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Posts tagged: Idaho Foodbank

Inmates harvest record yield from prison farm for food bank

Inmates at the minimum-security South Idaho Correctional Institution south of Boise had a record harvest this year from their 10-acre prison farm, and the whole yield will go to the Idaho Foodbank to feed hungry Idahoans. Yesterday, a selected group of 20 inmates, shown here, harvested and bagged potatoes from the farm; beans and corn grown at the prison farm already are being distributed by the food bank. Volunteers and donors, including a retired potato farmer, helped make the project work, and farmers and ag and trucking companies donated supplies and equipment. The prison farm project for the hungry is in its fourth year, and expanded this year from six acres to 10.

Jenifer Johnson, food bank vice president, said, “The Idaho Foodbank is interested in every opportunity to provide fresh, locally grown produce to our partners in the statewide charitable hunger-relief network. The collaboration with Idaho farmers, seed companies, truckers and the staff and inmates at the South Idaho Correctional Institution is rewarding on many levels, but it is especially appreciated by the hungry families who are already enjoying these healthy vegetables.”

Art with a message in downtown Boise…

Art with a message went up in downtown Boise today, as a new anti-hunger mural was unveiled on the south wall of the infamous big hole in the center of downtown. The mural proclaims “HUNGER AFFECTS EVERYONE,” and features striking 3-D images of an empty fridge and an empty cupboard, with a shopping list on one cupboard door listing such basics as bread, milk, eggs and soup. As contributions are made to feed the hungry, the empty cupboard and refrigerator will fill with food; the mural is scheduled to be up until January. It’s a collaboration between the city of Boise’s Art and History Department, Boise Young Professionals, Wirestone, which donated the design work, and the Idaho Foodbank. Also contributing to the project were Hewett-Packard, Home Depot, Thriftway Home Center, Food Services America, and Signs 2 U.

As the work was unveiled this morning, a knot of volunteers and passers-by gathered across Main Street to watch; the 3-D images, which don’t look like much up close, stand out in the view from across the street and for motorists driving by. The mural also features information about food drives and other anti-hunger events.

“During uncertain times, more and more Idahoans are seeking emergency food assistance, many for the first time,” the Idaho Foodbank said in an announcement about the project. More than 40 percent of those seeking its assistance have a family member who’s working; more than 70 percent of households seeking help did so because their income has temporarily dropped below $10,000 per year.

The wall that serves as a barrier around the hole in the center of downtown Boise has played host to an array of murals over the years; behind it, an unfinished foundation and jutting rebar testify to a giant office tower that never was built, one of a series of failed redevelopment proposals on the site that once was the home of the historic Eastman Building. That structure, vacant and on the verge of a historic renovation, burned to the ground in a spectacular midwinter nighttime fire two decades ago; it’s the last remaining piece of Boise’s original downtown redevelopment zone that’s never been successfully filled back in.

Beef for the hungry…

This may not look like a picture of a food bank event, but that’s exactly what it is. Today, Idaho’s beef industry joined with the Idaho Foodbank to launch “Beef Counts,” a program designed to “provide a consistent supply of much-needed, high-quality beef protein throughout the year to The Idaho Foodbank and those we serve,” according to the food bank, which distributes free emergency food from warehouses in Boise, Lewiston and Pocatello through a network of 220 agencies statewide, from rescue missions to soup kitchens.

David Proctor, spokesman for the Idaho Foodbank, said, “This is the first time in the country this partnership with the beef industry has been established. … Other states are very interested.” Beef industry groups involved include the Agri Beef Co., the Idaho Beef Council, and the Idaho CattleWomen Council. The move comes as the economic downturn leaves more and more Idahoans hungry. “Today, the face of hunger is our neighbor, our friends and sometimes even members of our family,” the food bank said in announcing the new program.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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