This week, local seafood will be distributed and prepared across the North Coast, kicking off a four-month program to increase local access to seafood while providing economic support to local fishermen. DNATL Community Food Council received Fishermen COVID Relief funds from Catch Together, a program of Multiplier, to develop the North Coast Fresh from the Sea Program, a multifaceted approach to address food insecurity and act as a catalyst to establish viable local markets for fishermen. Working collaboratively with Humboldt Food Policy Council and the Yurok Food Sovereignty Division, the program spans the North Coast to provide access to local seafood in food boxes, prepared meals and educational workshops and resources.
"It's surprising how little access we have to fresh, local seafood here on the North Coast. A majority of seafood caught here gets shipped out and then markets and restaurants purchase seafood from national distributors. As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and assess the resilience of our regional food systems, access to local seafood must become a key component of our strategy. This program allows us to provide support to local fishermen while providing our community with nutrient dense, fresh, local protein sources," said Andrea Lanctot, DNATL CFC Food Program coordinator
The complete program aims to provide 29,123 meals to food insecure individuals and families across rural Del Norte and Humboldt counties while providing COVID relief funds to fishermen. The DNATL Community Food Council is working with Pacific Native Fisheries, a Yurok family owned fish business, to purchase salmon, blackcod and lingcod to be distributed through existing food distribution programs and partners. Packaged, frozen fish filets will be distributed to families in need through Pacific Pantry, Del Norte Food Security Task Force Partner programs and Klamath-Trinity Resource Conservation District in Hoopa.
Fish will also go to Del Norte Senior Center and Humboldt Senior Center to be prepared into meals for their Senior Meals on Wheels Program and to St. Vincent De Paul for meals they prepare for the homeless. Supporting access to traditional foods for the Yurok Tribe, a portion of funds will go to support the Yurok Fisheries Tribal Elders Fish program and support a series of workshops led by the Ancestral Guard on the third Sunday of the month on how to harvest other marine foods.
The program includes the Sea to Market project to help local fishermen adapt to selling fish locally. DNATL CFC will provide grant funds to two fishermen to help them obtain their Multi-functioning Fish Business License, allowing them to sell direct to consumer and to other market outlets. Local fishermen can apply online at www.dnatlfood.com by Friday, March 12, for a chance to receive funds to acquire the license and gain support from the DNATL Community Food Council to establish new markets.
The Community Food Council sees the program as the first step in establishing relationships to incorporate local seafood into their strategy of building a vibrant and resilient regional food system. They hope to be included in the next round of Catch Together funding but plan to continue to purchase local seafood past the program for the Pacific Pantry and the launch of their new mobile market. Fishermen interested in applying for the Sea to Market grant funding or being part of future programs should contact Andrea Lanctot, food program coordinator, at email@example.com. Local tribal members interested in attending Ancestral Guard marine food workshops should contact Peter Gensaw, Ancestral Guard cultural director, at 707-496-2655.