Robin Safley on Paths to Prosperity, Food, and More

We caught up with Robin Safley, Executive Director of Feeding Florida to discuss issues like food insecurity, paths to prosperity, and how businesses can play a part in creating solutions. Click the videos below to hear more.

On food security:

“A child who is hungry can’t learn in school. And an adult who is stressed and is hungry can’t be retrained for a job… I think businesses could do a big job with their employees and the individuals they come in contact with to really identify food insecurity.”

On their Produce Program:

If you estimate that about 16 percent of all produce grown doesn’t make it into the supply chain…but it’s perfectly edible. What could possibly be available is between 700 and 900 million pounds of produce on an annual basis. There’s about 3.2 million individuals who are food insecure. If I was going to try to attempt to get every one of them a serving of fruit and vegetables every day- all I would need to do is source 104 million pounds of food. We could that with some nutrition classes, so that we are really teaching people the importance of that food and also how to prepare it.

When you look at poverty and you look at all the intricate parts of that- housing and transportation and jobs- I almost see food as that common denominator, that fundamental base that people needs to have prosperity in those other sectors.

On place-based solutions and intersectionality of issues:

“The more that we don’t isolate these conversations- it’s not just take care of housing, but when you are taking care of housing, you should think about transportation and where is the food in proximity to that housing. [Consider] place-based solutions- how do we embed food in an environment- whether it’s charitable or retail. We don’t necessarily need more bricks and mortar, we just need to utilize the bricks and mortar we have more intently.”

On creating financial literacy and understanding the A.L.I.C.E. population:

Sometimes we think individuals are not making the right choice in that early moment, and it’s probably under the stressful situation in which they are just surviving- sometimes to the detriment of that long-term planning. I think if we wrap all of those issues around some of the individuals we are dealing with, with food being that fundamental, I think we are going to see success.

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