Bainum Family Foundation to Partner With Arcadia to Increase Supply of Fresh, Healthy Foods in Wards 7 and 8
Bethesda, Maryland (May 16, 2016) — The Bainum Family Foundation has announced plans to partner with the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture to dramatically increase the availability of fresh produce and other healthy food items in the District of Columbia’s Wards 7 and 8.
The partnership is through the Bainum Foundation Farm, a 263-acre farm in Middleburg, Virginia, that the Bainum family donated to the Foundation in late 2015. In the first year of the partnership, the Farm will support Arcadia’s Mobile Market program by fully sponsoring all eight Mobile Market stops in Wards 7 and 8, while also providing the organization with added operational support. In future years, a portion of produce grown on the farm will supply the Mobile Markets. Arcadia also will assist in managing the Farm operations.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to improve early childhood in the District through investments in early learning and wrap-around supports for children and families, we are directly addressing the need for a reliable supply of healthy food in low-income neighborhoods,” said Barbara Bainum, Chair of the Board, CEO and President of the Foundation. “Wards 7 and 8 have long been known as ‘food-insecure’ areas in our community. This partnership with Arcadia is an important step toward solving that problem.”
To address the lack of nutritious food in underserved parts of the city, Arcadia launched its first Mobile Market in 2012. The rolling farm stands stock a complete diet of locally, sustainably grown foods including fruits and vegetables, herbs, pastured eggs, grass-fed and pastured beef, pork, poultry, fish, organic milk, cheese, handmade bread and honey.
The Mobile Markets create a retail experience for customers that is both convenient and affordable. The Mobile Markets accept and double SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) and Senior FMNP (Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program) vouchers for fruits and vegetables through a donor-funded Bonus Bucks program, essentially giving low-income residents a 50% discount. They also accept and double SNAP benefits for meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Arcadia offers free cooking demonstrations and, in partnership with community organizations, cooking classes to encourage residents of low-income communities to cook from scratch at home.
“Washington, D.C., is a microcosm of a national problem,” said Pamela Hess, Arcadia’s Executive Director. “Most people, regardless of income, eat the foods that are the most convenient and affordable. For about a fifth of the city, that means unhealthy, processed foods. That’s why low-income communities disproportionately suffer from chronic diseases and other medical conditions — such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease — that are caused or exacerbated by their diets.”
“The Bainum Foundation Farm’s investment in Arcadia’s Mobile Markets is an investment in public health, culinary literacy and long-term demand creation that could one day attract a self-sustaining retail food operation and permanently fix the food-access problem in these neighborhoods,” she said.
The Foundation has named Leila Otis as Senior Director, Bainum Foundation Farm. She led the Foundation’s effort to determine the best use of the farmland in alignment with the Foundation’s overall strategic direction and the needs of Wards 7 and 8, and with Arcadia, will oversee the Farm operations.
“Nutritional support will be one key focus for the Farm, but access is only part of the problem,” Otis said. “To really move the needle, we also have to build demand for healthy food and support infrastructure that enables our efforts to sustain long term.”
The Foundation plans to do this through investments in nutritional and vocational education programs, both in schools and hosted at the Farm, as well as supporting local partners and food policy initiatives that seek to permanently change the District’s food system. “Arcadia aligned with our thinking on these issues and stood out as an obvious choice for partnership,” Otis said.
Otis and the Arcadia team will spend 2016 preparing the property for agricultural use, as it has been used as pastureland for horses and cattle until now. The first crops will be planted in early 2017 and will supply Arcadia’s Mobile Markets beginning later that spring, with rollout to additional charitable partners in subsequent years. The initial seven acres of crops are expected to supply produce for approximately 1,000 families throughout the growing season, with plans to expand to additional acreage and a wider variety of foods in the future.
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The Bainum Family Foundation combines proven expertise with a passion for supporting the whole child by providing integrated services to help them thrive. Our circle of collaboration includes investments and support in early learning, wrap-around services and knowledge building. Founded in 1968 by Stewart and Jane Bainum, the Foundation has helped underserved children exit poverty through high-quality educational programs and services for nearly 50 years. For more information, visit bainum.wearevanish.com.
The Bainum Foundation Farm, LLC, is a limited liability company funded by the Bainum Family Foundation. The 263-acre property in Middleburg, Virginia, will be used in a variety of ways to support the Foundation’s efforts to improve early childhood in the District of Columbia through investments in early learning and wrap-around supports for children and families. Learn more at bainum.wearevanish.com/farm.
Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable local food system in the Washington, D.C., area. Based on the historic grounds of Woodlawn Estate in Alexandria, Virginia, thanks to a landmark partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Arcadia grows food; trains new farmers; teaches children about healthy eating and sustainable agriculture; and provides market access to underserved communities. These programs collectively engage consumers, farmers, schools and institutions in rebuilding a healthy local and regional food system. For more information, visit arcadiafood.org.
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