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News Briefs: AIM gets funds for low-income food access

by Cynthia Laird

AIM CEO Andy Naja-Riese. Photo: Charlie Wagner
AIM CEO Andy Naja-Riese. Photo: Charlie Wagner  

The Agricultural Institute of Marin has received a second year of funding for the California Nutrition Incentive Program, or CNIP.

The nonprofit will receive $122,632.87 over the next year in Market Match funds, which officials said was an increase from the previous year's award.

Market Match supports participants in CalFresh, the state's name for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called the food stamp program. CalFresh participants who use their EBT card at AIM's seven farmers markets are eligible to receive a one-to-one match, up to $10 in Market Match tokens, which can be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

"Access to healthy foods is an important social determinant of health," Andy Naja-Riese, a gay man who's AIM's CEO, said in a news release. "My commitment is to ensure our farmers markets and programs promote community food security, so all people can reach their full health potential. The California Nutrition Incentive Program allows nutrition benefit clients to stretch their purchasing power to buy more fruits and vegetables directly from California farmers."

In the past 12 months, CalFresh participants have purchased nearly $148,000 in EBT tokens to shop at AIM's farmers markets, while receiving $95,000 in Market Match incentives. Over time, AIM has distributed $812,000 in CalFresh benefits since 2010 and $272,000 in Market Match incentives since 2014. Market Match funding is provided through the Ecology Center, a nonprofit organization that oversees the California Market Match Consortium.

AIM has also entered into a partnership with the Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative to increase enrollment and redemption of nutrition benefits and to increase fresh produce to older adults in Marin County. Using an award of $19,000, AIM will lead Diggin' the Market educational tours with older adults who receive Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits, and offer them "bonus bucks" to purchase more produce at AIM's farmers markets.

Naja-Riese, who took over as AIM's CEO earlier this year, was profiled in the Bay Area Reporter's recent Pride issue. The organization manages two farmers markets in San Rafael at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin Civic Center; two in San Francisco on Clement Street and at the Stonestown Shopping Center; and three in the East Bay at the Hayward City Hall Plaza, the NewPark Mall in Newark, and on Lake Park Avenue in Oakland.

It plans to soon launch mobile farmers markets called the Rollin' Root. It is partnering with the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank to provide CalFresh outreach to older adults at Rollin' Root stops.

For more information, visit https://agriculturalinstitute.org/.

LYRIC history walking tour
Interested people can join the young people of the Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center for its Castro History Walking Tour Saturday, August 4. There are two tours, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Jamil Moises, program coordinator for the tour, wrote in an email that it will highlight local LGBTQQ histories written by LYRIC interns, who will also share how their personal stories connect to local queer and trans histories.

The theme of this year's walk is "Visible Resistance."

"Join us as we dive into the unseen histories of the Castro through personal storytelling that weaves together themes of LGBTQ mental health, the Trans March and Youth Elder Brunch, the Dragon Fruit Project, and more," Moises wrote. (The Dragon Fruit Project is an intergenerational oral history project by API Equality Northern California.)

The 1.5-mile walk takes about 90 minutes. It will start at LYRIC, 127 Collingwood Street, and end at Mission Dolores Park. The group will then return to LYRIC for discussion and refreshments.

There is no cost to attend. To RSVP, go to www.tiny.cc/LYRICtour2018.

For more information, contact leadership@lyric.org.

Scott Wiener town hall
Gay state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) will hold a town hall Saturday, August 4, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Village, 1099 Sunnydale Avenue in San Francisco.

Wiener will discuss this year's legislative agenda, and the meeting is a chance for people to ask questions and share their priorities.

For more information or to RSVP, visit www.sen.ca.gov/9627/events or call (415) 557-1300.

Civic Center block party
The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department has announced that a First Sundays Block Party will be at Civic Center, on Fulton Street at Larkin Street, Sunday, August 5, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sponsored by Civic Center Commons, the free family-friendly event will feature recreational activities for all ages, a selection of bar and street food offerings curated by Off the Grid, music and promotional appearances by Bonneville San Francisco KMVQ 99.7 FM, an open-air bazaar, do-it-yourself arts and crafts, and more.

For more information, visit http://www.civiccentercommons.org/attraction/2018-block-party-on-1st-sunday/.

Queer Slam at LGBT center
The San Francisco LGBT Community Center will hold Queer Slam, an event for poets and authors, Thursday, August 9, at 1800 Market Street.

People are invited to stop by for an intergenerational dialogue that will explore storytelling through literary elements and artistic expression, with a focus on diversity and bridging the gap between LGBTQ generations.

The event is free. Doors open at 6 p.m., Queer Slam starts at 6:30.

Participants who want to sign up should visit www.bit.ly//QueerSlamSF. The deadline is August 3.

Family-friendly tech event
Families can attend the Technovation Innovation Celebration and Tech Expo Thursday, August 9, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the California Theater, 352 South First Street in San Jose.

Attendees can complete family-friendly hands-on activities exploring artificial intelligence and machine learning and celebrate a global community of women in technology and business.

People can also talk with local AI experts and researchers and meet young women who are taking part in the 2018 Technovation Challenge finals, a competition that invites teams of girls worldwide to solve real-world problems through technology.

There is no cost to attend. To register, visit http://www.technovationchallenge.org/world-pitch.

Bowl with Stonewall Dems
The East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club will hold its annual Brunch and Bowl event Saturday, August 18, from noon to 2 p.m. at Albany Bowl, 540 San Pablo Avenue.

Organizers said it's a great opportunity for LGBTQ Democrats to join the club, as the $35 new membership fee would include bowling.

Registration is $25 for members or $50 for non-members. Other sponsorship levels are available. Proceeds benefit the club's Campaign for Equality PAC.

To RSVP, contact the club's political action committee chair John Bauters at jbauters@gmail.com or (415) 999-7932, or visit https://secure.actblue.com/donate/2018brunchandbowl.

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