The fishing industry has been among the hardest hit by COVID-19 economic impact, and Catch Together, a program of Multiplier, is providing grant support for California fisheries.
Slow Money San Luis Obispo is seizing the opportunity of grant funding to purchase local fish, process it locally and then direct the fillets to feed the food insecure. Slow Money SLO is a local non-profit that strives to support local food, farm and beverage businesses for greater regional food security, better health and economic growth.
Purchased fish landing in Morro Bay began in March. It is purchased at market rates then processed into fillets at Giovanni’s Fish Market. Grant funds are also used to pay for processing. The fillets are then donated to entities supporting the food insecure, specifically, 40Prado and ECHO homeless shelters and Meals that Connect. Morro Bay Rotary is donating their time to provide delivery service to homeless shelter kitchens serving the prepared meals.
“I appreciate the opportunity to put nature’s bounty onto the plates of the food insecure, while supporting local fishing and fish processing jobs,” said Giovanni DeGarimore, a second-generation owner of Giovanni’s fish market.
“Our markets have declined due to COVID-19 and the opportunity to bring more fish ashore while seeing the results feed those in need, is gratifying,” said Bill Blue, one of the fishermen involved with the program.
The fish recipients appreciate the quality protein meals they can provide. In a typical week of Slow Money SLO purchasing, processing and delivery to the recipient non-profits, about 1500 meals are being served to homebound seniors and homeless shelter clients.
“For the past several years, Catch Together has focused on supporting both sustainable fishing communities and sustainable fisheries,” said Erica Boyce, consultant at Catch Together. “In 2020, we launched our COVID-19 Relief Program and have had the privilege of helping fishermen across the country weather the pandemic and provide meals to families in need in their communities. We are excited to work with Slow Money SLO to expand that program into San Luis Obispo and engage with fisheries in the county and with local non-profits feeding the food insecure.”
This program will wrap up at the end of June, and it is hoped that the economy will be making a rebound by then and local fisheries will continue to recover as well.
“Ideally we can generate an on-going, new revenue channel for local fish and local processing as a result of this program,” said Jeff Wade, executive director of Slow Money SLO. “With the new connections and knowledge of the fisheries industry we are developing, it may allow us to introduce fresh fish to our Farm to School program.”