Building a Healthy Food Retail Environment: Strategies to Improve Food Insecurity
Food insecurity refers to USDA’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. Food-insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time. Food insecurity may reflect a household’s need to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods. According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Map, 22.2% of Baltimore City residents and 12. 4% of Washington DC residents are food insecure. There are programmatic/retail and policy food insecurity solutions. Both programs and policies are needed to address food insecurity but for our ORIGINS discussion tonight, we will focus on a few of the innovative programmatic/retail solutions happening in both DC and Baltimore.
Our panelists are: Holly Freishtat, the Baltimore City Food Policy Director, Casey Dunajick-DeKnight, the Chief Operating Officer for Good Food Markets and Reverend Heber Brown, III, the Pastor at the Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Govans (Baltimore neighborhood) and founder of the Black Church Food Security Network.
Holly uses a multi-sector perspective and engages with many agencies, nonprofits, community groups and stakeholders to dismantle policy barriers, facilitate new partnerships and leverage funding to implement innovative solutions to address food access issues in Baltimore.
Casey joined the Good Food Market team in 2015 and now oversees all the day-to-day operations. Casey will also discuss Oasis Community Partners, the non-profit arm of Good Food Markets that was founded in 2016 with the mission to improve food access and community health in underserved urban food deserts. The inaugural board of directors came together around the opening of Good Food Markets pilot location in early 2015, recognizing the many opportunities to engage Woodridge/Langdon around diet, health and nutrition. Oasis Community Partners strives to improve the health of their community by working with a diverse group of individuals and organizations behind the shared goals of food sovereignty and security.
Reverend Heber Brown, III, launched The Black Church Food Security Network in 2015— a grassroots initiative that empowers black churches to establish a sustainable food system to combat the systemic injustices and disparities that plague black Americans, who, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are sicker and poorer than non-black Americans. The network currently operates at more than 10 congregations in Baltimore, most of which are located in the city’s “food priority areas.” There are also participating churches and farms in D.C., Virginia and North Carolina—and the list is growing.
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