Mid-Atlantic Food Resilience and Access Coalition
The mission of the Mid-Atlantic Food Resilience and Access Coalition is simple: to connect those who have food with people who need it. MAFRAC formed in April 2020 as a rapid response to the unprecedented threat COVID-19 posed to local food systems and communities in the Mid-Atlantic region.
The crisis brought on by the pandemic resulted in a real opportunity to create a connection between the sustainable local food system and communities that are food insecure by ensuring the food system stays afloat and people’s basic needs are met. MAFRAC, led by regional food hub, 4P Foods, started with regional food banks and food hubs that had developed relationships over the years and then connected with smaller community nonprofits and faith-based organizations that play an important role in keeping communities fed. The coalition’s network has grown to include over 150 stakeholders, including farms, food pantries, restaurants, small businesses, food hubs, food banks, and faith-based and community organizations. Through its networking and logistics support, MAFRAC makes connections that enable sharing of knowledge, infrastructure, and excess food to communities in need to keep people employed, prevent food waste, and keep food pantries stocked.
When stories hit the news about national supply chains struggling to keep up with demand in stores and food banks, it shed a light on the weaknesses of the existing national food system. 4P Foods CEO, Tom McDougall, hopes this experience motivates people to think more about what a resilient, regional food system looks like and how it can be activated to benefit consumers and local farmers across communities during times of crisis.
“Our hope is that after the pandemic, people won’t forget what is happening right now—and will stay involved to change the system,” McDougall says.
“This was also a true call to action for the philanthropic community,” says Prince Trusts Managing Director, Carolynn Brunette. “The philanthropic sector can be very risk-averse, so it was inspiring to see people were willing to take risks on an idea that wasn’t fully formulated yet.”
MAFRAC’s Local Food Grant provides up to $15,000 to nonprofits and businesses distributing locally produced food for free or pay-what-you-can models. Visit MAFRAC.com to learn more.