NPC Executive Director’s Column: June/July 2017

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Welcome to the summer whirlwind! The first quarter of the year is always a bit quiet for NPC with local food system activity slowing down during the winter months, but we’re about to turn the corner into constant commotion. Stay in touch with us all summer on Facebook by “liking” www.facebook.com/NorthsideMadison/

Healthy Food For All (HFFA)
HFFA, NPC’s food recovery program, remains busy all year rescuing food from the Epic Systems cafeterias and now the American Family cafeterias. However, summer brings a huge array of excess fruits and vegetables for repacking and distribution to families in need. This year, HFFA is piloting a food processing enterprise. For example, if a farmer has a bumper crop of strawberries and is unable to sell them all before they begin to spoil, they can bring them to HFFA for topping and freezing. The farmer pays a reasonable fee for this service but is then able to extend the harvest season by selling frozen strawberries year-round. This gives consumers the opportunity to purchase more locally grown produce, and it provides HFFA with a sustainable revenue source to cover the costs of its food recovery work. It’s a win-win-win situation for the local food system. “Like” HFFA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthyFoodForAllDaneCounty/

FEED Kitchens
The Kitchens are hopping during the summer, with food carts and new food businesses sprouting up to meet demand. We’ve just acquired new freezer and cooler units and installed additional shelving throughout the whole facility to expand our storage capacity and accommodate more businesses. NPC staff and volunteers will hold a facility clean-up day on Friday, June 2 to get ourselves ready for the busy season. FEED will also host Food Cart Fridays every Friday evening starting June 2, 5:30-7:30 in the NorthGate Shopping Center parking lot, corner of North Sherman and Aberg Avenues. It’s a great opportunity to treat yourself to some of the wonderful food our businesses are making at FEED. “Like” FEED on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FEEDKitchens/

Madison Public Market’s MarketReady Program
With the Madison Public Market around the corner, it’s an exciting time to be a local food business. The MarketReady Program, which NPC is administering for the City of Madison, is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to find support and resources to prepare themselves for tenancy in the future market. We continue our outreach efforts through the end of June, and applications for the program are due July 1. Visit marketreadymadison.org or “like” MarketReady on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marketreadymadison/

FEED Bakery Training Program
With a new class underway, the FEED Bakery Training Program continues to graduate and place qualified bakers in sustainable employment opportunities. With the Northside Farmers Market up and running for the season, the FEED Bakery has had a busy couple weeks of sales and looks forward to being there all summer. Be sure to check out our stall at the market on Sunday mornings in the Northside TownCenter parking lot! Your purchase of baked goods goes to support the program’s vocational training work. “Like” the FEED Bakery Training Program on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FEEDBakery/

Stable Families, Strong Community
The various programs partnering in the Stable Families, Strong Community collective impact initiative are gearing up for implementation. Mendota Community School is going strong with a Mendota Elementary Family Youth and Community Day event on June 3. The Northside Early Childhood Zone (NECZ) is busy getting its offices set up, and the new NECZ Coordinator Leslie McAllister will start in her role in mid-May. The Northside Safe & Thriving Community project is working to foster engagement around youth violence prevention strategies. NPC’s Neighborhood Navigators will soon be hired and begin work in early June to support community engagement in each of the partner programs.

Northside News
And, finally, with Oona Mackesey-Green, our new managing editor, at the helm of the Northside News, we’re launching the Many Voices Initiative to help engage more diverse community voices with the newspaper, both the print and online editions. Be sure to check out the Northside News online: northsidenews.org and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheNorthsideNews/