America’s Grow-a-Row addresses the problems of hunger, food insecurity, and the lack of availability of fresh, healthy produce for those living in “food deserts” – areas that lack access to fresh, affordable produce – and the need for education among people of all ages about healthy eating and the hunger crisis. America’s Grow-a-Row helps relieve the stress of food insecurity and the impact of diet-related disease by increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables and teaching about the importance of consuming fresh produce for healthy living.
Since the pandemic began in mid-March 2020, more than 40 million people, about 1 in 4 American workers have filed for unemployment, including more than 1.1 million people in New Jersey, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Feeding America projects a 56% increase in New Jersey’s food insecurity rate as a direct result of the pandemic. This translates to an additional 430,000 New Jersey residents becoming food insecure – a total of 1.2 million food insecure residents. It is estimated that approximately 4 in 10 individuals being served by food banks are new to charitable food assistance as a result of COVID-19.
Too often people walking a financial tightrope are forced to choose between basic necessities such as paying the rent or medical bills and buying healthy food for their families. And now, because of the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, demand has skyrocketed at food banks and food pantries in every community. Feeding America projected that an additional 15 million people faced food insecurity nationally in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. It is critical that people suffering from food insecurity have fresh produce as a staple of their diets. The fruits and vegetables provided by America’s Grow-a-Row contain nutrients essential for healthy living and help give kids the nutrition they need to thrive.
America’s Grow-a-Row’s clients are saving money, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, and learning about the importance of consuming fresh produce for healthy living. One of our Free Farm Market clients shares that: “Vegetables are very expensive and we are six in my family, now we can eat healthy.”