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again my name is joe cummerford i'm delighted on behalf of my rocking food security chairs co-chairs uh to welcome you here today to this briefing on food security and food insecurity in the commonwealth let me start by shouting out to reps schmidt donahue and kane uh who are the house co-chairs and also senators goby and lesser who join me on the senate side um hannah kane likes to say that the food systems caucus is the second largest caucus in the legislature uh just south of the democratic caucus um and i will say and i'm sure she would agree that it's in large part that large because of the amazing effective advocate community that keeps us tuned in to issues that are important to us in our commonwealth we have some of those amazing effective advocates with us today for this one hour briefing again for folks just tuning in we're going to record this briefing it's not for public use but it will be sent to offices um so please let me start by welcoming the advocates who have agreed to brief the legislature today on behalf of my co-chairs um first up uh wynton pitkov winton is probably not a stranger to you he heads up the food systems collaborative um and he's the director of that it's a network of organizations from all sectors of the food system working towards sustainable and equitable and resilient local food um welcome wynton christina maxwell um is the director of programs at the food bank of western massachusetts um hails from my district really happy to welcome you christina which serves the four westernmost counties of the commonwealth and in that role christina oversees all food bank programs include including nutrition member capacity building snap outreach uh and more um and i will just say that christina and all the food banks as we probably really know work very well and importantly tightly together to galvanize their voice in the legislature um welcome christina erin mcelier from project bread of course project brett is well known president of project bread erin uses her background in public policy and health and human services to address food and security in mass massachusetts at the macro level project bread connects people and communities in massachusetts to reliable sources of food while advocating for policies that make food more accessible and as we know uh project brett has been amazing an amazing and powerful driver of the legislature in terms of getting us to focus as a body on what's important and then phil corman um welcome phil from community involved in sustaining agriculture phil has been a community leader in western massachusetts for 30 years or more and has served for uh 12 years as the executive director of sisa again sees a community involved in sustaining agriculture sisa is a buy local um and phil is deeply connected um to the buy local so he'll be able to speak from the position of buy locals and our farms ceases the longest running by local agriculture group in the nation actually so it's really wonderful to have you phil and then frank marachi from the north sea northeast seafood coalition i'm particularly excited that frank is here um frank lives in scituate and was a commercial fisherman for 54 years including including serving as a deckhand on and later owning and captaining a fishing vessel and i i think it's really exciting for us to see fisheries included in our conversations about food security i know i see lots of my colleagues uh and staff from hello hello um from hyzera repeat um from coastal communities and we need to see common cause between fisheries and farming communities and it's exciting that frank's able to bring this to us so that's the lineup it's an all-star lineup and so what we're going to do is we're going to ask winton to kick off and frame the big picture he's going to turn it on over to christina and each is going to take about five minutes to run down their their areas for us giving us really critically needed information then we'll open it up to your questions um so with that i'm going to kick it over to winton to frame us and and get us started and focused thank you senator conference and thank you to the whole food system caucus for for planning this briefing and for including me um winton just unmute i have unmuted yes you can't hear me yes aaron can hear me so i'm gonna keep going okay we can hear it um so issues about food access quickly came to the fore for for everyone in the state in march um and this was expressed in terms of physical access uh in the form of restaurants and institutions with food services shutting down people having to suddenly shift from eating 50 of their meals at home to 100 schools shutting down which meant that families of hundreds of thousands of kids who rely on school meals suddenly were without that resource shortages in some food items due to hoarding and breakdowns in the supply chain stores farmers markets and other retail spaces being physically unsafe for seniors and others with compromised immune systems so they had to find other ways to physically access food and public transportation being limited so people who live in communities with limited retail and who don't have their own transportation were in a very real sense cut off from access to food it was also expressed in terms of economic access to food as people lost their income more people became dependent upon an emergency food system that was already stretched then and on state and federal benefit programs that helped close the gap between income and the cost of basic needs and it was expressed in terms of the uncertainty for food producers about access to markets farmers and fishermen and food processors in massachusetts rely on being able to sell much of what they produce to wholesale markets restaurants and institutions but that was thrown into disarray not just for products already produced but this happened at a time when farmers who rely on market certainty in order to survive we're trying to plan their crops for this year and black communities and other communities of color which have already been underserved by the food system for generations have again been hit the hardest by all of these challenges not just in terms of access to food but also in terms of job losses transportation challenges and health care inequities the state's response to all these challenges was understandably a patchwork of disconnected efforts at first some good immediate relief in terms of expediting services and developing regulations but also some real challenges around consistency and scale to meet the very sudden needs in late april the administration launched the food security task force which was an effort to better coordinate those efforts and also to generate ideas for what more was needed and the task force was made up of representatives of state agencies as well as stakeholders and service providers from throughout the food system and throughout the state and you've probably seen all the top-line outcomes from that task force there's been lots of press releases uh the 36 million dollar food security infrastructure grant program additional vendors and funding for the healthy incentives program the online exchange to help connect massachusetts food producers with buyers and other investments and what also came out of it was the beginnings of a conversation about how the state can intervene in food access in ways that get at the root causes of these challenges rather than relying on the patchwork and charity models and i say the beginnings of the conversation because there's still a lot more to do both to address immediate needs as well as to ensure long-term sustainability throughout the food system at the same time community-based organizations and other stakeholders have stepped up with some incredibly innovative responses to food access challenges in the form of both practical on the ground programs and projects as well as advocacy in terms of the need for greater investment and more responsive policy from the state and what we've learned is how reliant we are on the food local food system and how much better it can adapt in the face of sudden crises because of its reasonable scale and because of its connection to the communities that it serves and the speakers today are going to talk about these on the ground efforts and crucially what make what these efforts tell us about policy what policy changes are needed to make the local food system more resilient i'm going to emphasize that word resilient we're responding to a very specific crisis right now one that needs particular tools and resources in a very immediate sense and the next crisis will be different and we'll need different tools so what we have to take away from this current situation is how do we strengthen the local food system and that includes everyone from the producers of food to the people who eat it in ways that make it better able to withstand the next big set of challenges it's faced with whatever that may be and part of that is absolutely in the form of strengthening programs like hip increasing farmland protection regulating food waste better ensuring that we're making better use of all the federal programs that are available to residents in need but it also means integrating local food system needs in all of the important work that the legislature does climate change transportation health care all the big issues and big efforts that you're tackling right now not only impact the food system but can also be better if food system stakeholders and their considerations are at the table in your discussions so with that i'm going to turn it over to christina thank you minton thank you all for being here today thank you senator comerford for the invitation i'm really glad to have the opportunity to speak with all of you so as winton indicated and as and i'm sure you all either know or can imagine the emergency food system was hit hard right at the beginning of the pandemic within a day of the state essentially shutting down we were seeing massive numbers of people coming to our agencies across the state uh 64 more people have sought food assistance between march and now as ha as did at the same time period last year so it's been a really significant increase that we've all had to face feeding america is now estimating that one in seven people in massachusetts is going to be food insecure this year which is up more than 50 percent over last year so the need became very apparent very quickly and it was very large our agencies there are about a thousand emergency food agencies across the state those are food pantries and meal sites they had to pivot very quickly in order to be able to get large quantities of food out to the people who needed it and to do it in a way that was safe for themselves and their volunteers and their staff in many cases they lost most of their volunteers because many of the volunteers tend to be elderly and were more at risk for kovids so very understandably they chose to stay home many of our agencies started doing their distributions outdoors which required a whole change in the logistics of how they operate but they did a great job of that they did that very quickly and they have been able to serve people as they're coming at the food bank of western massachusetts we also do snap outreach and enrollment and we saw our snap applications increase by 213 percent right away that then decreased a little bit and has stayed stayed somewhat flat uh but that put a real strain on our our staff um at the outset we also were facing supply chain disruptions and getting enough food in the door and we were also having a big challenge getting ppe and hand sanitizer both for ourselves our own staff and for our agencies so what kinds of successes did we see i will never say that we're able to fully meet the need because we've never been able to fully meet the need of everyone in the commonwealth who faces hunger but we have largely been able to rise to the occasion and distribute 57 percent more food across the state than we did last year this was due in part due to some really major investments by this date we received some pre-packed boxes from nema that were incredibly helpful to us the legislature of course included an additional nine million dollars in me fab funding in the sub budget in august we have not seen that money yet but we're very much looking forward to getting it that will be incredibly helpful for us and there were some federal programs too that really helped people out quite a lot and that helped to prevent some people from needing to come to the emergency food system to get food so the stimulus checks that people got the enhanced unemployment benefits pandemic ebt there were flexibilities around the distribution of school and summer meals and all of those programs were very very helpful to individuals and families in need and therefore to the food banks and our member agencies we would have been much worse off without all of those interventions another one of the big successes i would say the the silver linings that have come out of this period of time is that the food bank coalition the four food banks across the state as well as project brad the mass law reform institute and municipalities and state partners have really worked very closely together through this time and have really been able to coalesce around a few specific ideas and and uh efforts that we needed to move forward so i think that um that conversation has been very very fruitful so planning uh moving forward right now what we're looking at in the in the short to medium term is planning for winter most of our agencies are going to need to continue to do their distributions outdoors and snow brings a whole other level of logistical needs so we're helping our agencies work on that we're planning for the holidays which is a time of major increase in the number of people that we see every year and we really have no idea what to anticipate this year and what that's going to be like we are continuing to face some challenges sourcing food nowhere near the challenges that we were early on but um donations of food and federal sources of food are a little bit uncertain right now and so for the food banks nifap is becoming an increasingly important part of the food uh inventory that we have on stock and that we're able to count on for the future um and i'll just finish by saying that one of the things that we really worry about right now in addition to those short-term things are the people who we aren't seeing the people who may be needing help and don't know how to get it aren't sure where to turn don't know who to call there have been a lot of programs to try to increase the efforts of outreach project bread does a fantastic job with their hotline all the food banks put out information we're working with the media with the state to try to get that word out but i know that there are a lot of people who aren't coming to us who need to be they might be facing immigration challenges there might be language barriers there are all sorts of situations but those are the people that i worry about right now because i know they're out there and we need to find them so i thank you very much for having me today i really appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and i believe now i'm turning it over to phil corman from csa and thank you christina and thanks for underscoring me fab both the me fab that you haven't gotten but was in the sup and the me fab coming up and thank you to all the house and senate colleagues who are here you know this is a perfectly timed uh briefing in a sense as we are having budget meetings currently right um and we should and can foreground those of us who want to make this a priority uh mifap and hip and other food security programs okay thank you thanks so much i really appreciate being part of this and seeing so many familiar pla uh folks that uh often i only see as i walk through on ag day so it's great to see you all in one place um so sisa is one of the nine buy locals uh all independent nonprofit groups and we cover every acre of massachusetts and probably work with about 800 different farms throughout the commonwealth and when covid hit in mid-march and the governor declared the pandemic effectively here that as whit en had mentioned already restaurants closed the college is closed the public schools close the winter farmers markets close sugar houses close dear to winton's heart and my heart and that meant that farmers who did have items to sell no longer had a consumer base they didn't have it locally they didn't have it statewide and they didn't have it nationally and as a result um there was a total scramble about how to reinvent one's business in mid-march we walked through with a number of farm businesses that did reinvent we were able to provide resources literally grant money so that they could set up websites buy delivery trucks and start delivering food to homes we had two home delivery farm service programs that were run by individual farms that literally were delivering to 1500 farms this at times was the only person these people were seeing that has totally leveled off now that people are a little more comfortable going back to supermarkets and that farm stands are an outdoor place to shop and farmers markets are back um also at sea so we totally pivoted in with our partnership with the franklin county cdc uh we personally raised 90 000 in the community and we did no interest loans we have a pot of money we have together as two organizations of four hundred thousand dollars and we've already done no interest loans to 17 farms totaling 272 thousand dollars we'll turn around and probably do that again in a month what's kind of amazing about this year is you know it's a normal year for farming so that means like what's going wrong we have a drought but then on top of that you have a pandemic and that drought has had an impact independent of the pandemic it's affected the strawberry season it's affected the ability of dairy farms to grow hay because there was less water and they needed to bring in hay so costs have increased and then costs have increased in terms of working safely on farms with my legislators shout out to representative clay and senator cumberford we were able to get free testing for anyone who worked on a farm at the big e somehow supermarket workers were considered essential but not people who worked on farms who were growing the food and we also worked with other organizations in franklin county to provide a broad purchasing of protective equipment um we've been really concerned that again the people who have the least ability to suffer are the ones who have suffered the most whether it's people who are farm workers who are taking vans together driving up to a farm and living in closer quarters to be gaining farmers who are just starting out so we've tried to be there for those folks um i will say that demand for local food seems to be up statewide and it does remind me of the recession in 2008 where that happened also where people maybe had less resources but they weren't traveling and so they were putting more resources into what they were buying and what they were bringing into their houses and cooking more and doing more of that and i will say that other farms are struggling like if you sell wholesale that has been a struggle for lots of different reasons and with the winter coming up i have no idea how winter farmers markets are going to open in part because some of them have been physically located in senior centers and public schools and that will be challenging to open up in those places so i would say uh my big thank you to the legislature and to this caucus was for the 36 million that we all pulled out of the food security infrastructure grants uh for funding the buy locals this year which was not a given so that we're able to help every farm who wants to sell direct to their neighbors to be able to do it throughout the commonwealth and for funding hip at a higher level which we need to increase again and also including more farmer vendors to make sure that every community in massachusetts is able to use that additional benefit that comes with getting snap which is getting 40 minimum of local produce from a local farmer vendor i'd say moving forward our concerns are how do we maintain this increased interest in local food that did disappear 10 years ago after the recession so if we're lucky enough to see ourselves moving out of the pandemic over the next 12 months how do we remind people who was there to feed them and where that food came from how we're going to help farms assess their options for next year how much should they plant what should their marketing decisions be i also already mentioned the winter markets how are they going to open spring summer markets are challenged because less vendors and less shoppers for safety reasons and i am concerned about how overwhelmed the bureaucracy has been with the food security infrastructure grants the round three just got announced maybe a week or two ago that took nine weeks from when the proposals came in for them to announce it and i do not see them finishing out apportioning the 36 million dollars before mid-november and the reason that's a challenge is you have farms and other businesses that got bids and those bid prices will not stay the same and a lot of those businesses need to know are they upping food capacity come winter or not so um i have concerns about that i'd say also moving forward i hope we continue with this program somehow some way even if it's not at 36 million dollars because 1300 applications came in maybe they're going to be able to fund 300 out of the 1300 which leaves a thousand applications on the floor i hope that hip gets the funding it needs moving forward i hope it can can be year round and then i'm also aware that there are smaller programs and cesa has one of these that depended on earmarks in the past and i'm not sure we'll see it this year and we have a senior farm share of the program that feeds low-income elders in the three counties and we're paying local farms to grow that food and to give that slice of the summer harvest so i'll stop there thank you so much for having me thanks phil um thanks for wrestling with the challenges uh of this time we appreciate it so much um and i saw senator tarr uh hop on and i want to thank senator char for his leadership uh he's been on for a while but i wanted to thank you uh senator char for your leadership of bringing fisheries uh to the senate side and elevating that issue for us um which you've done so beautifully and with that i'm going to welcome frank um to speak with us welcome frank we're so happy you're here thank you senator conrad i appreciate the opportunity to speak to you uh i'm new to the game uh i spent most of my life figuring out how to get fish out of the ocean i never really thought of them as food i just thought it was we were hunters you know so fish was what we hunted and we was very happy with a successful catch so what i'm going to provide you here is a little bit different perspective it goes back to the beginnings of when i fished how the system has changed and how those changes in the system have changed the way that we perceive fish not only now as a hunted prey but as a source of food so i'm going to give you a little bit of uh background with the technical jargon uh forgive me a bit there's just so much of it fishing is a really complicated business it didn't used to be bit it's become so um i'm a ground fish fisherman ground fish species comprise cod haddock pollock cake redfish and four different flatfish species those are subdivided into regional stocks my first experiences with commercial fishing began in 1962 when uh we were basically players in a large worldwide fishery that took place on fire shores with vessels from the ussr germany poland and spain fishing alongside us by the 1970s an international movement had begun expanding territorial jurisdictions you may or may not remember the card war between the united kingdom and iceland that took place in those days in 1976 us congress enacted the magnus and stevens act which declared a 200 nautical mile fisheries jurisdiction for the united states and during that year and succeeding years many other nations did the same the uh advent of the uh extended jurisdiction and the opportunities that presented plus powerful subsidies and taxes that have uh precipitated a wave of new vessel construction in the united states by the early 1980s there were over 1 000 u.s vessels pursuing ground fish ground fish landings grew from 80 000 metric tons to over 160 thousand metric tons however while landings grew catch rates declined because of increased effort by 1990 catches had declined to 50 000 metric tons by 1992 a lawsuit filed by the conservation law foundation was settled which required the national marine fisheries service the federal regulatory agency to end overfishing and to rebuild over fish stocks work began on a plan which was known as amendment five that froze permits at the current levels at about 1 200 and set a five to seven year timeline to rebuild depleted stocks by setting time limits called days at sea that each official could each vessel could fish annually by 2008 days at sea had been reduced from an initial 88 to as few as 30 disputes raised as to whether this approach was effective in 2008 the entity charged with fishery policy development the new england fishery management council adopted a new system of quota management which was to roll out in 2010. this new system created sectors sectors what i'm here to talk about today under this system each of about 1 200 qualifying permit holders received a prorated share of each of the 19 stocks of ground fish based on their initial contribution to the aggregate cash during a baseline period under this system each permit holder may opt into joining a sector there are now about 15 active sectors in the new england region those not wishing to join may fish in what is known as the common pool which retains some of the attributes of the earlier days at sea system 98 percent of ground fish landings are made by sector-affiliated vessels in a sector a fisherman may opt to fish their quarter allocations or may lease them to another sector affiliated fishermen each sector employs a sector manager who is responsible for accurate reporting of catches management of quota um and to procure trades of quota from within their sector from or from any other sector in the system since about 2003 fewer sector bezels are choosing to fish their quota some are now enacted from wall fishing while others pursue fisheries such as lobsters for many the revenue from leasing quarter has become an important source of revenue to their sustaining their lifestyle as the fleet demographic ages and there are very few new entrants quarter lease revenue has become a source of retirement income for fishermen each year national marine fisheries service sets annual catch limits for each managed stock there is these are established to prevent overfishing and were applicable to rebuild overfishing stocks in 2012 there was a drastic reduction in the gulf of maine pride allocations this plus reductions in other stocks totally disrupted the sector business model with catches and subsequent revenue revenues declining to a point where it threatens sustainability these pressures have taken their toll to where today only an estimated 120 active vessels fished for grantfish out of the original 1200 qualifiers however the draconian limits imposed by nymphs have had a beneficial effect on stock condition almost all stocks with a notable exception of cod are rebuilt some stocks particularly redfishing hat are levels not seen in decades with so few vessels fishing in with market demand contracted by restaurants and food service closures we have added a new era of under fishing for example during the 2019 fishing year which is may 1st 2019 through april 30 2020 we caught only 43 percent of the available gulf of maine haddock 45 of the redfish and 8 percent of the pollock accumulatively by a very rough estimate we are leaving 30 million pounds of fish uncaught annually i am treasurer of northeast fisheries sector 12. this is a very small sector with five boats and eighteen fishing permits mostly located in scituate in 2019 we landed 450 000 pounds of ground fish amongst our five vessels uh fish prices which were weak due to the market dominance of imports collapsed with the two with the covet 19 pandemic there were two drivers first the loss of the restaurant and food service sectors and secondly the loss of processing capacity due to business closures we had already begun to address the paradox of catching more fish but at lower prices often prices which didn't cover costs before the coming crisis we had established a non-profit corporation and begun a partnership with mullany's fish market a long-established social business to process catches in scituate and to establish a local brand to distinguish our catches from generic often imported products we had already begun donating fish for local charitable organizations to help a community which has always been supportive of its fishermen the pandemic has strengthened our resolve we now intend to use the non-profit to purchase a portion of catches which we will be donating to the scituate food pantry we will be processing these at the scituate facility and converting them into consumer ready portions we are also working with the scituate public schools to provide local fish for their lunch programs we are fortunate to have several younger fishermen who will be able to carry these programs onward we have also applied for four food security infrastructure grants this one mentioned earlier and in aggregate the fishing industry in massachusetts that i know of has applied for 45 grand mostly through the massachusetts fisherman's partnership we are anxious to convert the bounty of fish near our home ports into a resource that improves food security for all our members and we think that we are developing a program which is a constructive approach to achieving that end thank you thank you frank um i know as someone who doesn't know enough about fisheries in the commonwealth i'm really grateful for that overview that you provided us in addition to telling us where you are right now deeply grateful for i appreciate the opportunity thank you we appreciate you uh being here um and i'm sure there'll be questions i'm going to turn it over to aaron and then wynton will bring us home thank you aaron thank you senator and um winston and christina did a really excellent job laying um situation out so i'm going to really try not to uh share anything that's already been shared um as you shared senator project brad is a statewide anti-hair organization connecting people and communities in our state to reliable versus food while also advocating for policies that make food more accessible we run the statewide food source hotline that helps callers identify different food resources that are available in 180 languages confidential line we work with the department of elementary and secondary education in operating the child nutrition outreach program and with them right now we're supporting meal sites across the state that are providing school meals we have a healthcare partnership program where we work with health centers um and receive referrals for um from them of their food and secure patients and we lead on advocacy work we are so grateful for the legislature's support for for these programs this week outlined in the cloud nutrition program um so christina shared some of the data um around food insecurity you know those numbers translate into over a million people in massachusetts who are right now facing food insecurity we still have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country we are the sixth highest and we know that the population's most impacted by this are workers in low-wage public-facing jobs with fluctuating hours like retail and food service we also know that when you peel the numbers back there are certain groups that are more disproportionately impacted by food insecurity one of those groups is children um we one in five households with children right now are food insecure and we also know it's concentrated in latinx and black communities where those rates are doubled for households with children so this is a real crisis i share christina's and echo her concerns that we might not be reaching um all of these individuals like the food banks we've seen a huge surge we've seen um six times that the volume of false project breakthrough hotline from um summer of last year to summer of this year so i'm going to update you on some of the work that we've been doing specifically around the federal nutrition program so as you know before the crisis um kids received school meals at school those who either received free or reduced price received it as part of their school day right now we are operating under universal school meals right now any kid in massachusetts 0 to 18 not just school age 0 to 18 is able to access meals at school meal sites across the state in the spring we set up 1600 sites and at peak they were serving about 150 000 kids a day these sites had to operate entirely new distribution models they had to figure out how to do deliveries how to do to go um and they brought in 42 million dollars in federal funds so these have been a critical critical resource the flexibilities that allowed these school meal sites operate were extended um in august and um we are now advocating for them to be extended through the entire school year project bread is sending out promotional materials to these sites signage scripts for robocalls um and we're also giving out grants to support their operations many have never provided to go food so even simple um purchases like to go bags have been essential some concerns we have or one we need to keep getting the word out a lot of families are not going to these sites um a lot of families we hear feel like they shouldn't they worry that they're taking something away from another family that is not the case these are the school meals their kids would be eating anyways so we want to get as many families to go to these full meal sites as possible um it's a program that can and should flex so as we're seeing um as christina mentioned the strain on on the food pantries we absolutely should be sending folks to these full meal sites we also need to continue to advocate for congress to spend these papers and the meals they frankly need funding the legislature included five million dollars in supplemental budget that is still held up in a f and then a lot of grant um schools have applied for grants from that food security task force funding which they also have not received yet so they they can't make those investments until they have some um security that they're going to receive those funding but from you if you could just send as many folks as possible to these sites um help raise awareness about them project has a map on its website and also if anyone calls our food source outline we can upgrade information we also have extended the federal government has approved the extension of pandemic ebt which provides an electronic card with the value of school meals on it this has been provided to a half a million kids in massachusetts we know from research this has significantly reduced food food insecurity for the families that have received it last week the president signed an extension of this program um there's a whole lot of confusion it's a brand new program it was launched in the midst of this crisis um so if folks have questions about it they can call project words hotline for working closely with the department of transitional assistance and the one thing i would say is this is in addition to school meal sites so um i think there's sometimes a misconception that if you get pbt you cannot go to the meal sites but families should do books if they are facing security absolutely use the pebt card at the grocery store but still go to um the school meal site under snap um the good news is significant barriers have been eliminated less paperwork to submit less views um as part of this we've seen a huge increase there's a 400 increase in application snap as well as asdc and eadc um now although that speaks to you know economic implications um this program is supposed to be intended to increase in a downturn it has the ability to scale um and right now the folks that were receiving the 600 in unemployment assistance that expired at the end of july we are trying to reach them um to make sure that they know that snap can help fill a critical gap so we want to continue to push people to it um the federal government has approved the maximal allowable amount so for a family of four that's 646 a month snap can now be used for home delivered groceries we received that approval several months ago um so snap is a critical critical lifeline snap also makes you automatically eligible for pedt so um pbt with and whatnot so we really want to encourage all of you to continue to tell your constituents to consider applying our food hotline is confidential 180 languages so um we know there's a lot of folks that are scared um to the individuals who are immigrants who are just concerned about even applying so we encourage um if you are on the phone with any of them to call project bread's food first hotline we can do a confidential free screening and if they are ineligible we can also refer them to other resources school meal sites are no questions asked no identification required um and finally we are on snap continuing push for an increase unfortunately the benefit right now um although it's been maximized it has not been maximized for families that already receive the maximum benefit so a lot of those families are running out of small benefits in the second or third week of the month and then turning to the food pantries what we really want we need is for those benefits to be extended and right now the congress has now passed twice the increase now by 15 it's sitting on the us senate and it's it's held up in those negotiations that apparently have stalled um as of yesterday so we will continue pushing hard for that because it's critical um finally project bread in you know responsible of this we have been launching an awareness campaign because we are worried there are a lot of people out there that are not applying for these programs for healthcare partnership work we can see that 50 of the patients that we're working with at these health centers who are identified by their physicians as being food insecure have never applied for snap so we really need to get the resources and the information out there about these programs we're doing digital advertising on facebook and whatsapp we have some um mailings to homes um we are have billboards going up we're doing everything we possibly can to just raise awareness about these programs we're also doing a survey of 3000 households around barriers for stamp participation just so we know what they you know we know what they've historically been but also in the midst of this crisis so where we could use your help is continue to promote project fred's food source hotline as a place that people can call um and then the continued advocacy you know on the state level to release those critical funds that from both the stuff budget and also from the task force fund and continue to partner with us on advocacy the legislature has been incredible and signed on letters to its newspapers and we really need the federal government to move soon on um so thank you thank you so much erin um i uh rep farley bouvier has just typed a question winton's going to bring us on home then we're going to get your questions and comments i feel like all of you provided such a high level needed look into your sectors i'm deeply grateful and with a lot of takeaways for us so winton why don't you wrap up and then we'll get to questions like the one texted here by uh rep father bouvier so i i just i have to i can't let the moment go by without just remarking on how lucky i am to be working with such incredible colleagues um doing such important work around the state and and uh it's hard to wrap all that up and bonus points to the fact that none of the speakers use the words pivot or disrupt which i think we're all really tired of hearing particularly in reference to the food system so some some some highlights of what we heard definitely the need for more funding for programs like nefap and hip um and to make sure not only that that funding passes the legislature but that that funding actually gets out the door to where it's needed after it passes um talk about the need for support for better communication about available programs particularly federal programs like snap to help ensure that people who are in need of help that aren't receiving services currently get that access we talked about the infrastructure grants i'll add that there were 1300 applications for those infrastructure grants more than any other state grant program ever and that that indicates the need for more of that kind of support and also for faster turnaround on the responses for that report to to help the farmers and other food system businesses that really need that funding and also about the state needing to champion local food um so that we don't see the same kind of of drop off in interest as as phil talked about um after the recession um and helping to stabilize markets through regulations and incentives that aim to do that so i would add that the the advocacy world around food access in massachusetts has really transformed in the last 10 years or so agriculture groups are talking about food access and wanting to make sure that they're feeding their communities equitably food security organizations are connecting with agriculture recognizing the value of those connections with the local economy and of having that access to nutritious food health care advocates are more aware of food as medicine interventions than they ever were before and there's other important collaborations happening throughout the food system and the the food system caucus has done that same kind of systems thinking in the legislature and connecting those dots is really essential to shaping a sustainable equitable and resilient food system so thank you all for your leadership in doing so thank you wynton for bringing this home uh rep farley bouvier asks uh and i think this is for everyone can you share your latest round of graphics so project bread and the food banks and the buy locals the fisheries if you send them to our team we'll make sure that the food system caucus gets it out uh gets out a big tranche of good educational stuff um information for the legislature thank you um anybody else just either raise your hand using the little reaction or raise your thumb i think we can do um or type in that you'd like to ask a question and senator i just want to add too to um meet thappenhip funding also for child nutrition outreach program and food source hotline are also both the funding i already allocated to release it but funding to handle the surge as well thank you i didn't want to miss out on that i appreciate it um questions or comments if i don't see you simply unmute and ask i'm looking anybody have a question or comment that you would like to share senator camerford yes mike brady how are you senator brady thanks for this i will i will say um this the the meals at all the schools in my district have been working out fantastically uh helping out a lot of families in in the the network and the word getting out especially in the different languages from the diverse communities that we represent has been working out and i want to thank everybody on on the panel it's it's been working out tremendously but as we know the restaurant industry is suffering and i know we're trying to come up with some legislation to help that and expand on that because as we know um quite a few businesses and small businesses in the restaurant industry are going to be they're coming and closing as we speak and they're there there's future projections that they may be closing and i don't know if there's any ideas from the panel that you would give to us to think what we can do to move forward with that the other thing is because of lack of rain i know that the blueberry industry and even the cranberry industry may be affected of that because we've had such a dry season this past summer so and ideas on on those industries if anyone has anything please thank you thank you senator brady anybody want to talk about the connection between the restaurant industry and your efforts or blueberries cranberries i'll just say about blueberries i mean bottom line is some farms have access to water and irrigation and it adds an hour to the day to do it i think there's no way to make it rain more than it is and i think though what can help again and and the state department of ag resources did suggest that if people wanted to include in their food security grants um a response to the drought but that was sort of late in the game so i think we do have to expect that we're going to have years now of drought and years where it just rains every day for six months and we're going to have to figure out how do we carry those water sources if you're not near a river or you don't have a functioning well and i think it is appropriate for the state to be providing resources to help farms adjust to that in terms of restaurants i'm deeply concerned and for us you know our farms depend on restaurants to be buying and we depend on the restaurants that serve the best freshest local ingredients which are from local farms and i'm very concerned about them getting through the winter we've seen some local towns do fundraising in certain parts of western massachusetts that has been somewhat successful and have provided you know to 40 restaurants or 30 small businesses two to four thousand dollars which will carry them two more weeks but with the winner coming i think it it's going to be very very challenging this is erin i um i don't have a great answer i i we there is legislation pending at the federal level to allow snap recipients to use their benefits at restaurants which obviously i think would be critical knowing the numbers of people on snap but um it's very concerning we are as an organization doing targeted outreach to the restaurant industry just to make sure the workers themselves are being supported and know about snap and are applying for snap but um there isn't always a clear connection for how we can um connect the restaurants themselves to school meal programs as an example i think the best opportunity is to allow beneficiaries to be able to use their benefits at restaurants and sure i know congressman mcgovern um has been championing that at the federal level yeah and i know that some of the because of the the the coronavirus there was some federal dollars that came into the commonwealth to help the restaurant industry but it was limited and it went it was gone as soon as it got here and i know we're kind of all of us on a wait and see with what's going to happen with the federal government on a wide range of financial issues not just this the food industry but you know a mortgage help rental health etc and it's in it's a very difficult situation for all of us because the wait and see so i know we're all trying to do what we can at the state level in the meantime but um any ideas that you have moving forward please don't hesitate to contact any of us so we can try to do what we can here in the commonwealth and try to take care of ourselves the best we can without just waiting for the federal government to come up with a decision at the end you know thank you senator um agree we can't wait for the federal government we've had a number of questions about what's going to be available in the winter in terms of food support so um you know phil you talked about not being sure about farmers winter farmers markets folks are interested in you know what you're thinking about uh the pop-ups especially those focused in food deserts if we expect those to continue um and there's a number of folks asking again for more resources the links that they can send out to their communities about where the meal sites will be especially in the winter months where the food pickups will be what food banks have to offer things like that um so i'll just quickly say for winter farmers markets that you know in some cases if you're outside like a restaurant you're going to have to provide heating to some degree so people can come and shop t ere and i know that there have been some requests made through the food security infrastructure grants but again i'm worried they're not going to find out until mid-november or later and that is too late in terms of a market manager deciding whether to open or not so um and i and i hope it doesn't go as challenging as as it did for local boards of health which are really important to make sure that people are safe but now we have a little bit of experience around people buying food in indoor spaces so i hope that won't be as big a lift i would just continue to push project brad in the food source hotline we have a cova 19 resource page but the food source hotline is also the most up-to-date information we know which school meal sites are open which days we have a map for that but we also are in touch with all of the hip providers we keep that information so we know which farmers markets are still open um and in touch with the food pantries as well so we really try to keep that information because it does change um pretty pretty often so um rather than trying to share with you all of the changes that might happen i would continue to push that out to your constituents who um in that moment might need what's up today thank you aaron and we'll get the we'll get the most recent graphics that you all have out to the legislature um senator tarr thank you senator i was just uh just trying to find the unmute button but um thanks to you and to to representative kane to all of the leadership of this particular caucus i think it's critically important to have the discussion that's being had here today i appreciate the updates that have been given i think they're very important to our consideration about how to strengthen the security of the food network certainly uh we're going to face some challenges but it's good to go into those knowing what's going on and i particularly want to thank frank for his outstanding overview of what the fishing industry has been going through over the last uh few decades the point that i wanted to seize upon however is that we are in a real turning point for the commercial fishing industry in massachusetts because as you heard frank indicate we have a lot of underexploited food fish species that we could be doing better with but what's changing is we're losing our traditional markets in massachusetts a lot of the fish that is caught fresh usually would wind up on a white tablecloth in a restaurant and those opportunities have diminished significantly and so what we're all working on is really going instructions one is trying to make uh open more marketing channels directly to the consumer with a consumer friendly but higher-end product that they might be interested in that they have not necessarily had access to in the past but the second one is the one that i just wanted to mention briefly here and that is because of the cares act we've come upon a program uh from the government department of agriculture where we can essentially tell them we would like them to buy some food product uh from the fishing industry and others for that matter but for the purposes of this discussion i'll focus on the fishing industry and so we're working to build a case to usda to say we need to buy some more fish for distribution to institutions and of course that's where the nexus is with the many of the people that are on this tall because we love to be able to work together to talk about what are the characteristics of that fish product that would be usable uh for our food banks and our food pantries and and what we've heard early on is that the product has to be in a ready to heat and serve kind of fashion we can't really be sending uh you know large quantities of freshly cut cod fish to the local food pantry because there isn't the capability to process it so we understand that it needs to be something that is in a much more processed form and there are a lot of processors working to stand up that capacity as we speak but what we'd like to do is continue to have the karma's in the future about how to take those species that frank mentioned and congruent into a fresh really nutritious and really beneficial food product that can go to people in massachusetts that was caught by people in massachusetts and processed in our state hopefully we can make the case to get the federal government to provide resources to make that happen so i just throw it out here this is a real turning point for the commercial fishing industry we think that even though we've got a lot of challenges there's tremendous potential to reopen channels to consumers rather than having them rely on imported fish which all too often isn't the case over the last you know a couple of you know 20 years or so a couple of decades so i'll leave it at that but i just wanted to put it on everyone's radar screen thank you so much senator tarr and thank you for your leadership along with repeat and many other people um for our fisheries thank you so much and i know rep cain's been in those trenches as well um repeat did you ever did you want to make a statement ask a question yeah if i could just briefly uh just to piggyback on what senator tarr so accurately described as what our needs are for processing fish i do know down here on the outer cape there are two different organizations that are doing just that they have received some grant funding to support it and some of it is just supported through private philanthropy uh one group is buying quahogs or hardshell clams largely that come out of wellfleet harbor processing those into chowder freezing the chowder and it's being distributed to food pantries throughout barnstable county um certainly a program like that with more money could be expanded in a greater way because interestingly enough the shellfish industry has been hit harder at least initially than the fin fish industry because people do cook things like cod and haddock and fluke and flounder at home but there are fewer people that know how to open an oyster or how to cook a clam or or or open a clam and that type of thing so that's been helpful and then there's a group uh in partnership with the mass massachusetts fishing partnership based out of chatham but is doing something similar with haddock and i don't know what the processing is that frank had talked about but the way they're processing it simple also that also becomes fish chowder and is frozen and then those frozen they're like in these boiling bag kind of things all you have to do you can pick them up frozen at your food pantry you put them in boiling water and uh the things thaw out and you have a delicious bowl of nutritionists locally processed locally caught supporting your local fishermen meal that is available for people who are hungry so i think there's probably little models like that going on all along our beautiful massachusetts coastline and to the degree that the state level and the federal level we can support them so they're not dependent upon local philanthropy i think that that would be an important thing to do thank you so much um uh oh christina do you want to make a comment and then i think we have to wrap up okay i just wanted to make a quick comment to the previous two comments by the senators thank you so much um we have been very lucky in western mass to be the beneficiaries of one pallet of haddock chowder that was donated to us from a collective a fisherman i believe on the upper cape um as as sort of a pilot to see how it would go and it flew out the door folks loved it so and i know that that also happened at the other food banks so we've really been talking about could we take some of our mifap funding and put that towards purchasing some of these fish products that you're talking about we would need some additional funding above what we're currently getting in order to do that but we would be very interested in doing that yeah i think that's the program my my my guys at the fisherman's alliance have put together out of chatham well it was delicious oh that's a great way to close this call very heartwarming um thank you so much uh rep dom is urging us on to prioritize thank you mindy uh to prioritize me fap and rep kane is talking about also prioritizing hip which house members have begun that advocacy and thank you so much for that um thank you to the panel i really feel like we've just gotten a big gift and a big boost and a big shove forward to continue the work of food security on behalf of the food systems caucus chairs i want to thank you so much for your service um and thank you also for you really informing us uh for and i see senator gobies hands up clapping um we are going to send out a lot of follow-up information from the food systems caucus please be sure um to uh stay tuned and as always hit us up if we can be useful um and that's reps uh kane schmidt and donahue in the house me and the rock and ann goby and eric lesser in the senate so thank you everybody and be well

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How do you make this information that was not in a digital format a computer-readable document for the user? " "So the question is not only how can you get to an individual from an individual, but how can you get to an individual with a group of individuals. How do you get from one location and say let's go to this location and say let's go to that location. How do you get from, you know, some of the more traditional forms of information that you are used to seeing in a document or other forms. The ability to do that in a digital medium has been a huge challenge. I think we've done it, but there's some work that we have to do on the security side of that. And of course, there's the question of how do you protect it from being read by people that you're not intending to be able to actually read it? " When asked to describe what he means by a "user-centric" approach to security, Bensley responds that "you're still in a situation where you are still talking about a lot of the security that is done by individuals, but we've done a very good job of making it a user-centric process. You're not going to be able to create a document or something on your own that you can give to an individual. You can't just open and copy over and then give it to somebody else. You still have to do the work of the document being created in the first place and the work of the document being delivered in a secure manner."

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What are the steps to take for adding a digital signature to a pdf file? Is this something that you'd need to do in order to make sure no one is stealing your documents? There are a few different ways to add a digital signature to a pdf file. Add a signature to pdf document by following this tutorial. How I added a digital signature to a pdf file: Step-by-step instructions Step 1, make sure you are uploading the file in the correct format. A PDF file is an electronic PDF file which has a document name and file name, and a PDF document is an electronic document. Step 2, copy a piece of information from the body of a paper document into the file name. It can be a name or signature. In this example, we copied the name of the document from the body of the document. The file name is: "" Step 3, paste the file name () into your PDF creator program, such as Adobe Acrobat. Step 4, right click the PDF file, click "Save as" and select your preferred format. In this example, we saved the file to the "" file format using Adobe Acrobat. Note: Do not save the file as a JPG file. Save the file as an AVI file because JPG files have a file name which is a series of characters separated by commas. Therefore, we cannot save the document as an AVI file because this file name is not separated by commas. Step 5, you can also choose a location of your choice for the save location. This is the PDF file saved as Click on the image for the original document. How do I add a signature to...

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A. Yes, you will need an electronic signature (form of digital signature) when signing with this document. Q. Why is this document digital signature? What does that mean? A. Digital signature allows you to verify that the document has not been altered in any way, and also adds additional security to your digital signature. Q. What is an image? A. An image is the graphic in an electronic signature. Q. Why do I need an image to sign with an electronic signature? A. An image is a digital representation of the information in the document that you are signing. Q. Can I sign a document with an image?