Posts Tagged ‘food desert’

If you need extra scrap produce to add to your compost pile.

compost

or scrap veggies to feed to your chickens (trust us, they love em, and it will save you money on chicken feed)

I-feed-my-chickens-scraps

please come by the Wingnut Anarchist Collective at 2005 Barton Avenue to get some!

We do Wingnut Food Not Bombs Produce Distribution every Wednesday and Friday morning, putting the food out by 8am. By the evening the food has been gone through, with the good stuff mostly taken.

If you want compost scrap or produce for chickens, it will be out front of the house, in cardboard boxes along the retaining wall. You will be getting free scrap to use in your gardening and chicken loving endeavors, and you will be helping us and our neighbors to get rid of the trash.

We don’t want to see all the compost and cardboard end up in the trash, but it is way beyond our capacity to re-use or re-cycle. So help yourself, and help a program that gets healthy food into a local food desert to low income and elderly folks.

The best times to come by would be Wednesday evenings, Thursdays all day, Friday evenings, and Saturdays all day. Please take as much as you can use, and help us keep the distribution area neat and clean!

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Starting in December the Wingnut Anarchist Collective will be doing a produce distribution on Wednesday and Friday at 8am each week.

This is a first come, first serve deal, and not going to be facilitated,  cause we have to run off to work many mornings. Please just take what you need. Some weeks we will be holding back produce as well, in order to do solidarity catering for events such as the Transgender Day of Remembrance or Virginia People’s Assembly, or just the usual Sunday Food Not Bombs (depending on what will keep).

We have started doing this for our neighbors, but frankly have so much produce that it doesn’t all get taken!

If you come take produce please consider helping out by either cleaning the distribution area and taking some empty boxes and trash with you, or making a cash donation to help cover fuel and vehicle maintenance.

WE REALLY NEED HELP GETTING ALL OF THE BOXES AND TRASH TAKEN AWAY.

If you have a vehicle and would be interested in helping us bring produce from several other locations here for distribution please be in touch!

Starting in December the Wingnut Anarchist Collective will be doing an informal produce distribution on Wednesday and Friday at 8am each week.

This is a first come, first serve deal, and not going to be facilitated,  cause we have to run off to work many mornings. Please just take what you need. Some weeks we will be holding back produce as well, in order to do solidarity catering for events such as the Transgender Day of Remembrance or Virginia People’s Assembly, or just the usual Sunday Food Not Bombs (depending on what will keep).

We have started doing this for our neighbors, but frankly have so much produce that it doesn’t all get taken!

If you come take produce please consider helping out by either cleaning the distribution area and taking some empty boxes and trash with you, or making a cash donation to help cover fuel and vehicle maintenance. 

If you have a vehicle and would be interested in helping us bring produce from several other locations here for distribution please be in touch!

This is a piece written by our friend Brando Chemtrails, inspired by his stay at the Wingnut and based on his observations of the neighborhood and food issues. Brando opened for the Blackbird Raum show on April 12th, and blew us away with his spoken word.

More by Brando at his website below, buy a book or zine or cd of his if you can!

brandochemtrails.bandcamp.com

 

Here it is:

When a Dollar’s Too Much to Spare

by Brando Chemtrails

I woke up this morning in Richmond, in a part of town called “food desert” by people that do not live there. This doesn’t mean there’s no food there, it means there is no food those people would want to buy. Truth is there’s more edibles on sale per square block here than in a mile of most neighborhoods built on liberal guilt built on what used to be neighborhoods like these, and sold by the small family owned businesses they nondenominationally pray for every night. True, the shelves might not look like the ingredients to a long and healthy life, but if I was given the money to buy all I wanted from the co-op, I’d buy most of the same food I buy in stores like these, and the only difference would be the receipt, not the nutrition facts.
I have a rule when it comes to buying anything. Don’t call it morals, I’m not looking for friends when I’m paying the ransom for the things that I need, call it loyalty. I won’t buy shit from any store that’s ever had anyone I know arrested. Since food is pretty much the only thing I spend money on and it’s available most places, this rule doesn’t change much for me. When one place gets crossed off my list there’s always another store not far from there that hasn’t had a chance yet to prove itself the same as all the others yet, and I buy canned beans there until I’ve been proven wrong.
Anyways. On the door of one cornershop, they got a hoodie in a circle with a line through it, orders to take your hats off coming in or they’ll call 911, a dumpster with ALL CAPS demands not to pee there because we’re watching you. At the Dollar General, they got so many hanging cameras on the ceiling that the shadows look like black circle tiles on the floor. Every time I’ve gone to the North Avenue Deli and Market after sundown, the same cop stands between the registers and the people in line and watches the procession of best behavior, of the respect that comes from a hand resting on a holstered gun and the costume that makes it all OK. At the Family Dollar, they don’t play songs on the radio, they play warnings on a thirty second loop about how you’re being monitored from some office in Charlotte right now for your own safety, so don’t try to pull anything the next time you’re in here and hungry and a dollar’s too much to spare. I am angry, but it’s not the kind of story made for those whose business is outrage from the safety of their keyboard or sofa, no brave main street mom and pops trying to say “no” to a Wal Mart in town, and it’s not lone assholes speaking their mind too honestly, never expecting the world to watch and make them suffer till they say sorry like they mean it. No, this is the nature of holding the title to dinner in a place where a dollar can be too much to spare, and free help is always a phone call away. If I knew more people, I’d never buy a thing.

The City of Richmond has just passed new regulations/ordinances making it officially permissable to have up to 4 hens on a residential property. IF you get a permit, which costs 60 dollars every year.

For comparison, a yearly license for a dog is 10 dollars every year. So it costs 15 dollars per chicken (if you get the maximum of 4, more per chicken if you get fewer: $20 each for 3, $30 each for 2, and $60 each for 1). How does that even make sense?

Not to mention that it would seem that the idea of having chickens is about food access and local food and social justice. But if you have to pay an arbitrary 60 dollar permit fee to the City just to have only 4 hens, it is going to be hard for folks to even break even on having hens once food and coop costs are calculated in. For instance, an average cost for a dozen eggs according to the bureau of labor statistics,  is $1.93. So a $1.93 divided by 12 is roughly 16 cents per egg. $60 dollars (the permit cost) divided by 16 cents is 375. For the cost of a yearly chicken permit one could store buy 375 eggs, basically an egg a day. So you’d have to have an output of 375 eggs from your 4 hens each year to make chickens cost efficient in Richmond given the current permit and regulations. Then factor in the cost of time/materials for a coop, and the feed, and you’ve really got something unaffordable.

This seems like the new chicken rules are just some greenwashing yuppie victory than one which will largely help folks who need access to affordable, local, fresh food.

Many people who wanted to have chickens before these regulations were passed, simply did have chickens. Now it is likely or at least possible that there will be more enforcement against people without a permit. The current state of the chicken regulations in Richmond is great for hobbyists and folks for whom having your own chickens is suddenly trendy. Basically, for anyone whom can afford to take a loss on the fun of having chicken pets.

This seems to complicate matters for folks trying to get affordable, local food- especially folks living in food deserts etc. The fee is too high, and the folks who might most benefit from being allowed to have chickens are having that benefit taken away through the permit fees.

The new regulations require a minimum of 3 square feet per hen. For animal cruelty prevention reasons, this makes sense. Maybe the City of Richmond should also require that any and all eggs or products containing eggs that are sold in the City of Richmond are laid by hens who have at least 3 square feet of space in their coops.

You can read the regulations for yourself below.

Here are links to info from Richmond Animal Control on the issue.

Part 1: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5n_lAukWsxMYlE2ZGhCWVVmbkU/edit

Part 2: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5n_lAukWsxMTGgydDlsb0FKaTg/edit

(We know that there are plenty of nice, well meaning people in Richmond who are genuinely excited about now being able to have chickens as pets and/or for the benefit of eggs. To you we say, don’t settle for this. Don’t settle for a 15 dollar a hen fee. If you can afford it, doesn’t mean you should have to. Don’t let the passing of this regulation be the end of your participation in the fight for food access, food justice, and local food in Richmond)

On Saturday April 9 we had the Southern Barton Heights Mobile Food Pantry. The Central VA Food Bank brought food to the neighborhood and the Wingnut and a few volunteers handed out food.

Of 175 vouchers given out, 112 were brought to the event and 68 people joined us without a voucher.

Those who attended represented 187 Seniors in our area, 213 children, and 267 adults.

In addition to distributing food at the Mobile Food Pantry, we have started to deliver food to those elders or disabled people in our area for whom coming out and carrying about three grocery bags packed full of food is too burdensome. We made 7 deliveries this month.

The total amount of those represented was 667 people.

Vouchers for the May food pantry were given to anyone who had already been delivered a voucher for April. Those without vouchers were added to the May delivery list; anyone within the delivery range will be given a voucher. Those who fall outside of it (again) will be contacted to pick one up after residents of Southern Barton Heights and the surrounding area receive theirs.

For information on how to start a Mobile Food Pantry in your area, contact Warren Hammonds (whammonds@feedmore.org) of the Central VA Food Bank. It’s very easy to start one! All you need are a location, volunteers to hand out the food, and a method for voucher distribution: here we deliver, but other groups distribute them via faith centers, community service and neighborhood associations, or other organizations.

To get a voucher for the Southern Barton Heights Mobile Food Pantry, just give us a call at (804) 303-5449 and we’ll put you on our voucher delivery list!

On Saturday February 12, the Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry brought food the neighborhood (as they do every second Saturday of the month).  The Wingnut handed out 175 vouchers for the event, and though the turnout for the event was lower then previous months, the total amount of people represented was higher.

Of 175 vouchers given out, 132 were brought to the event.

Those who attended represented 118 Seniors in our area, 310 children, and 314 adults.

Total amount of those represented was 742 people.

Vouchers for the March food pantry were given to anyone who had already been delivered a voucher for February. Those without vouchers were added to the March delivery list; anyone within the delivery range will be given a voucher. Those who fall outside of it (again) will be contacted to pick one up after residents of Southern Barton Heights and the surrounding area receive theirs.

For information on how to start a Mobile Food Pantry in your area, contact Warren Hammonds (whammonds@feedmore.org) of the Central VA Food Bank. It’s very easy to start one! All you need are a location, volunteers to hand out the food, and a method for voucher distribution: here we deliver, but other groups distribute them via faith centers, community service and neighborhood associations, or other organizations.

To get a voucher for the Southern Barton Heights Mobile Food Pantry, just give us a call at (804) 303-5449 and we’ll put you on our delivery schedule!

A recent post on the Church Hill People’s News website shows some of the issues that Church Hill faces in regards to accessing affordable, healthy food. Southern Barton Heights, Brookland Park, Battery Park, and Highland Park all face similar challenges as Food Deserts. There are no grocery stores in our neighborhood. There are corner stores which typically have a smaller, less quality, and more expensive selection – in addition to fewer open hours than many grocery stores. The closest grocery store to our neighborhood is the Kroger at Lombardy and Broad. Residents without personal vehicles are forced to either walk, bike, or take the bus. Aside from that they only have access to what the corner stores have to offer.

There are other challenges on the people in low income food deserts. The public transportation system in Richmond, namely the GRTC, has been cutting routes over the past couple years. And last night city council just voted to pass a bus fare hike. Additionally, there are no bike shops in Southern Barton Heights to help people who do ride bikes maintain their equipment.

Food Politics and access to affordable, healthy food are not isolated issues. They are tied into to many issues around class and race. There are reasons why certain areas do not have the access they need. Working with groups like the Richmond Transit Rider’s union can be ways to take a more holistic approach to the problem of food access in our communities. (more…)