Monday, December 14, 2009

Responding to Community Needs

An ambulance visited the Food Bank today, but that's no cause for concern- it was delivering over 2,600 pounds of food collected through the Yolo Food Drive conducted by a team from our local American Medical Response. All weekend, an EMT and a paramedic camped out in an ambulance outside the Home Depot in West Sacramento to see how many donations they could collect. They also engaged several local fire departments to contribute, including West Sacramento, Winters, Willow Oak, Yocha Dehe, Elkhorn, and Dunnigan. Thank you to AMR and everyone who participated, and especially to Amir Shariat and Mike Denman for planning the event and braving the weather to help our neighbors in need!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Students Swipe for Hunger

Thank you to the annual UC Davis Swipe for Hunger campaign for delivering 9,102 pounds of food to the Food Bank today! Through this program, UC Davis students can donate meal swipe dollars, which Sodexho Food Service then uses to purchase food at cost to donate to the Food Bank. This year we received pallets of tuna, peanut butter, and vegetables- some of our most-needed items!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Healthy Cauliflower Recipes

As promised, here are Ryan's healthy recipes for the veggie of the month: cauliflower!

Garlic Cauliflower

2 - 3 heads of small cauliflower (or 1/2 head large)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
a couple pinches of salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch of chives, chopped
zest of one lemon
freshly grated Parmesan

To prep the cauliflower, remove any leaves at the base and trim the stem. Now cut it into tiny trees - and by tiny, I mean most florets aren't much larger than a table grape. Make sure the pieces are relatively equal in size, so they cook in the same amount of time. Rinse under running water, and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and fine grain salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cauliflower and stir until the florets are coated. Wait until it gets a bit brown on the bottom, then toss the cauliflower with a spatula. Brown a bit more and continue to sauté until the pieces are deeply golden - all told about six minutes. In the last 30 seconds, stir in the garlic.

Remove from heat and stir in the chives, lemon zest, and dust with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt. Serve immediately.

Cauliflower Leek Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 leeks, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large head cauliflower, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 cups vegetable broth
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat, and saute the leeks, cauliflower, and garlic for about 10 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 45 minutes.

Remove the soup from heat. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or hand mixer. Season with salt and pepper, blend until smooth.

Friday, December 4, 2009

December Veggie of the Month: Cauliflower

The Moveable Market program's veggie of the month is cauliflower! Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable along with kale, cabbage, and broccoli. The Cruciferous vegetables are known for their ability to decrease your risk of certain cancers. they have two main compounds: sulforaphanes which detoxify potentially harmful substances in your liver, and indole-13-carbinol which reduces estrogen (which can lead to prostate and breast cancers when in high amounts.). In addition to these two compounds, caluiflower contains lots of vitamin C, folate, dietary fiber, vitamin K, and potassium. With all of these health benefits it's a great idea to add cauliflower to your diet!

Stay tuned for more on the healthy recipes our nutritionist, Ryan, is preparing using cauliflower. In the meantime, share with us your favorite way to cook or eat cauliflower.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bring Home Holiday Cheer care of the Food Bank of Yolo County!

Stop by Nestware (204 G Street in Davis) between now and close-of-business on December 20th to bid on this beautiful tree decorated by the Food Bank's very own Valerie Dennis! The auction is part of the Davis Downtown Business Association's Downtown Charitable Holiday Tree Project, in which fifteen local non-profit organizations have tabletop holiday trees on display at retailers throughout Downtown beginning today. The trees will be sold via silent auction to the community with all proceeds benefiting the non-profit that decorated the tree. Highest bidders will be contacted on December 21 to arrange for tree pick-up and payment.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

54,000 People in Yolo County Struggle to Put Food on the Table

Report finds underutilization of federal programs aimed at alleviating food insecurity, costing Yolo County a $24,025,000 loss of benefits

A recently released statewide survey conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) shows that 2,875,000 California adults report struggling with food insecurity, the ability to obtain enough food on a regular basis. Of the households surveyed in Yolo County, 13,000 adults reported suffering from food insecurity. Using data on the surveyed households, the California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) captured an additional 41,000 people living in these households who are also likely to suffer from food insecurity.

“Food insecurity as reported by the adult head of household almost always indicates that the problem affects the rest of the household as well. It makes sense that when an adult is affected it’s likely other adults, if not the entire household, are also food insecure” says Ken Hecht, Executive Director of the CFPA. “Children may not be as vulnerable to food insecurity because parents will do their best to protect their children from these struggles—but they are not always successful”.

Food insecurity and poor nutrition are pressing problems in California. Unfortunately, one of the existing solutions, the federal Food Stamp Program, is severely underutilized. CFPA released a report today entitled Lost Dollars, Empty Plates which details estimates of lost food stamp benefits and the resulting economic impact for counties and the state. Based on these calculations the report estimates that $24,025,000 in benefits would have gone to eligible Yolo County residents if the participation rate had reached 100%. This is possible; states such as Missouri, Maine and Tennessee serve nearly all eligible households and California should implement strategies to do the same. Furthermore, the additional food stamp benefits would have generated approximately $44,000,000 in economic activity in Yolo County.

The report suggests that increasing Food Stamp Program participation will not only help Californians in need, but will also bolster economic activity; a win-win situation for all involved. “In times like these we can’t afford to let valuable federal resources go unused" says Tia Shimada, Nutrition Policy Advocate at the CFPA.

The prevalence of food insecurity indicates that the underutilization of the Food Stamp Program does not result from a lack of need. Rather, barriers to access and enrollment contribute to low participation in the Food Stamp Program. “One of many possible strategies to alleviate the occurrence of food insecurity is to focus on policy changes geared toward eliminating such barriers” says Shimada.

The report outlines solutions aimed at reducing barriers to food stamp participation, such as:
· Removing the asset test, so households don’t have to hit rock bottom before qualifying
· Providing a phone or a web based interview process to avoid burdensome trips to the food stamp office
· Joining 46 other states that do not require a finger print image to complete enrollment; and
· Reducing paperwork by converting to a semi-annual simplified reporting system

The Lost Dollars, Empty Plates report is available here.

For more information, contact Ken Hecht, 510-409-6436, or Tia Shimada. 510-407-2868,