI Food Policy Council to ensure a Rhode Island food system that works for everyone, check out our 2018-2020 Impact Report, and visit the RI Food Policy Council’s website to learn more about policy priorities for food security in the coming years and beyond.

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