Community Action Marin has announced a partnership with ExtraFood and San Anselmo-based Insalata Restaurant to cook and deliver soup twice a week to about 200 welcome recipients at our ten Children and Family Services childcare centers, as well as to two of our Senior Congregant Meal locations in the county. The Krahlings are owners and chefs at Insalata’s Restaurant in San Anselmo.
Hunger and poor access to healthy food are realities for people of low income in Marin, despite the county’s general affluence. During the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity among the low-income families and communities of color we serve within the county intensified. Our new partnership with ExtraFood and Insalata Restaurant are an example of what we can do together to make healthy, good food accessible.
ExtraFood began operation in 2013 and embraces a mission to end hunger and wasted food in San Francisco, California’s North Bay. The organization uses volunteers and staff drivers to pick up excess fresh food from businesses, schools, and gardens and immediately deliver it to people facing food insecurity. Their staff finds food donations that match their partners’ needs, such as prepared foods, produce, dairy, eggs, meat, bread, packaged goods, and baked goods. And in the case of Community Action Marin, fresh produce for different varieties of soup. The dedicated volunteers at ExtraFood also deliver it where it is needed most, and partner with over 150 local non-profits as their distribution network.
For this new collaboration, Insalata’s Restaurant will source soup ingredients from produce gathered from Community Action Marin’s organic Production Farms, as well as other local growers, and then prepare soup in our Central Kitchen in San Rafael. Our commissary style kitchen contains the cooking and food storage equipment which will facilitate the large volume soup production that will be required for this initiative.
Heidi and Mark Krahling opened Insalata’s Restaurant 26 years ago, with the goal of bringing luscious Mediterranean food to Marin County and have both worked hard to make it a central part of the San Anselmo community. Today, Heidi is the mama-in-residence, guiding her culinary team while Mark ensures that the restaurant’s myriad components run smoothly. Heidi says:
“I love to use my energy and commitment in service to the local community. Food, community, and family have always been the cornerstones of my life.”
That commitment, and those cornerstones is what led Heidi to embark on this passion project with ExtraFood. Soup is a nutritious, comforting meal for so many and one she applies her dedication and expertise to. Today, her restaurant, her food, and her community involvement testify to how these influences have shaped her life.
Explains Community Action Marin Food Justice Manager Betsy Bateson,
“During her two times in the kitchen each week, Heidi is creating unique soups based on whatever vegetables she procured that day. Some of her favorite soup ingredients include mushrooms, onions, celery root, and beans. The kids, staff, and seniors really love the variety. And it’s teaching the kids all about healthy ingredients and meals.”
Will Dittmar, Executive Director of ExtraFood spoke about the origins and importance of this initiative:
“At ExtraFood we believe everyone has a right to the healthy, nutritious food resources they need. Heidi Krahling was one of our founding Board members. This project has been a dream of Heidi’s for some time. Once Heidi identified the community kitchen at Community Action Marin as an ideal food production space, we were able to turn her vision into action. We intend to make this soup available to those who need it most. Prepared meals are a critical resource in meeting food insecurity needs in Marin County.”
If you are not already a partner of ExtraFood and are interested in making these options and others available, be sure to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about Community Action Marin’s Food Justice program on the website.