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'Feed'em Freedom' aims to fill food security gap in BIPOC communities

Members of the Feed'em Freedom Foundation provide families in need with fresh produce while educating them on how to grow their own food.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for food has grown for many Oregonians — especially for those within the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.

The Feed'em Freedom Foundation helps tackle that issue by providing families with fresh produce while educating them on how to grow their own food.

"Feed'em Freedom is a nonprofit organization that focuses on food distribution and also creating an agricultural education hub," said Shauntae Johnson, the nonprofit's executive director.

Members of the nonprofit grow vegetables on a one-acre farm in east Portland. The vegetables then get donated to help 500 people in need each week. The nonprofit also has an indoor storeroom where people can pick up other groceries including breads and sauces.

Feed'em Freedom focuses on supporting Black communities, but they serve anyone in need.

"I'm on food stamps and it's hard to even find fresh food, let alone the price of it," said Holly Leong, who uses the food pantry twice a week.

Arthur Shavers owns his own farm called Mudbone Grown, which contributes to the food pantry.

"One of our goals (is) to introduce people to vegetables that might not have come across their table, to give them more variety of fruits and vegetables they might not have tried," Shavers said.

The nonprofit is currently raising money to build a food center for Black communities

"The building would have a commercial kitchen where farmers can come make their products; we cook together," Johnson said.

The vision is to create a space where BIPOC communities have access to culturally-specific food and peer-to-peer learning spaces to teach aquaponics, sustainable farming practices and produce preservation techniques.

The food center would cost about $3.3 million. The nonprofit has raised just over $700,000 so far.

The KGW Great Food Drive is going on now. You can help us reach our goal of providing 1.2 million meals to families in need by donating here.

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