Jessica Cejnar / Friday, June 18, 2021 @ 4:42 p.m. / Community

Sea to Table Program Serves 25,853 Meals To Needy Families, Provides COVID Relief Dollars to Fishermen


Jonathon Jackson, of Pacific Native Fisheries, delivers fresh fish to the Family Resource of the Redwoods and the DNATL Community Food Council. Photo courtesy of Andrea Lanctot

From a Community Food Council news release:

In the midst of an unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, Del Norte and Tribal Lands Community Food Council (DNATL CFC) launched a 4 month program to connect local fishermen and their fresh catch with those in need of food across the rural North Coast of California. With the support of Fishermen COVID Relief funds from Catch Together, a program of Multiplier, the North Coast Fresh from the Sea Program, spanned the rugged northern California coast to provide access to local seafood in food boxes, prepared meals, and included educational workshops and resources on gathering, processing, and eating seasonal seafood.  The collaboration between DNATL CFC, Humboldt Food Policy Council, and the Yurok Food Sovereignty Division, piloted a multifaceted approach to address food insecurity with local caught seafood while working to establish viable local markets for fishermen.

From February to June, the program provided 25,853 meals to food insecure individuals and families across Del Norte and Humboldt Counties while providing COVID relief funds to fishermen. Pacific Native Fisheries, Story Seafood, and Keyon Hensel supplied fresh fish for the program. Fishmeals were prepared and served by the Del Norte Senior Center, Humboldt Senior Center, Healy Senior Center, St. Vincent De Paul in Eureka, United Indian Health Service Elder Nutrition Program in Smith River, and Blue Lake Rancheria. Packaged, frozen fish filets were distributed to families in need through Pacific Pantry, Mission Possible, Klamath-Trinity Resource Conservation District in Hoopa, Tolowa Dee-Ni Nation, and Food for People. Supporting access to traditional foods for the Yurok Tribe, a portion of funds went to the Yurok Fisheries Tribal Elders Fish program and the Ancestral Guard, who led a series of traditional marine food workshops and distributed traditional marine foods to tribal families.
 
As part of the project, Sea to Market mini-grants went to help two local fishermen adapt to selling fish locally by providing grant funds for obtaining their Multi-functioning Fish Business License. The grantees, Kenyon Hensel and Larry Story, both commercial fishermen for over 30 years, worked with the food council to provide fresh fish while developing other local market outlets.  Larry Story supported other small fishermen by purchasing their catch, processing, and selling for them with the help of his daughter Briana Story. To purchase Story Seafood find them on facebook. To see fishermen profiles and learn more about the project, visit www.dnatlfood.com/fresh-catch
 
The Community Food Council celebrated the program with Taste of the Sea by offering a free fish tasting at the Crescent City Saturday Farmers Market at Crescent City Harbor on Saturday, June 5th. The event allowed community members to taste fresh caught grilled seasonal fish for free and educated them on seafood supply chains, fish species, and the importance of access to local seafood. Participants of the event could then purchase fish tacos to help support the DNATL CFC to continue to purchase local fish for food programs. Jen Schmidt of House of Jambalaya volunteered her time to help Charlie Perry, Pacific Pantry Manager, cook up fish. Schmidt shared their special House of Jambalaya smoke pepper sauce for the tacos. Dorina Espinoza and May Patino of the Humboldt Food Policy Council drove up to help run the event.

Moving forward, the DNATL CFC is looking into further funding to incorporate local seafood into their strategy of building a vibrant and resilient regional food system. They will continue to work with local fishermen to both purchase their catch when possible and support their access to other local markets. For more information about the program, contact Andrea Lanctot, Food Program Coordinator, alanctot@frcredwoods.org or visit www.dnatlfood.com/fresh-catch


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