In the last three months, the group has met with more than 40 community members, non-profit leaders and government agencies to glean insight into the barriers to food security for residents of Asheville and Buncombe County. The results have been compiled and presented into a paper, “The Future of Food in Asheville and Buncombe County: Addressing Poverty, Public Health, Local Commerce and Sustainability Through Food Security.” The group will present this paper at various venues in September and convene a Food Policy Council in October. The group recognizes that only a community-based effort can truly address a community need, and, based on research into councils in other communities, such as the Ohio-based Cleveland-Cayahoga Food Policy Council, believes that such a council will be successful in addressing poverty, public health, local commerce and sustainability for our community.
Food Security is defined by the World Health Organization as a state in which “all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain an active and healthy life.” Because food security encompasses issues of poverty, public health, local commerce and sustainability, the white paper recommends formation of a Food Policy Council that will work on the policy level with government, agencies and institutions in Buncombe County to craft a comprehensive way forward to ensure a food-secure future for all Buncombe residents. The working group, consisting of councilman Gordon Smith, local business owner Jodi Rhoden, Bountiful Cities Executive Director Darcel Eddins, manager of Hillcrest Community Garden Olufemi Lewis and UNCA Student Environmental Center Director Brandee Boggs, will present their results and recommendations at two upcoming events: at 3pm at The Eat Smart, Move More conference at the NC Center for Health and Wellness on the campus of UNCA on Friday, September 16 (with a hands-on exercise illuminating food security issues to begin at 2pm), and the Burton Street Agricultural Fair on September 24 (time TBA). All community members are encouraged to attend.
Councilman Gordon Smith says, "the issue of food security affects every corner of our community. Whether viewed through the lens of poverty, public health, local commerce, or sustainability, food security is a foundational issue that we must address."
Click on the link below to view the White Paper.Read the full article