Every day, our team at HATCH partners with food banks across the country to build a reliable protein supply chain through the delivery of fresh, nutrient-packed eggs. And yet, the opportunities to connect with our fellow food insecurity fighters in-depth and in-person are often too few and far between.
That’s why we were thrilled to attend Fresh Connect Central’s Food Sourcing Conference, hosted at Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana this month. An agri-food operator, Fresh Connect Central was launched in 2017 as part of Feeding America’s strategy to close the meal gap and support the health and wellness of those facing food insecurity.
Food banks from across the country gathered in Indianapolis for two days of connection, learning and networking opportunities. As a protein connector and partner for Fresh Connect Central, HATCH was excited to be invited and to embrace the opportunity to advocate for protein’s essential role in the fight against food insecurity.
The conference kicked off with a trade show that featured organizations working in various aspects of fighting insecurity. HATCH had our own booth, displaying a special piece of artwork crafted by HATCH’s own, Graham Williams, that depicted the conference’s theme: “Squashing the Hunger Monster!” The HATCH team met with many of our food bank partners, built relationships with new friends in the food space, and shared some of our exciting HATCH growth milestones.
The afternoon was spent hearing from leaders across the food insecurity landscape, including Erika Thiem, Chief Supply Chain Officer of Feeding America, and David Tuckwiller, Deputy Administrator Commodity Procurement with the United States Department of Agriculture. Topics included important statistics on the landscape of food insecurity over the past few years and updates on programs such as TEFAP, LFPA, and more.
HATCH team member Erin McCreadie’s favorite part of the day was getting to do a behind-the-scenes tour of Gleaners and Fresh Connect Central and see where all the food – including HATCH eggs! – is stored and packaged.
“Opportunities like this conference, where people who fight food insecurity every single day can come together and connect with each other, this work and its impact, are especially inspiring,” she says.
Day two kicked off with coffee, bagels, and even more thought leadership and information sharing! Our favorite part of the morning was HATCH Executive Director Danny Leckie speaking to the gathered crowd about the significance of eggs in creating a protein-secure supply chain. Danny also shared some exciting HATCH growth milestones we’ve hit recently and introduced the new cooler donation program, which will kick off in the coming months.
After the conference, Danny and Graham jetted off to Washington D.C. for legislative meetings while the rest of our team headed to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to kick off the first day of practice ahead of the Indianapolis 500!
Engaging in events that bring food banks, nonprofits, government leaders and food industry professionals together is a highlight of our work here at HATCH and an important part of advocating for a sustainable protein supply chain. Thank you to Fresh Connect Central, Feeding America, and Gleaner’s for a wonderful few days filled with learning and connection!