I believe the food we get from local farms and food producers tastes fresher than anything you can get in the supermarket.

Pastor Ardyth Bednarz of the People's Christian Church in New Bedford and host of The Happy Bible Hour radio program on WBSM, reminded me about the New Bedford-based nonprofit Coastal Foodshed that simplifies and improves access to locally grown food.

Its goal is uncomplicated: to create an alliance that delivers nutritious food to local shoppers. The cascade effect helps the SouthCoast bargain hunters and the food producers alike by making it easier to purchase healthy, local food through a multitude of easy programs.

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Throughout the time of the pandemic, Coastal Foodshed serviced 19 communities around New Bedford, working with 37 regional farmers.

With the jaw-dropping prices of fuel, Coastal Foodshed helps the environment by reducing transport carbon emissions, passing along these savings to the shopper while supporting our environment and area farmers, rather than prop-up the mighty industrial food producers far and wide.

It's not easy to get a product to market. The small-scale farms have to do all the spadework themselves, like persuading grocery retailers to sell their produce and fruits, taking up the farmer's limited time and resources. Coastal Foodshed takes care of everything like that, so the farmer can focus on growing more food.

Coastal Foodshed has helpful payment options and plans that make it very easy for you to buy local foods, including SNAP/HIP and other stress-free ways to shop.

We often talk about creating innovative solutions for residents in underserved communities. Coastal Foodshed increases customers' access to fresh foods that may be limited to them, while helping local farms that hire local workers.

Every meat item is raised within 50 miles and the produce is grown within 30 miles of New Bedford.

From beginning to end, Coastal Foodshed is mutually beneficial. For more information, visit CoastalFoodshed.org.

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