The Fresh Initiatives Supply Hub (FISH) is UMCM’s bridge program. It connects local pantries with infrastructure and support; traditional supplemental food programs with innovative, sustainable efforts; and creates a common thread between the other UMCM food programs to provide cohesiveness and focus to our efforts.
The FISH recovers fruits and vegetables from food banks, gardens, and grocery stores that are then sorted and repackaged for small scale food pantries. Food that is bruised but still edible is channeled to St. Vincent de Paul and the Doug Brown Ministry, while spoiled items are composted at community gardens, diverting thousands of pounds from the waste stream annually. Our dry storage facility is used to store milk and shelf-stable items for the PackASack program, particularly for smaller church partners with limited storage space of their own.
And it doesn't stop there!
The FISH also works with everyone from organic gardeners to commercial composters to academic researchers to evaluate how we as a community can rethink our food system in a way that actually moves the needle on food insecurity. Whether it’s consumer market surveys for local growers to become financially sustainable, developing a database of regional farmers, or co-hosting local food processing events, The FISH exists to test great ideas that facilitate change in health, nutrition, food insecurity, and food justice. Or as we like to say, building community through food!
So join the movement!
Take a class, grow a garden, pack a sack for a child, drive a truck or sort produce. Email the FISH manager, Scarlett Amey-Wyns, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 727-488-5972 to find out how you can be a part of something so much bigger than food!