The Future of Food inAsheville & Buncombe County Addressing Poverty, Public Health, Local Commerce and Sustainability through Food Security
Food Security The world health organization defines foodsecurity as existing “when all people at all timeshave access to sufficient, safe nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”
Regional Food Security• 14 of Buncombe County’s 15 ZIP codes contain a foodoutlet of some sort yet 1 out of 6 people in WNCexperience food insecurity• 27% increase in county residents receiving foodassistance in 2010• 50% of students within Buncombe County Schoolsystem were enrolled in the free and reduced lunchprogram during 2009-2010 year, up from 47% theprevious year
Problems associated with Food Insecurity•Impaired mental and physical development inyoung children•Food insecure children are 90% more likely to bein fair or poor health than food secure children•A poorly prepared and uncompetitive work force•Family and personal instability, whereuncertainness over “the next meal” creates aroadblock to dealing with other problems
Causes of Food Insecurity•“Food Deserts”-areas that do not have aconvenient, affordable, healthy food sourcenearby, or full scale grocery store•High prices for healthy food even when it isavailable•Inadequate cooking education and nutritioninformation•Limited public awareness on the necessity andaccessibility of affordable, healthy food•The availability of Local sustainable food to thepopulation
Asheville/Buncombe Food PolicyCouncilMission: will identify and proposeinnovative solutions to improve localfood systems, spurring local economicdevelopment and making food systemsenvironmentally sustainable andsocially just.
Community StakeholdersManna, Children First, Bountiful Cities,Asheville Housing Authority, GreenOpportunities, Mountain HousingOpportunities, Advantage West, MissionHospital, NC Health & Wellness Center,Healthy Buncombe, Office of Heath Shuler,Chamber of Commerce, ASAP
Community StakeholdersAsheville Independent RestaurantAssociation, Pioneering HealthyCommunities, Rainbow in my Tummy, SlowFood Asheville, Council on Aging, JewishCommunity Center, YWCA, ABCCM, WNCA,Transition Asheville, Interfaith Group
Community StakeholdersNC Cooperative Extension, AB-Tech, UNCAsheville, Warren Wilson, Asheville CitySchool Foundation, Land of Sky, JustEconomics, Youth for Empowered Solutions,Women’s Wellbeing Fund, HomewardBound, Mountain Valley ResourceConservation, French Broad FoodCooperative, and many individuals andbusinesses.
Opportunities to a Food Secure communityWe have enormous opportunities regardingour community’s commitment to ensuring astable, healthy, and affordable food supply.Food security encompasses issues ofpoverty, public health, local commerce, andsustainability.
Improving Food security•Local food is a simple, convenient, andpowerful tool to achieve food security•Local food is reliably healthy and beneficialto the economy• Local food increases access andaffordability of fruits and vegetables
Improving food security infrastructure•If the food and farm economy were expanded inWNC an additional $200 to $300 million would bespent on locally sourced food within the region•Expanding could increase employmentopportunities•Local food expansion could address poverty,public health, commerce, and sustainability withinany community or region
Some cities that have passedlocal food policiesBalitmore, Philadelphia, Seattle, SanFrancisco, Bloomington, Cleveland,Milwaukee, Nashville, NYC, Chicago,Portland, Oakland, Minneapolis,Detroit, Providence, Kansas City,Austin, Santa Monica, Denver, AnnArbor, Santa Fe
Potential policies:Planning/Land Use- Identify arable city-owned land and issuean RFP for organic, GMO-free foodproduction, with a focus on Permaculture.-- Modify zoning rules to allow increasedfood production – greenhouses, gardens.- Home-based cottage industries allowancefor small-scale, value-added products.-UDO allowances for innovative methods ofproduction (aquaculture, vertical farming,rooftop gardens, etc.). - Identify barriers to food production inresidential neighborhoods and seekremedies.
Potential Policies:Parks, Recreation-Utilize parks to grow food and havecommunity programming regarding health,nutrition, and gardening.- Edible and medicinal landscaping in allpublic parks and rights of way.- Partnership with gleaning organizations todistribute produce from edible trees, plantsin parks and rights of way.- Liability waiver for volunteers helping totend food production in parks. Make it easierfor grassroots efforts to happen.
Potential Policies:Community Development- Utilize community centers for farmers’ marketsand CSA distribution.- Encourage food distribution in underservedcommunities by establishing market areas in eachneighborhood, based on neighborhoodpreferences.-Seek incentives for food distributors in fooddeserts.- Allocate funds to non-profits involved in foodsecurity efforts.- Encourage mobile markets for low-incomecommunities, especially those in food deserts.
Potential Policies:Schools- Identifying qualifying students who aren’tenrolled in free and reduced lunch.- Prioritize local, fresh foods in cafeterias.- For qualifying students – identifying needsoutside of school for food, expand on “summerfeeding sites”.- Partner with Parks/Rec to provide feeding sites(would also increase participation with Parks/Recinitiatives). Other partners might include AB Tech,AIR DINER, GO, MANNA, Salvation Army, andMeals on Wheels.
Potential Policies:Economic Development- Seek grant opportunities for food production,processing, and distribution.- Recruit businesses focused on food processing anddistribution in identified food deserts.- Incentivize food system development particularly inregard to processing.- Encourage home-based cottage industries for small-scale, value-added products.- Incent innovative methods of production(aquaculture, vertical farming, rooftop gardens, etc.).-Provide incentives for local restaurants and foodtrucks to participate in the NC Cooperative Extension’s10% campaign. Ideas include the city providingadvertising on public transit for participatingbusinesses.
Potential Policies:Emergency-Initiate a "Resilient Neighborhoods" program, i.e.assist neighbors in putting together knowledgeand goods that would help them in the event of ashortage of food.- Ensure fuel availability to food producers,processors, and distributors in the event of anextended fuel shortage.
Potential Policies:Other- Replace contents of city vending machines withhealthy food choices.- Implement CSA program for City Employees.- Utilize local, healthy foods in city commissary.- Investigate the potential for a citywidecomposting program alongside trash and recyclingwith a central point for community access tocompost.-Support community gardens and urbanagriculture through resolutions.
Goals of the council•Improve food sustainability within the region•Coordinate production and distribution toincrease efficiency•Expand food education•Improve land usage•Increase access of healthier food options
Collaboration & PartnershipsFood systems cross governmental and geographiclines, and only by partnering with others can wetake the necessary steps to create a food securefuture.Asheville will work with all of our partners toensure that food policies integrate sustainably withothers’ efforts, plans, and visions.
Resources/InformationADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND INFORMATION: The Asheville BuncombeFood Policy Council website is here: http://abfoodpolicy.com/Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project has a great deal of research andinformation at their website: http://www.asapconnections.org/MANNA Food Bank has hunger facts here:http://mannafoodbank.org/hunger-in-western-north-carolina/In June 2010, the American Dietetic Association, American Nurses Association,American Planning Association, and American Public Health Association foodsystem principles -http://www.planning.org/nationalcenters/health/pdf/HealthySustainableFoodSystemsPrinciplesThe Food Research and Action Center produced a paper and listed key goals ofPresident Obama’s effort to reduce childhood hunger -http://frac.org/newsite/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/endingchildhunger_2015paper.pdf