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Food for Thought: August 2023

background image of stone fruit behind blue color block with Food for Thought in white text

Summer Highlights  |  CO-CREATED ADVOCACY  |  My Neighbor’s Table

Summer Highlights

It’s been a busy summer for us at Northwest Harvest! Check out some of the wonderful events, partners, and places we’ve been these couple months!

Employees collecting donations at BECU in Spokane

Northwest Harvest staff and BECU employees pose holding cans of food above a donation box

Northwest Harvest in Yakima at the Pippins Baseball game
Northwest Harvest employee poses next to Pippins mascotNorthwest Harvest staff poses behind table outside at Pippins event

Partnering with KEXP featuring live music at the Seattle Center 

Two Northwest Harvest employees stand behind a table outside at a KEXP event Northwest Harvest staff member blowing bubbles at KEXP event Photo of two toy box trucks facing end to end. Trucks are white with blue Northwest Harvest logo and message of 'delivering food justice'.

Co-Created Advocacy: Regional Policy Summits

Northwest Harvest believes that ending hunger means addressing its root cause—poverty. We also believe that effective advocacy can lead to system-level solutions for system-level problems.

“We all need a safety net.”

– summit participant

Good public policy must center the lived experience of people most impacted by food insecurity. Building power with historically marginalized groups is key to ending hunger. We appreciate and value the expertise of people with first-person experience of hunger and seek to amplify their leadership in informing public policy. When we listen to the voices furthest from food justice, our food systems become more robust and more accessible for us all.

“People are struggling! Housing prices are so high leaving minimal or no money for food and other essential needs.”

– summit participant

One of the ways that the Northwest Harvest Advocacy team elevates the voice of people experiencing hunger is to hold regional policy summits. These gatherings bring together policymakers, lived experience experts, and service providers to collaborate on policy research and legislative priorities.

“We need to spread awareness about how hard it is to ask for help. There is a deep-set stigma we have to address.”

– summit participant

Three summits were held virtually throughout the month of July, focusing on specific regions across Washington. In each session, Northwest Harvest staff identified what priorities resonated with people, what policies are effectively serving communities (and which ones are not), and how Northwest Harvest can be a stronger partner in advocacy. For people with lived experience, these policy summits provide a direct pathway to inform policy without stigma.

“We have to find ways to more efficiently bridge the gap between public benefits and self-sufficiency.”

– summit participant

An overview brief that dives into what staff learned and where they will focus their research energy over the upcoming year will be developed and released later this fall. Early comments from the summit show a significant interest in the Right to Food movement, more resources being invested in affordable housing, and increased funding to address benefits inadequacy.

Want to join us in the movement for food justice? Learn about the 2023 Farm Bill and take two minutes to write an email to your elected officials encouraging them to fund and protect SNAP benefits.

My Neighbor’s Table: Hot Water Cornbread

My Neighbor’s Table features recipes from communities across Washington for you to make at home. Whether it’s trying a new ingredient or falling in love with the flavors of a new dish, we believe food brings people together.

recipe card for hot water cornbread - photo of prepared dish with instructions

Hot water cornbread is typically found in the south and has become a staple in Southern African American homes. However, the origins go back to the native people of the Americas, who commonly used ground corn for several dishes. Part of its popularity comes from the fact that it can be made with just three ingredients, and it is very easy to modify the recipe to adapt to any meal.