Red Cross food aid

At the onset of the corona crisis in 2020, a direct social demand arose from the Red Cross to help with much-needed food aid to vulnerable people.

The aid agency, through the Task Force Short Chain, joined hands with Local2Local and Flevofood farmers and their logistics partner Makro. At the time, exports and outlets in the catering industry were down, but with the Red Cross’ Rapid Response Box, fresh produce found its way to people struggling to make ends meet.

This cut both ways. The growers still got a fair price for what they supplied for the parcels, and people who suddenly found themselves below the minimum because of corona, but could not yet directly go to the food bank, were helped out for a while with such a parcel. The contents of the food parcels were enough to make 2-3 hot meals for two people. In 2020, Local2Local and Flevofood farmers supplied a total of 390,000 kilos of seasonal vegetables, fruit, eggs and bread for the food parcels, which translates into nearly 50.000 house holds receiving an average of 8 kilos of fresh produce.

The packages are aimed at people who are extra vulnerable due to the corona crisis, for instance due to job loss, and those who are not eligible for other forms of aid or do not know how to find their way to help. Think of migrant workers, undocumented workers and families who can barely keep their heads above water due to loss of income. With these food parcels, the Red Cross wanted to offer a sustainable solution for people who temporarily fall between two stools.

A new chain
The creation of the food package required Local2Local to move quickly, linking existing collaborations and best practices for logistics and distribution. Cooperation on the producers’ side is now no longer primarily motivated by surpluses, but by the social relevance and economic impact the short chain can have. Red Cross food parcels became a ‘new chain’. The crisis has given a huge boost to local production and direct sales of fresh produce, and by June 2020 a five-fold increase had already been achieved in the Netherlands.

Food banks, Farmers for Neighbours
Local2local also supports Food Banks in the Netherlands. During the corona crisis, several food banks in the Netherlands purchased products through Local2Local’s networks. Since then, Local2Local has worked with farmers to establish a good delivery line for food banks and other care organisations, and the collaborations are becoming increasingly sustainable. Association Flevofood is also one of the involved partners of Farmers for Neighbours (Boeren voor Buren) in Amsterdam.

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