Taking action on its promise to make nutritious foods accessible for 1 billion people by 2025, Dole introduces Sunshine for All program in one of America's largest food deserts: Jackson, MS
JACKSON, Mississippi, Aug. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Delivering on "The Dole Promise" and to address the global food insecurity crisis that has escalated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Dole Packaged Foods today announced the Sunshine for All program, dedicated to bringing fresh and packaged produce, nutritious meals and educational opportunities to communities that need it the most. Dole chose Jackson, MS—a city with one of America's largest food deserts and only one grocery store for every 10,000 residents—to kick-start this program.
Access to healthy food is a global challenge and one that impacts thousands of U.S. cities and over 40 million people nationwide. This crisis has been further exacerbated by the growing problem of income disparity and, more recently, the coronavirus pandemic. The lack of access to full-service grocery stores, farmers' markets and other vendors that sell nutritious fruits and vegetables has created food deserts and food swamps across the country. Food deserts are defined as areas that have limited access to affordable and nutritious food. On the contrary, food swamps are areas with an abundance of fast food restaurants, convenience stores and liquor stores that primarily sell junk food.
"Our program goes beyond donations to address the critical challenges of accessibility and affordability, as well as nutrition education in communities around the world," said Pier Luigi Sigismondi, President of Dole Worldwide Packaged Foods. "Jackson will serve as a blueprint for how we're going to tackle these challenges in other food deserts using a hyper-local model. Together with partners, we're building a foundation that will drive systemic change within individual communities and our society at large."
In fact, consumers can nominate a city as Dole's next Sunshine for All location. To enter, send an email to [email protected] or post using #SunshineforAllYOURCITY via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook telling Dole what city should be should be the next stop.
Selections will be made by Dole based on need (access to fresh foods, status as a food desert or food swamp), number of posts using the hashtag and mentioning your city and quality of entry (did it address why, creativity). The second Dole Sunshine for All destination will be announced on Giving Tuesday, December 1, 2020.
Sunshine for All in Jackson
Jackson was selected because the city has only 20 grocery stores, and of those stores, less than 5 percent stock locally grown fresh produce. In contrast, there are 70 fast food restaurants, 60 convenience stores, and 150 gas stations that primarily sell unhealthy options.
To mark the program launch, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has proclaimed today Sunshine for All Day in Jackson. Along with the mayor, Dole has partnered with local chefs and organizations including the Boys and Girls Club of Central Mississippi, Up in Farms, The Urban League, Smoothie King and Foot Print Farms to creatively tackle the challenge of getting nutritious foods into underserved areas in Jackson. Key program elements include:
- A $75,000 donation from Dole Packaged Foods to Up in Farms to support their Farm-to-Table Training Center and sustainably equip the commissary to provide 1,000 nutritious meals/day to those in need.
- Weekly pop up farmers' markets at local Boys and Girls Club locations, offering affordable, locally grown produce from Foot Print Farms, fresh smoothies from Smoothie King, and grab-and-go hot meals created by local chefs Nick Wallace, Regina Wallace, Jamie Gwen and Ally Phillips.
- Virtual Dole Kids Cooking Camp sessions and classes for adults that offer cooking lessons and hacks about how to shop smart and eat healthy for less.
- Building sustainable learning gardens located at Boys and Girls Clubs and elementary schools, aimed at inspiring kids to a lifetime of healthy eating with fruits and vegetables.
- Future plans to partner with local entrepreneurs to expand farmers markets and healthy food trucks in the food desert areas of the city.
For more information on the program and how to get involved, visit https://bit.ly/dolesunshine or join Dole today at 12:15 pm ET for a Facebook Live discussion with Chef Nick Wallace. Tune in at facebook.com/dolesunshine.
About Dole Packaged Foods, LLC
Dole Packaged Foods, LLC, is a world leader in growing, sourcing, distributing and marketing fruit and healthy snacks. Dole sells a full line of packaged shelf stable fruit, frozen fruit, dried fruit, and juices. The company focuses on four pillars of sustainability in all of its operations: water management, carbon footprint, soil conservation and waste reduction. For more information please visit dolesunshine.com.
SOURCE Dole Packaged Foods, LLC