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Community Development

Food: A basic human need, and right

2 July 2013

Food is our most basic need, the very stuff of life”. – Vandana Shiva

Food is a basic human need and right, yet the prevalence of food insecurity -- a combination of limited household income, limited community access, and limited social networks -- is a critical reflection of the failure of the current food system. Given that food is such a vital part of our human existence, it is important to recognize how the implications of the dominant power structure have conditioned a broken food system. We have become disconnected and alienated from the process of food, so far removed that it is of little consequence what we put into our mouths.

Not only does food define our identity, but it also shapes our physical, mental, social and economic existence. We must understand that how we eat determines how the world is used.

Areas that are often affected most negatively by food insecurity are those in urban areas. Frog Hollow illustrates the concept of a food desert, in that there is little access to fresh, healthy food. As one way to begin to address this, Billings Forge Community Works operates a year-round weekly farmers’ market. Each Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., farmers and vendors from around Connecticut convene on the grounds of Billings Forge to sell their local products.

Customers can purchase a wide array of Connecticut-grown or made goods: cheese, grass-fed meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, honey, maple syrup, Italian ice, locally roasted coffee, bread and pastries. Lunchtime fare can also be found at our food trucks. The market accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Credit/Debit and runs the “Billings Bucks” program, a Wholesome Wave-supported program which doubles the value of SNAP dollars spent at the market -- thus further extending individual benefits.

The market is an opportunity to support local farmers, increase access to fresh, healthy food, and provide a gathering place for community. Hope to see you there!

Amara Watkin-Anson is the Urban Agriculture Coordinator at Billings Forge Community Works.

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