Tuesday January 18th, 2022

Workshop on Food

Wednesday 19th at 10:30

Zoom Link

National food and nutrition policies are designed on behalf of agricultural and food industry interests far beyond our borders and West Virginia’s food system is thus dependent on political and economic forces over which we have very little control. We have one of the highest food insecurity rates in the country, yet despite over $700 million worth of federal food assistance disbursed in various forms across the state last year, accessing nutritious food on a regular basis remains difficult for many of our neighbors.15 different federal nutrition assistance programs are administered by four separate state administrative agencies. These are siloed and lack the integration necessary to maximize their effectiveness at the local level, both in terms of their contribution to our state’s economy, and the well-being of our communities.  Most of this nutrition assistance funding is captured by out of state businesses who prioritize their bottom line and do not adequately invest in the prosperity of our communities. Ad hoc support for community driven food access initiatives such as SNAP stretch, produce prescription programs, farmer’s markets, locally owned grocery stores, food hubs, backpack, senior and emergency food programs are all dependent on intermittent and competitive funding. It is thus difficult for the organizations administering these programs, and the public officials working to improve food access across their jurisdictions, to engage in long-term planning around community food security in the state.  

This workshop will present different level of engagement in food policy from municipal, county, state and federal opportunities to improve access to healthy food for low-income populations while contributing to the sustainable development of West Virginia’s food and farm sector.

Read the full proposal for the establishment of the West Virginia Office of Community Food Security