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Photo: Veggie Goodie Bags (2020)

By Falon McGinty

Look at that veggie-enthused smile! COVID-19 has brought on numerous challenges in the realm of food and agriculture that at times seem too daunting to face. Nonetheless, food system actors continue to persist, innovate, and do what they do best: feed people. While working for the Good Food Collective as an AmeriCorps VISTA member, I quickly learned how to view gaps in the system as opportunities for collaboration that may ultimately result in a strengthened food system - as was the case with our Roots of Health Employee Foodshare Program. This program provided hospital employees with weekly shares of vegetables supplied by local farmers who were grappling with COVID-induced collapses in market channels. Fran, pictured above, dedicated her time as a volunteer for three months by assisting with veggie distribution days, which quickly became my favorite part of the week. I handed out fresh, local food to eager and thankful frontline healthcare workers while reading poetry, discussing aspirations, telling stories, and learning about life with this fiercely compassionate human whom I now consider a dear friend. Amid all the chaos and hardship associated with 2020, let this photo serve as a testament to the undeniable value of human connection and good food. By downloading this image, you agree to use the photo within the context that it was taken. You also agree to never use it for commercial purposes. The image always belongs to the original photographer and should be attributed to the photographer and Center for a Livable Future Food Policy Networks Photo Contest. Image credit: Falon McGinty; CLF Food Policy Networks Photo Contest, 2020