750 Pounds and Counting!

Phil Alonso, ED of Interfaith Food Ministry with organic kiwis purchased as part of the 20 x 25 challenge

Interfaith Food Ministry (IFM) is the first institution to step up to the Nevada County 20 by 25 Challenge. With the support of Sierra Harvest, the Nevada County Food Policy council is poised to launch the 20 by 25 Challenge, an effort to help the county consume 20% “Whole-sum food by 2025.” Whole-sum food is defined as local (produced within 20 miles of where it will be served), community-based (within 20-120 miles), fair, ecologically sound, and humane. Currently, only 2% of the food that Nevada County residents consume, was grown or raised locally.  The challenge aims to change that.

In April, IFM’s Executive Director, Phil Alonso sat down with Food Policy Council Manager, Stephanie Stevens, and Sierra Harvest Procurement Specialist, Lauren Scott to identify opportunities for sourcing local and organic produce. Less than a week after their initial meeting, IFM purchased nearly 750 pounds of organic kiwis from Wild River Marketing in Marysville. According to IFM staff, the kiwis were a popular addition for IFM clients and for some it was their first time trying the fruit! 

Purchasing more local food can improve health outcomes in residents, bolster the local economy, and lower individual carbon footprints. Studies have shown that local economies benefit from local purchasing, what’s known as the “economic multiplier effect.” A research team from UC Davis published a study in 2016 that showed that dollars spent at a local, direct-market fruit or vegetable grower have twice thelocal economic impact when compared to large wholesalers.

Any organization or institution is invited to participate in the 20 by 25 Challenge by contacting Stephanie Stevens to establish a baseline. Stevens says, “Buying locally can be a learning curve, and we want to meet folks where they are. If they can get their local consumption from 0 percent to 1 percent, we still consider that a victory. There is no wrong way to participate in this challenge. We’re here to support residents and help them achieve their own goals.”  Contact Stephanie at stephanie@sierraharvest.org for more information about the 20 by 25 Challenge.