“If you want to be part of a community, get involved with what the community is doing.” Those were the words of Josh Singer, Garden Specialist for the District of Columbia's Department of Parks and Recreation, during one of the many incredible National Food Recovery Dialogue breakout sessions, as he went through his top 15 ways to successfully plan urban gardens in gentrifying neighborhoods. Josh’s words overlay the entire Dialogue, and why we were all there. Even if you were not at the Dialogue in person, these words hold for why we are a part of FRN: We wanted to learn and share ways to deepen our connection to the FRN community and to the communities we inhabit across the country.
We want to do things differently, and we want to do things better. To some, that might sound lofty, but to us, it is a commitment to our present as much as it is a vision for our future. Recovering more than 1 million meals to date happened because we care, because we won’t stop, and because we involve our whole community in doing.things.better.
Remember the two calls to action I stated at the NFRD? We’re going to continue to lean on all of you to get THERE. Even after you graduate, we’ll still need your support!
1. By the time the first years in our network graduate (roughly 4 or 5 years from now), let’s see if we’ve moved the needle for making higher education the first sector in our country where food recovery the normal practice.
2. Let’s make the Food Recovery Certified program a national standard. We started FRC because of feedback from all of you -- that while we support our dining halls in recovering surplus food, restaurants and events should be doing the same. Let’s make it easy for the business sector to do the right thing.
And what else? I heard the FRN Fellows state a common rejoinder throughout the Dialogue in breakout sessions, during lunch, and between panels when we heard a good idea from you: “That is an awesome idea! Connect with me so you can write about it in our blog.” Or, “I love that idea; let’s make sure the full network hears about that!” The National Food Recovery Dialogue represented, in a moment in time, the commitment, passion, and drive we have to reduce waste and feed people. As I said, these BIG issues we’re tackling don’t stop. To keep that momentum going -- that fight -- between now and our next national gathering, it’s critical that we keep in touch, raise our voices, and support one another in working smarter and more ingeniously to combat these complex social issues.
I know this is the group to make the difference.