News Bites: RI Food Bank 2016 Status Report on Hunger / Farm Fresh RI Matching Donation Challenge / Winter Farmers’ Markets

by David Dadekian

Current news releases—Eat Drink RI is not the source for these items—please follow any links for more information.

RI Community Food Bank 2016 Status Report on Hunger

Rhode Island Community Food Bank

Low-Income Families are Missing Meals

There is a significant meal gap in Rhode Island today. Low-income families miss out on meals because they cannot afford adequate food. Entire communities remain distressed and are not benefiting from the state’s economic recovery. More should be done to protect low-income families from hunger and bring economic growth to the communities where they live.

Download the Status Report on Hunger in Rhode Island.


  • Over 33 million meals are missed each year by Rhode Islanders at the bottom of the income scale.
  • Government nutrition programs are now the primary source of meals for low-income households.
  • More than one-fifth of the state’s population lives in communities that suffer from extreme economic hardship.
  • Demand for food assistance remains high with 59,000 people served by the Rhode Island Community Food Bank each month.

Thirty-Three Million Missing Meals

The graph shows the different sources of meals for low-income households in Rhode Island. Of the total 217 million meals needed annually, 15 percent – 33.2 million – are missing. SNAP, WIC and School Meals account for more than half of the meals provided.

Read the entire 2016 Status Report on Hunger in Rhode Island.

Action Steps

  • Urge Congress to increase SNAP benefit levels to keep up with the real cost of food.
  • Offer free school breakfast and lunch to all students in high-poverty areas.
  • Prioritize distressed communities in Rhode Island for economic development to improve the lives of low-income residents.
  • Allocate additional state funding to keep the Food Bank stocked to meet the continued high demand for food assistance.

For previous versions of the Status Report on Hunger, visit our Publications page.

Farm Fresh RI Challenged by Newman’s Own Foundation for #GivingTuesday

Farm Fresh Rhode IslandFarm Fresh Rhode Island has been selected to participate in the Newman’s Own Foundation Challenge for #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and celebrate generosity worldwide.

As part of the Newman’s Own Foundation Challenge, Farm Fresh Rhode Island can earn up to $10,000 in matching funds for donations made (through between November 22 and November 29.

Farm Fresh RI is dedicated to growing a local food system that values the environment, health and quality of life of Rhode Island farmers and eaters. Part incubator, part activator, Farm Fresh’s mission is to preserve Rhode Island farmland, build healthier communities, strengthen local community-based businesses, increase access to fresh food for all, and improve the impact of food production and distribution on the environment. Funds raised in the Challenge will be used to support a wide array of access, education, and distribution programs—such as operating farmers markets year-round; incentivizing and subsidizing EBT/SNAP use at those markets; facilitating buying relationships between RI producers, businesses, and institutions; providing food-industry job training and employment to youth from DCYF’s Juvenile Justice Corrections Services; getting more locally grown, fresh foods into more RI school, hospital, and senior residence cafeterias; and empowering low-income families with tools to shop for and cook fresh foods.

“We love the strong connections Rhode Islanders have to their growers and fishermen. But there is still a long ways for us to go,” says Sheri Griffin, Co-Executive Directory of Farm Fresh RI. “We estimate that just 1% of the food consumed in Rhode Island is locally grown or caught. That is 99% opportunity! Grocery store shelves, cafeterias, schools, senior meal sites — there are so many ways to tie in local food better. We have to ask for these changes to make them happen. They will not happen on their own, but they are so worthwhile, and taste good to boot!”

Occurring this year on November 29, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday to kick off the holiday giving season. The day is designed to inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

The Challenge is hosted on CrowdRise, a crowdfundraising platform for nonprofits. A total of 20 organizations were selected to participate by Newman’s Own Foundation, the independent foundation created by the late actor and philanthropist, Paul Newman.

Those who are interested in helping Farm Fresh Rhode Island reach its Challenge goal can do so by visiting:

Winter Farmers’ Markets Offer Perfect Local Fare for Holiday Feasts

Just in time for the holidays, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced that as part of its “Get Fresh. Buy Local” campaign, winter farmers’ markets will be open across the state this weekend. The markets will feature an array of local products – from seafood to meats, produce, and prepared foods and gifts.

“The winter markets are great places to purchase fresh, delicious local food while supporting Rhode Island businesses,” said DEM Director Janet Coit.  “I can think of no better way to dress the Thanksgiving table than with Rhode Island-grown turkey, locally harvested fish, or farm-fresh potatoes, apples, cider or winter squash.  I hope everyone will join me this weekend in visiting a local market to get fresh, and buy local!”

Markets, locations and operating times are as follows:

Farm Fresh RI Wintertime Farmers’ Market, Pawtucket
Hope Artiste Village, 1005 & 999 Main Street
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through April 29

Mount Hope Farm, Bristol
250 Metacom Avenue
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. year-round

Aquidneck Growers Market, Middletown
Newport Vineyards, 909 East Main Road
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. year-round

Coastal Growers Winter Farmers’ Market, North Kingstown
Lafayette Mill Complex, 650 Ten Rod Road
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. through April 29

South Kingstown Indoor Winter Farmers’ Market, Peace Dale
Peacedale Mill Complex, 1425 Kingstown Road
Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through April 29

Schoolyard Market, Warren
Hope & Main Food Incubator, 691 Main Street
Select Sundays (December 18January 15February 19March 19, & May 21) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Farm Fresh RI Woonsocket Farmers’ Market, Woonsocket
Thundermist Health Center, 450 Clinton Street
Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. year-round

DEM’s Get Fresh. Buy Local campaign supports efforts to increase local awareness and consumption of Rhode Island-sourced products and to build a sustainable food system in the state.  Rhode Island’s food sector is experiencing significant growth, and efforts are underway to develop the state’s first statewide food strategy.  Winter farmers’ markets play an important role in supporting a strong food system by increasing Rhode Islanders’ access to affordable, local products and providing a marketplace for local farmers during the off-season.  Rhode Island’s food system supports 60,000 jobs, and it is one of few states where the number of farms is on the rise, now standing at more than 1,200 farms. The state also leads the nation in the percent of farms selling directly to the public.

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.

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