Local leaders gathered for the Ohio CAN press conference. From left to right are: Brigette Hires, Director, Office of Nutrition, Ohio Department of Education; Betsy Suver, Bureau Chief, SNAP & Cash Policy, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services; Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, Executive Director, Ohio Association of Foodbanks; Michelle Ajamian, Principal, Shagbark Seed & Mill & Network Manager, Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative; Tracy Intihar, Assistant Director, Ohio Department of Agriculture; and Matt Habash, President & CEO, Mid-Ohio Food Collective.

ODA teams up with foodbanks for new CAN program

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is proud to introduce Ohio CAN — Community + Agriculture + Nutrition — to help make sure no Ohioans go hungry.

Through this innovative program, historically underrepresented producers will be able to sell food to the Ohio Association of Foodbanks and the products will then be distributed to Ohioans in need through the 12 Feeding America foodbanks and 3,600 member charities across all 88 counties.

“With Ohio’s strong food and agricultural base, it makes sense to better link our food producers with communities who need these necessities,” said Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director. “ODA is proud to be part of this collaboration to provide food to those in need from under resourced regional producers.”

Farmers and producers whose products are grown and produced within 400 miles of Columbus are eligible to apply. Ohio CAN will prioritize historically underrepresented applicants as well as those whose income is derived from a public assistance program.

“Ohio’s foodbanks are grateful to be participating in this innovative public-private partnership between USDA, the State of Ohio, local farmers, growers, producers, and vendors, and our hunger relief network,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “It comes at a critical time, when more Ohio families are counting on us to help them put wholesome food on the table. We look forward to supplying hunger relief providers with more local foods to better meet nutritional needs in our communities while supporting Ohio agriculture.”

Products that are eligible for sale include:
• Produce (fresh, frozen, or canned)
• Grains
• Eggs
• Dairy
• Meat 
• Poultry
• Fish
• Legumes

“Hunger does not work in isolation and neither do the solutions to lift our neighbors to self-sustainability,” said Matt Habash, President & CEO, Mid-Ohio Food Collective. “We appreciate the collaborative work through Ohio CAN to secure nutritious food locally to ensure healthy, thriving communities.”

Ohio CAN is a collaboration between ODA, Ohio Association of Foodbanks and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Please click HERE to learn more about Ohio CAN, including how eligible farmers can apply.

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