Earlier this month, The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) convened a meeting of its Board of Directors in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Board members, food bank leaders, and GFN staff united around the shared goal of strengthening and sustaining food banks to feed our local communities.
Below we share a few of the most important highlights from the meeting and how they help us advance a future where everybody has access to food.
Uniting Board Members, Food Bankers, and GFN Staff
One of the most exciting aspects of this year’s Board meeting was that Network food bank members from Peru, Chile, and Paraguay also traveled to Argentina for the meeting, gathering with all of the food banks within the Red Argentina de Bancos de Alimentos network.
Facilitating a shared space where fellow food bank members could discuss challenges, successes, and key learnings around food bank operations and strategic planning was extremely valuable, and all participants—including the Board members—shared they benefitted immensely from these learnings.
The group of South American food banks also held a separate summit outside of the Board meeting where they shared their plans for their future, as well as lessons learned from navigating country-specific economic, social, and political challenges that affected food provision and distribution.
Witnessing Food Banks’ Impact in the Community
Another highlight of this year’s gathering was the group’s visits to several parts of the community that directly benefit from the local food banks.
For example, the group visited an education center that receives food from Argentinian food banks and is used to help feed the nearly 150 children who attend the center. The group helped prepare lunch for the students and assemble food boxes, ensuring that the students had nutritious, filling meals so they could focus on their education. Since an important part of GFN’s work is reducing child hunger and supporting the health and development of children and adolescents through improving consistent access to food, this visit was an excellent opportunity to see that goal come to life.
On the second day, the group had the opportunity to visit a local farm to help harvest vegetables. The farm is part of the local food bank’s agriculture recovery program, which recovers fresh surplus produce to be distributed to communities across the country. It was extremely beneficial to see the ways in which food banks not only facilitate access to food but how they work to reduce food loss and waste in local communities.
Welcoming New Board Leadership and Approving GFN’s New Strategic Plan
During the meeting, we were thrilled to announce new leadership within our Board of Directors: Carol Criner will serve as Board Chair starting in January 2023, and Sachin Gupta will be the new Vice Chair. Both leaders are longtime GFN board members who are devoted to guiding the organization in an impactful and intentional way, and like the rest of our Board members, their leadership is essential to fulfilling our mission.
Our Board also approved our new strategic plan, which maps out how GFN will continue to support new and existing food banks in communities all over the world over the next three years.
We’re proud that this new strategy—to be shared in more detail soon—is deeply informed by our local partners and their community-led work. It’s also informed by our leadership’s decades-long experience alleviating food insecurity and supporting communities’ well-being. Through this strategy, we believe that our work will help more communities know where their next meal is coming from.
Advancing Our Momentum
This month’s board meeting in Buenos Aires was an important reminder of the power of community—whether in Argentina, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, the United States, or in any of the nearly 50 countries in which we work.
Our efforts to alleviate hunger and sustain critical momentum would not be possible without the enthusiastic participation and expertise of our partners, Board members, and GFN staff, and we’re heartened by all the progress made so far and all the progress that is yet to come.