The Nantucket Resource Partnership (NRP), a non-profit that aims to develop community-wide systems to provide social services across the island, has received a $250,000 Food Security and Infrastructure Grant from The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
“We’re quite pleased, very pleased,” Brian Lenane, president of NRP’s board, told the Current this week.
The grant is restricted to the development of technology focused on food systems and security. NRP plans to use the grant to determine what specific investments would go the furthest to reducing food insecurity on Nantucket.
“It’s a whole series of developments around measuring supply and demand for food on the island,” Lenane said. “Do you need more prepared meals? Do you need more food boxes? Do you need a bigger pantry? What’s the necessary mix of resources to reduce food insecurity on-island? You have to measure that, you have to find out.”
But measuring those parameters is expensive, which is where the grant comes in. The grant program is designed to ensure that food-insecure families across the state have equitable access to food, particularly local food, and support local food producers.
“[The grant will] help us make better investments to reduce food insecurity on the island,” Lenane said.
NRP already runs several programs on Nantucket that aim to reduce food insecurity, including Nourishing Nantucket, a partnership with local market Pip & Anchor on Amelia Drive that provides boxes of fresh local food to food-insecure families.
“It has been very successful,” Lenane said. “We’re providing fresh local produce, which is the most nutritious produce available, to Nantucket families in need.”
Through these programs, NRP seeks to support the well-being of the Nantucket community and the families it is comprised of.
NRP began with the release of the Nantucket Food Insecurity Report, which summarised research findings about food insecurity on Nantucket and concluded that food insecurity levels on island are higher than existing programs can support and higher than many may believe. The report also found that up to four in 10 students in the Nantucket Public School system are food insecure.