This letter appears in Table to Table’s 2023 Impact Report.
I’ve often heard the work of Table to Table described as a “simple” idea. We like that redistributing surplus food that would otherwise go uneaten is a no-nonsense idea. However, this only works smoothly if it’s on a solid foundation of relationships, collaboration, and connection: essential components for a healthy food system and healthy individuals. Essential… but it turns out: not simple. There isn’t really anything simple about leveraging the strengths of organizations and individuals throughout the community to make food accessible to thousands of people each year.
Here are some of the ways we’ve done that this year:
- We nurtured partnerships to prioritize equity and access by redistributing food in a way that promotes fairness and addresses the specific needs of different communities. Doing this means not doing what’s easiest but finding the way to do what’s most just. We redistributed food purchased by local food hub Field to Family from marginalized local farmers through the Iowa Valley Resource Conservation & Development-led Local Food Purchasing Assistance Program (LFPA).
- We continued our partnership with Grow: Johnson County to deliver over 50,000 pounds of produce grown in their educational farm program, many of which are culturally-specific vegetables grown at the request of our neighbors who will nutritionally and emotionally benefit from these foods that make them feel at home.
- Through collaboration with Feeding America Food Bank HACAP Food Reservoir, we better understand the regional food insecurity landscape and work together to ensure adequate resource distribution in Eastern Iowa. Examples include, redistributing thousands of pounds of ripe strawberries from HACAP, and HACAP offering 10,000 pounds of protein recovered by T2T to partners across 7 counties.
- Strengthening our anti-hunger network increases our adaptability and allowed us to respond to more than a dozen large volume, time sensitive food recovery opportunities this year. With little notice, organizations across Johnson County answered their doors to accept thousands of pounds of unexpected food deliveries ranging from prime sirloin (yes, really: it was going to be dumped unless we stepped in) to milk, eggs, high-protein breakfast bowls, and even gallons of muffin batter.
It is through our network of distribution partnerships that we are collectively building a more just and less wasteful food
system. Together, we show love for our neighbors through food, recognizing that food is a building block of community and connection. We want a community where nutritious, desirable, and culturally-meaningful food is accessible to all. We hope you will join us in making this vision a reality.
In addition to our partnerships, we couldn’t have accomplished what we did in 2023 without our dedicated Board of Directors and staff and AmeriCorps team.
FY23 Board of Directors
- David Frisvold, Chair
- Kaily Hoard, Vice-Chair
- Brad Berentson, Treasurer
- Andrew Coghill-Behrends, Secretary
- Laura Burkamper
- Amelia DeRynck
- Christy Fehlberg
- Todd Gibson
- Molly Johnson
- Mary Kelley
- Tasha Lard
- Patty Meier
- Rajni Vijh
- Leslie Yoder
FY23 Staff Team
- Nicki Ross, Executive Director
- Allison Gnade, Programs & Services Manager
- Ezra Schley, Program Coordinator (through July 2022); Chaim Jensen, Logistics & Relationships Coordinator (started Sept. 2022)
- Jared Long, Volunteer Coordinator
- Elizabeth Wagner, Operations Coordinator
- Anne Langebartels, Communications & Development Coordinator
- Steve Noack, Program Assistant (through Oct. 2022); Gina Hudson, Dispatcher/Driver (started Dec. 2022)
- Celia Eckermann, Bookkeeper and Administrative Assistant
FY23 AmeriCorps Service Members
- Alex Courtney, Data Systems Coordinator
- Ngonyo Mungara, Food Rescue Specialist
- Lillian Poulsen, Food Access and Equity Training Specialist
2022 Local Produce Recovery AmeriCorps
- Nora Garda
- Alyssa Schaeffer
- Molly Suter
2023 Local Produce Recovery AmeriCorps
- Marquis Heard
- Lisa Truong