Illuminate Food was founded by Danielle Schwab in April of 2020 with the goal of helping to get more food from local farms to people. Danielle had previously started the blog Illuminate Supply Chains to help educate herself and others about where our food comes from and how to decipher the various labels around food and sustainability. As businesses started to shut down in March, Danielle became concerned about all of the local food that was no longer going to restaurants. In addition to the excess supply of local food, people in her hometown of Maplewood, NJ were going to need fresh food that they could get safely and reliably.
Danielle believes local farms can feed us as long as we shift to seasonal eating. With the help of Zone 7, an NJ distributor who works with small-scale, local farms, Danielle started Illuminate Food as a way to do just that.
The Farm Box
The idea is to use the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) model where each box is the same, as I believe this is the best way to support our farmers and deliver as many boxes as I can.
The box includes around 6-8 seasonal veggies and fruit, milk, eggs, yogurt or cheese, 1-2 specialty goods and fresh bread from Liv Breads in Millburn.
We include customized recipes each week and there is a Facebook group to share recipes and tips with each other.
We also been partner with other local makers and restaurants to support their businesses. For example, I have included a jerk sauce from HLS, pies from Three Daughters Bakery, salt from Saltopia and oats from River Valley Community Grains.
How Does it Work?
The box will be delivered every Wednesday and you can choose the one time box option or sign up for a subscription and get the box weekly or every other week.
What Illuminate Food Means to Me
With a background in global trade and supply chains, I started to learn more about how food is grown and traded all over the world and how not only is it challenging financially to be a farmer, it is also challenging to have access to good quality produce.
When I started to connect the dots about how the food we eat not only effects our health, but also has an environmental impact as well as an impact on communities who grow, harvest, process, distribute and sell it, I had to learn more. I started my website as a way to educate myself because finding answers to where our food comes from is not simple.
This past year has felt like a crash course on food systems. I feel driven to deliver much of what I've concluded to my fellow consumers. I truly believe changing the food system will have many ripple effects and these solutions don't come with new technologies like block chain or hydroponics, but rather in the repair of the relationships to our food. I will be using this platform to connect eaters to producers so that more of us can join in on the local/regional and alternative food systems happening all around us.
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